The Peacock Feast by Lisa GornickThe catalyst: In 1916, eccentric designer Louis Comfort Tiffany dynamites the breakwater in front of his Long Island mansion and floods the nearby beach to keep the locals from using it (to the shock of everyone on the estate).
The result: a moving family saga that spans 100 years and three generations of O'Connors, beginning with Prudence, the daughter of a gardener and a maid employed by Tiffany.
Reviewers say: "an intricately threaded story of family, secrets, loss, and closure" (Publishers Weekly).
The Last Year of the War by Susan MeissnerWhat it's about: After her father is accused of being a Nazi sympathizer, German American teen Elise and her family are sent to a Texas internment camp, where she befriends Japanese American Mariko.
For fans of: Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Karin Tanabe's The Diplomat's Daughter.
Want a taste? "I've a thief to thank for finding the one person I need to see before I die."
The Last Thing You Surrender by Leonard Pitts, Jr.What it's about: two families, one black and one white, in Mobile, Alabama, during World War II.
Why you might like it: This moving novel introduces complex characters from very different backgrounds whose lives unexpectedly intersect, while offering a nuanced exploration of race relations in the Jim Crow South.
About the author: Leonard Pitts is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of the novels Freeman and Grant Park.
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa SeeIntroducing: best friends Young-sook and Mi-ja, who train as haenyeo, divers in the all-women fishing collectives of Korea's Jeju Island. Closer than sisters, their bond is shattered by wartime betrayal.
Why you might like it: This lyrical and heartbreaking novel presents a detailed look at life in a matrifocal society whose ancient traditions are threatened by modernity.
About the author: From Snow Flower and the Secret Fan to China Dolls, historical novelist Lisa See is acclaimed for her moving depictions of female friendships forged in adversity.
Next Year in Havana by Chanel CleetonNow: In 2017, Marisol Ferrera travels to Havana to scatter her grandmother's ashes and uncovers a lost chapter of her family history.
Then: In 1959, Elisa Perez, the privileged daughter of a Cuban sugar baron, falls in love with a dashing young revolutionary.
Book buzz: This romantic novel, inspired by the author's family history, was a July 2018 Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection.
The Masterpiece by Fiona DavisThe setting: Grand Central Terminal, in 1928 and 1974.
Starring: illustrator Clara Darden, who teaches at the Grand Central School of Art, and Virginia Clay, who decades later discovers the remains of the school and decides to investigate its history.
About the author: Fiona Davis specializes in novels that center around iconic locations in 20th-century New York City, such as The Dollhouse and The Address.
The Cottingley Secret by Hazel GaynorWhat happens: In 1917, cousins Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright claim that they've photographed fairies in their Yorkshire garden -- and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believes them.
And then: Present-day bookshop owner Olivia Kavanagh discovers a manuscript that reveals the story behind the famous images.
Reviewers say: "a lovely meditation on the power of belief and hope" (Kirkus Reviews).
Court of Lions by Jane JohnsonWhat it's about: A scrap of paper concealed in a wall in the Alhambra links a 21st-century British woman living in Granada and the 15th-century companion of Prince Mohammad XII.
Read it for: a suspenseful tale of courtly intrigue in Islamic Spain and a well-researched recreation of the last days of the Emirate of Granada.
Further reading: The Alhambra, Robert Irwin's myth-busting history of the iconic palace complex, or Steven Nightingale's Granada, a blend of history and travelogue focused on the Andalusian city.
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish2000: Ailing historian Helen Watt works with graduate student Aaron Levy to examine trove of documents in Hebrew and Portuguese discovered during a home renovation.
1657: Jewish orphan Ester Velasquez flees Amsterdam for London, where she becomes the scribe of a blind rabbi.
Try this next: Mary Morris' Gateway to the Moon, another dual-narrative novel that offers a richly detailed depiction of historical Jewish life and culture.
The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen WhiteWhat it's about: Three women -- two in the past, one in the present -- connected by the final voyage of the RMS Lusitania.
Contains: a shipboard mystery, spies and secret documents, a valuable manuscript, family secrets, a love triangle, and more...
Author alert: Following the success of their previous collaboration, The Forgotten Room, "Team W" -- bestselling authors Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White -- join forces once again.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Fox River Valley Libraries
555 Barrington Ave.
Dundee, Illinois 60118