They announced the top ten today so this is hot off the press. Most are ones I would have put on my list but there is at least one surprise - a debut. The top vote getter tops the list and the rest follow in no particular order.
Number one is Sara Gruen's At the Water's Edge. If you liked her first one, Water for Elephants, then I am sure nothing will keep you from reading this one regardless of what I say. Not that it should and not that I won't say decent things about it. Critics all seem to like it, some more enthusiastically than others. It takes place during WWII in Scotland. Strangely enough, 3 Americans - Ellis, his wife Maddie and Ellis' friend, Hank - take off to hunt the Loch Ness monster. It seems a strange thing to do during wartime but Ellis is colorblind and can not serve in the military. Ellis' father is a wealthy former Army Colonel finds Ellis embarrassing and cuts him off financially. When they get to Scotland, Ellis and Hank go hunting for the monster leaving Maddie to take care of herself. The story has more to do with Maddie's growth as a person than time or place really. I think everyone credits Gruen with character development and engaging storytelling.
Now the rest:
The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan. This title, although light and fluffy, has gotten good solid reviews. The plot is trite - an American girl goes to Oxford, meets the Prince, they fall in love and get married - but the humor and characterization makes it universally liked. Some of the quotes; "pure fun from start to finish"; "it was frothy, it was smart; it was funny and it was a great read"; and "I loved, loved, loved every second of it and had to force myself to put it down". Sounds like they liked it right?
A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley. Sara Thomas, an amateur codebreaker who has Aspergers Syndrome, is hired to break the code in a 300 year old diary kept by Mary Dunda, a Jacobite exile. Love stories from 2 ages and adventure too. No one does it better than Kearsley.
The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg. I spoke of this one last week. This is the retelling of the life of George Sand in the form of a novel. George Sand left her husband and children to start a life of art in Paris. She takes on a man's name, often wears men's clothes and smokes cigars. A very interesting character for sure.
Still the One by Jill Shalvis. This is the 6th in her Animal Magnetism series. Darcy Stone is a National Geographic photographer who has been badly injured and is back home to heal. A.J. Colton is an ex Navy physical therapist. Colton is involved with trying to get grants to ensure veterans can receive the physical therapy they need and Stone is involved with rescuing service dogs who don't pass their final exam. They have hurdles to jump before the happy ending.
Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova. Joe O'Brien is a 44 year old policeman with 4 children in their 20's when he is diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. In this story, Genova sheds light on this disease as her first novel, Still Alice, did on Alzheimer's. Joe's children have a 50 percent chance of having the gene. Do they want to know? After Joe loses his job, will he lose heart? Genova, a neuroscientist, knows what she writes.
House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy. This is the debut by Duffy and I have read some reviews that compare it to The Shining. A young family, Ben and Caroline Tierney ; their son Charlie and a baby leave Manhattan for a run down estate in upstate New York. Their hope is to renovate the estate and turn it into a hotel. As they settle, things become strange. Caroline becomes bi-polar; Charlie withdraws and animals with severed heads appear around the building. Hope you like to be scared.
The Precious One by Marisa del los Santos. 'Taisy' Cleary's father, Wilson, left the family 17 years ago and only came back once. Suddenly, he is calling on Taisy to come meet her step sister and help him write his memoir. Why? This one comes highly recommended by reviewers and is literary in genre.
The Bone Tree by Greg Iles. I also spoke of this one last week. It continues the story from Natchez Burning and follows Penn Cage's attempt to clear his father who has been accused of murder. Once again I will say that you really should read the first one before starting this one but both, though long, will be worth the effort.
Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight. This is the new one by the author of Reconstructing Amelia, Molly Anderson, a freelance journalist who recently lost a baby, is called to cover a story of the discovery of the body of an infant in the woods in a college town. She is headed toward danger when she unearths some of the secrets of the town - some that have been hidden for almost 20 years. Sounds like a good one.
Hope there is something here for you. I have added a few to my list.