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An Ordinary Woman Searches for Missing People the World Has Stopped Looking For

In her quest to find a Haitian teenager who has vanished, Frankie Elkin will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it puts her own life in danger.

Enter to Win an Advance Copy of Gabriela Garcia's Debut Novel, Releasing on March 30th

OF WOMEN AND SALT is about a daughter's fateful choice and a mother motivated by her own past. Enter by Thursday, February 4th at noon ET.

In 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell Became the First Woman in America to Receive an M.D.

She was soon joined in her iconic achievement by her sister, Emily. Janice P. Nimura explores their allies, enemies and enduring partnership.

THE WIFE UPSTAIRS Pairs Southern Charm with Atmospheric Domestic Suspense

Rachel Hawkins' first adult novel flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction and a wife who won’t stay buried.

Enter to Win 7 Love-Themed Books for Yourself or That Special Someone in Your Life

Our prize books include Nicholas Sparks' THE RETURN and Angie Hockman's SHIPPED. Enter by Friday, February 12th at noon ET.

Latest Features and Contests


Special Contest: OF WOMEN AND SALT by Gabriela Garcia

OF WOMEN AND SALT, Gabriela Garcia's debut novel, is about a daughter's fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them were born. The book doesn't release until March 30th, but we're happy to award an advance copy to 25 readers. The deadline for your entries is Thursday, February 4th at noon ET.


Historical Fiction Author Spotlight & Contest: MASQUE OF HONOR: A Historical Novel of the American South, by Sharon Virts

In a coming-of-age tale set in early 19th-century America, two sons of the Virginia aristocracy risk it all to defend their dreams and determine their own destinies. We have 25 copies of Sharon Virts' debut novel, MASQUE OF HONOR, to give away to those who would like to read the book, which releases on February 9th. The deadline for your entries is Thursday, February 4th at noon ET.


Bookreporter.com's Valentine's Day Contest

Valentine's Day is only a few heartbeats away. We can't think of a better way to celebrate this special day than to cuddle up with your loved one...and a good book, of course! We're giving five readers the chance to win six love-themed books. Be sure to enter between now and Friday, February 12th at noon ET for your opportunity to be a lucky (and beloved!) winner.


Bookreporter.com's Winter Reading Contests and Feature

At Bookreporter.com, we are kicking off 2021 with our seventh annual Winter Reading Contests and Feature. On select days in January and February, we are hosting a series of 24-hour contests spotlighting a book releasing this winter and giving five lucky readers the chance to win it. We also are sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, February 1st at noon ET.


Bookreporter.com Bets On: WHAT COULD BE SAVED by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

I had heard about WHAT COULD BE SAVED by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz from bookseller friends since the summer --- and I had the pleasure of hearing Liese talk about it a few months ago. The book opens in 2019. Laura Preston is an artist who has found some success, but also clearly is drifting. She is very different from her older sister, Bea, and her mother, who is being swept into dementia. Laura is contacted by someone claiming to know the whereabouts of her brother, Philip, who had disappeared when her family lived in Bangkok in the '70s. He was eight at the time. Against the wishes of her sister and her fiancé, Laura heads to Thailand to see what she will learn. And yes, she locates her brother. But the brother she finds is an adult, and there are lost decades between them. Just what happened to him?

Bookreporter Talks To...

As part of our mission to expand The Book Report Network, we have been shooting video interviews with authors and posting them on our YouTube channel. We also have been making them available as podcasts. Carol loves interviewing authors, so this feels like a natural.

Lisa Gardner's latest novel, BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED, features an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten. In this interview, Lisa talks in-depth about her unique protagonist, who is tied between average life and crime. She also discusses some of the challenges she had in researching and writing the modern-day aspects of her stand-alone thriller. Watch the video and listen to the podcast.

Carol chats with Melanie Benjamin about her latest historical novel, THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD, a Bets On selection that revolves around a devastating storm that struck the Great Plains in 1888. Melanie talks about her research, the level of realism at play in the novel, and the deeply personal stories she was able to explore that are so often lost in history books. She also shares how the characters here relate to her own life and the sources of inspiration that led her to write the book. Watch the video and listen to the podcast.

A Bets On pick, Liese O'Halloran Schwarz's WHAT COULD BE SAVED is about a family shattered by loss and betrayal, and the beauty that can exist even in the midst of brokenness. Liese, who worked for decades as an emergency room doctor, explains how writing was always a part of her life --- even as she was practicing medicine. She speaks at length about her writing process, but especially about the elements that make her fiction both engrossing and powerful. Watch the video and listen to the podcast.

Our first "Bookreporter Talks To" interview of 2021 is with Ashley Audrain, whose debut novel, THE PUSH, is this month's "Good Morning America" Book Club pick and a Bets On selection. Ashley and Carol cover a lot of ground without giving away the many reveals that are layered into this book, which is being called an “emotional thriller.” They talk about structuring the novel, as well as some poignant scenes, but they tiptoe around anything that would spoil the story, which is quite a feat. Watch the video and listen to the podcast.

» Click here for a complete list of our "Bookreporter Talks To" videos and podcasts, along with upcoming interviews.

Latest Reviews

Born to working class parents and the eldest of six children, Gabriel Byrne harbored a childhood desire to become a priest. At 11 years old, he found himself crossing the Irish Sea to join a seminary in England. Four years later, he had been expelled and quickly returned to his native city of Dublin. It was a friend who suggested Byrne join an amateur drama group, a decision that would change his life forever and launch him on an extraordinary 40-year career in film and theater. Moving between sensual recollection of childhood in a now almost vanished Ireland and reflections on stardom in Hollywood and Broadway, Byrne also courageously recounts his battle with addiction and the ambivalence of fame.

Trio by William Boyd - Historical Fiction/Satire

A producer. A novelist. An actress. It's summer 1968 --- a time of war and assassinations, protests and riots. While the world is reeling, our trio is involved in making a disaster-plagued, Swingin' Sixties British movie in sunny Brighton. All are leading secret lives. As the movie shoot zigs and zags, these layers of secrets become increasingly more untenable. Pressures build inexorably. The FBI and CIA get involved. Someone is going to crack --- or maybe they all will. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, TRIO asks the vital questions: What makes life worth living? And what do you do if you find it isn't?

Jack Swyteck receives an emergency text from Riverside Day School. Both his daughter, Righley, and his wife, FBI agent Andie Henning, are in danger. Andie hears the fire alarms, then loud popping noises and screams coming from the hallway. The police find a handgun on the school grounds registered to a Muslim man named Amir Khoury. Within minutes Al Qaeda claims responsibility. Amir is married to Andie’s friend, Lilly, a WASP whose bloodline goes back to the American Revolution. When Xavier, Amir and Lilly’s oldest child, confesses to the crime, the local community’s anti-Muslim fervor explodes to levels unseen since 9/11. Jack must unearth the Khourys’ family secrets in order to expose the shocking truth and save his client from certain death.

Deep into the Dark by P. J. Tracy - Mystery/Thriller

Sam Easton --- a true survivor --- is home from Afghanistan, trying to rebuild a life in his hometown of LA. Separated from his wife, bartending and therapy sessions are what occupy his days and nights. When friend and colleague Melody Traeger is beaten by her boyfriend, she turns to Sam for help. When the boyfriend turns up dead the next day, a hard case like Sam is the perfect suspect. But LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan, whose brother recently died serving overseas, is sympathetic to Sam's troubles and can't quite see him as a killer. She's more interested in the secrets Melody might be keeping and the developments in another murder case on the other side of town.

The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous - Gothic Mystery/Thriller

1988. Beth Soames is 14 years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. But when they ask her to help them with a harmless game, nothing is ever the same. 2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive at Raven Hall. As the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent that their unseen host is playing games with everyone...including her.

That Old Country Music: Stories by Kevin Barry - Fiction/Short Stories

With three novels and two short story collections published, Kevin Barry has steadily established his stature as one of the finest writers not just in Ireland but in the English language. All of his prodigious gifts of language, character and setting in these 11 exquisite stories transport the reader to an Ireland both timeless and recognizably modern. Shot through with dark humor and the uncanny power of the primal and unchanging Irish landscape, the stories in THAT OLD COUNTRY MUSIC represent some of the finest fiction being written today.

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor - Science Fiction/Adventure

The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From here on in, she would be known as Sankofa --- a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks --- alone, except for her fox companion --- searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged, searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?

The girls of St John the Divine, an elite English boarding school, were notorious for flipping their hair, harassing teachers, chasing boys and chain-smoking cigarettes. For Josephine, now in her 30s, the years at St John were a lifetime ago. She hasn’t spoken to another Divine in 15 years, not since the day the school shuttered its doors in disgrace. Yet now Josephine inexplicably finds herself returning to her old stomping grounds. The visit provokes blurry recollections of those doomed final weeks that rocked the community. With each memory that resurfaces, she circles closer to the violent secret at the heart of the school’s scandal. But the more Josephine recalls, the further her life unravels.

Seventeen years ago, Criminal Inspector Ewert Grens was called to the scene of a brutal crime. A family had been murdered, and the only survivor --- and witness --- was the five-year-old daughter. The girl was placed in the witness protection program, and the case went cold. But years later, Grens is still haunted by the seemingly random slaying and the little girl who was spared. So when he learns that the apartment where the crime occurred is now the scene of a mysterious break-in, Grens immediately fears that someone is intent on silencing the only witness. He races to find her...before they do.

Meet Me in Bombay by Jenny Ashcroft - Historical Romance

It's New Year's Eve in Bombay, 1913, and Madeline Bright is yearning for all she has left behind in England. Then, at the stroke of midnight, Maddy meets Luke Devereaux --- and as the year changes, so do both their lives. Bold and charismatic, Luke opens her eyes to the wonders of Bombay, while Maddy's beauty and vivacity capture his heart. Only her mother disapproves, preferring the devoted Guy Bowen as a match for her daughter. But while Maddy and Luke are falling in love, the world is falling apart. World War I is on the horizon, and Luke will be given no choice but to fight. They will be continents apart, separated by danger and devastating loss, but bound by Luke's promise that they will meet again in Bombay.

Thirteen-year-old Michael Parsons is dealing with a lot. His father's sudden death; his mother's new husband, Glen, who he loathes; his two younger siblings, who he looks after more and more now that his mother works extra shifts. And then one day, Michael wakes up and his mother is gone. In her place is an exact, duplicate mother. The “other mother.” No one else seems to notice that the real version is missing. His brother, his sister and even Glen act as if everything is normal. But Michael knows in his heart that this mother is not his. And he begins to panic.

The Butterfly House by Katrine Engberg - Literary Thriller/Mystery

In the coronary care unit at one of Copenhagen’s leading medical centers, a nurse fills a syringe with an overdose of heart medication and stealthily enters the room of an older male patient. Six days earlier, a paperboy on his route in central Copenhagen stumbles upon the naked body of a dead woman. The cause of death is exsanguination, the draining of all the blood in her body. Lead investigator Jeppe Kørner takes on the investigation. His partner, Anette Werner, is restless at home with a demanding newborn and an equally demanding husband. While Jeppe pounds the streets looking for answers, Anette decides to do a little freelance sleuthing. But operating on her own exposes her to dangers she can’t even begin to fathom.

A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman - Fiction/Magical Realism

Young lovers who are anxious to connect agree to a first date, thinking outside of the box. At 17 years old, James and Amelia can feel the rest of their lives beginning. They have this summer and this summer alone to experience the extraordinary. But they didn’t expect to find it in a house at the bottom of a lake. The house is cold and dark, but it’s also their own. Caution be damned, until being carefree becomes dangerous. For the teens must decide: swim deeper into the house --- all the while falling deeper in love? Whatever they do, they will never be able to turn their backs on what they discovered together. And what they learned: Just because a house is empty doesn’t mean nobody’s home.

For trying to save his in-laws, who were fleeing certain death in Syria, Stéphan Pélissier was threatened with 15 years in prison by the Greek justice system, which accused him of human smuggling. His crime? Having gone to search for the parents, brother and sister of his wife, Zéna, in Greece rather than leaving them to undertake a treacherous journey by boat to Italy. Their joy on finding each other quickly turned into a nightmare: Pélissier was arrested as a result of a missing car registration and thrown into prison. Although his relatives were ultimately able to seek asylum --- legally --- in France, Pélissier had to fight to prove his innocence, and to uphold the values of common humanity and solidarity in which he so strongly believes.