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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

PW: May 2023 Book Club Picks

Book Club Picks for May 2023

By PW Staff | May 15, 2023

Barnes & Noble Book Club The book: The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry

Our reviewer says:

"Though framed by a mystery, Henry’s offering shines most in its exploration of the ways relationships grow and adapt to time and trauma, making for a poignant meditation on the bonds of sisterhood."

Publishers Weekly Review

"In this affecting entry from Henry (Once upon a Wardrobe), a woman stumbles onto a lead in the decades-old cold case of her sister’s disappearance. It’s 1960, and Hazel Linden is astonished when the bookstore she works at is shipped a volume entitled Whisperwood, which depicts a fantasy realm Hazel dreamed up as a teenager and shared only with her younger sister. Twenty years ago, 14-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora were evacuated from London during WWII and took refuge in the idyllic Oxford countryside with Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry. There, Hazel told Flora stories about Whisperwood, a make-believe world where the two could seek comfort. Months into their evacuation, Flora disappeared and was presumed drowned in the River Thames. Back in the novel’s present, Hazel, still haunted by her sister’s disappearance, embarks on a faith-fueled, sometimes-reckless quest to discover if her sister might still be alive, one that involves tracking down the American author of the book and visiting Bridie and Harry for the first time since Flora’s disappearance. Though framed by a mystery, Henry’s offering shines most in its exploration of the ways relationships grow and adapt to time and trauma, making for a poignant meditation on the bonds of sisterhood. This captivates."

The book: Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Our reviewer says: "Both the political allegory and the edge-of-your-seat action work beautifully." Read more.

Belletrist Book Club The book: I Could Live Here Forever by Hanna Halperin Our reviewer says: " By the end, even the most grizzled reader might turn into a hopeless romantic." Read more.

Books and Boba Book Club The book: The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh Our reviewer says: "Huynh pulls off an admirable portrait of well-meaning mothers and their children. Despite the bumps, it’s worth checking out." Read more.

Black Men Read and NYPL/WNYC Book Club The book: Lone Women by Victor LaValle Our reviewer says: "A counter to the typical homesteading narrative, this moody and masterful western fires on all cylinders. Readers are sure to be impressed." Read more.

BTS Book Club The book: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heiling Our reviewer says: "A riveting and far-reaching fantasy that crosses seamlessly across the centuries, posing questions about fate, loyalty, and belonging." Read more.

Good Housekeeping Book Club The book: The Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel Our reviewer says: "In charting the parallel worlds of grief, scientific devotion, and adolescence, Ausubel comes up with a seamless global caper that brims with compassion and makes the reader glad to be alive." Read more.

Reese’s Book Club The book: Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? By Crystal Smith Paul Our reviewer says: "Though a bit clunky, the dramatic story and hefty subject matter would make a fine adaptation to the silver screen." Read more.

Good Morning America Book Club The book: The Nigerwife by Vanessa Walters

Marie Claire’s #ReadwithMC The book: Adelaide by Genevieve Wheeler Our reviewer says: "Wheeler debuts with the emotional tale of an ambitious 20-something American woman in London and the grieving man she falls for.... The complex heroine animates every page." Read more.

Mocha Girls Read Book Club The book: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin Our reviewer says: "An exhilarating epic of friendship, grief, and computer game development.... This is a one-of-a-kind achievement." Read more.

Noname Book Club The book: All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou Our reviewer says: "To read Angelou's book, the latest in a series of autobiographical works begun with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, without being moved would seem impossible." Read more.

Oprah’s Book Club The book: The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese Our reviewer says: "Verghese outdoes himself with this grand and stunning tribute to 20th-century India." Read more.

Subtle Asian Book Club The book: Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas Our reviewer says: "Shammas and Alfageeh draw inspiration from their respective Palestinian and Jordanian backgrounds in this epic fantasy graphic novel." Read more.

Release Date: May 2, 2023

Publisher/Imprint: Atria Books

Pages: 368

Hardcover, e-book, audio, hardcover, paperback, and audio CD

Narrator: Award-winning, Cynthia Erivo by Simon & Schuster Audio



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