Canadian Living staffers love a good book—and we know you do, too! Here's our roundup of new titles to get you through these last blustery days of winter.
THE ENGLISH WIFE (Fiction)
When New York City socialite Bayard Van Duyvil is murdered and his enigmatic wife disappears on Twelfth Night, 1899, Bay's complaisant sister, Janie, is determined to find out what happened—despite the potential cost to her family's good name. The answers to the mystery lie in alternating chapters to Janie's, narrated by the titular bride, "Annabelle." I loved this book's cryptic atmosphere of Rebecca, and although it's clear from the start that Bay and Annabelle are doomed, I was more than satisfied with Janie's budding romance. This latest novel from Lauren Willig—just like all her others—never disappointed me. —Suzanne Moutis
The English Wife (St. Martin's Press) by Lauren Willig, $35.
THE LOST GIRLS OF CAMP FOREVER MORE (Fiction)
When five girls head with their camp counsellor on an overnight camping trip, there's little to suggest an ominous adventure and a tragedy—but the trip has long-lasting effects on the girls. Told in chapters that toggle between the future and the days of the trip, and relayed from the perspective of each individual girl, the book takes its time answering the "What happened?" question. I loved it for its portrayal of each of the girls—at once strong and vulnerable, only 10-ish years old but needing to be wiser in a crisis—and for showing that a single incident can colour your entire life. —Alexandra Donaldson
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore (HarperCollins) by Kim Fu, $23.
THAT TIME I LOVED YOU (Fiction)
Not all is what it seems beyond the well-manicured lawns and cookie-cutter homes of a burgeoning Canadian suburb in the 1970s where everyone is connected to one another (and to a series of tragic suicides)—race, class and gender collide there. Carrianne Leung's second work of fiction feels almost like a collection of short stories, as each chapter spotlights a resident: There's a newlywed with an infatuation for the couple next door, a kleptomaniac housewife and a grandmother with a sweet tooth. Every portrait is eloquent and lingers in your mind. —Amanda Etty
That Time I Loved You (HarperCollins) by Carrianne Leung, $23.
THAT TINY LIFE (Short Stories)
What's both startling and wonderful about these short stories isn't necessarily their subject matter, which ranges from space travel to falconry to the guillotine. It's how author Erin Frances Fisher gets you interested in the details of a topic that you never thought you'd be into (I have yet to crack a book on falconry). That skill, combined with Fisher's thoughtful yet unflinching look at the characters she creates, culminates in an anthology that's anything but warm and fuzzy; instead, the stories offer honest and stripped-down snapshots of the human condition. In just three words: I loved it. —AD
That Tiny Life (House of Anansi) by Erin Frances Fisher, $20.
BACHELOR GIRL (Fiction)
There's something about novels set in Jazz Age New York City that immediately draws me in, and Bachelor Girl is reminiscent of my favourites, which include The Great Gatsby and Rules of Civility. This fictional tale is based on the true story of millionaire (and Yankees owner) Jacob Ruppert's mysterious bequest to unknown, unemployed young actor Helen Winthrope.Through the alternating perspectives of Helen and Ruppert's personal secretary, Albert Kramer, the narrative reveals both well-kept secrets and the development of a powerful friendship, as well as the reason behind Helen's unexpected inheritance. —AE
Bachelor Girl (Touchstone) by Kim Van Alkemade, $25.
In Heike Lerner's seemingly perfect world—she's living in a summer home at the lake with her solicitous husband and young son—an undercurrent of foreboding tells us that something wicked this way comes. Is it the content of the daily "tonics" her husband serves her? Maybe it has to do with the derelict cabin in the woods nearby. Or perhaps it concerns the strange little girl who seems to come out of nowhere and disappear just as mysteriously. This Canadian author's sophomore novel, the latest in the grip-lit genre, is a fast-paced thrill ride with an intriguing premise and twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end. —SM
Amanda Etty has an affinity for nail-biting thrillers and smart, funny books written by smart, funny women. She’s always on the hunt for her next favourite novel, although she’s currently working her way through a stack of parenting books (toddlers, right?).
Suzanne Moutis almost always has her nose in a book, be it Golden Age mystery, Second World War history or Hollywood tell-all. She unapologetically loves Regency romances and young adult fiction but flatly refuses to read anything that will make her cry.