The DreadfulWater Mystery series by Thomas King

This series takes place in a remote town where ex-detective Thumps DreadfulWater has found refuge after a terrible enduring a tragedy. Amid a cast of eccentric, lovable characters Thumps is attempting to rebuild his life as a photographer. Of course, fate keeps intervening by laying bodies at the town’s doorstep forcing Thumps back into the detective role he so desperately wants to shed. This series is Thomas King at his best – funny, wise, sardonic and entertaining (oh, and they’re good mysteries too!)

Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller

Frances is hired to write a report on the follies in the garden of an old dillapidated home in England. There she meets Cara and Peter, a glamorous, hedonistic couple who dazzle Frances offering her their unexpected friendship. As Frances becomes increasingly entangled in their lives she finds that their stories don’t always quite add up. The lines between right and wrong, truth and falsehood become blurred and when a terrible crime occurs Frances is faced with the consequences of her blind love for people she barely knows.

All Things Consoled by Elizabeth Haye

This is a beautiful, wise memoir of Elizabeth Haye’s parents final years. She writes with her signature wisdom and humour as she broaches the devastating reality of losing a parent a little at a time.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

” On a dark, misty night in the small English village of Radcot, locals gather at the Swan Inn to cap their day with drinks and lore. Into the inn bursts a mysterious man, sopping and bloodied and carrying an unconscious four-year-old girl. But before he can explain who he and the child are, and how they came to be injured, he collapses. Upriver, two families are searching desperately for their missing daughters. Alice Armstrong has been missing for twenty-four hours, ever since her mother’s suicide. And Amelia Vaughn vanished without a trace two years prior. When the families learn of the lost little girl at the Swan Inn, each wonders if their child has at last been found. But identifying the child may not be as easy as it seems.”

This is a magnificent tale – fast paced, witty and wise with just the right touch of magic!

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Eleven year old Washington Black is a slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados. When his master’s eccentric, abolishionist brother, Titch, chooses Washington as his manservant, Wash is introduced to a world of science and wonder. When a man dies there is a bounty placed on Washington’s head and Titch risks everything to save him. They flee together but, eventually, Titch must make his own way and reinvent himself. This is a story about a man’s physical journey across sea and land and his intellectual journey from slavery to freedom. A magnificent read!

The Ghost Keeper by Natalie Morrill

Josef Tobak is a quiet man who loves his wife, Anna, his son, Tobias and caring for an old, abandoned Jewish Cemetary in Austria. Then comes the Anschluss of 1938 and his world is upended. His closest friend has joined the Nazi party but helps Josef’s wife and son escape to China. Josef must stay back as he becomes too ill to travel until months later when his friend arranges passage to New York. This is a magnificent beautifully written debut novel of people coming to grips with evil, the compromises we make to survive and the need to forgive the unforgivable.

Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umrigar

David Coleman is a white US Senator and Judge. He and his wife, Dolores, adopt ten year old African American Anton. Anton becomes as successful as his adopted father, whom he has come to love and respect as his own. But when he discovers the truth about his life, his birth mother, and his adopted parents, Anton must come to terms with the moral complexities of crimes committed by the people he loves most. What I loved about this book is that the characters are good people who truly wrestle with the moral dilemmas they face and must find ways to come to terms with what they have done.

The Paragon Hotel by Lindsay Faye

Alice James, who is carrying a bullet wound and fleeing 1921 New York city, ends up at the Paragon Hotel in Oregon. Her life is saved and she becomes embroiled in the troubles of the people who have saved her. This is a fast paced story of people who don’t quite fit, who aren’t quite accepted and who don’t much care. I LOVED it!

The Secrets Between US by Thrity Umrigar

This is a sequel to The Space Between Us (This is one sequel where it really helps to have read the first book). We follow Bhima as she struggles to build a new life for herself after having been forcebly sent away from her old job. She meets Parvati and the unlikely duo begain a friendship that will save them both from financial ruin but more importantly – from loneliness. A wonderful story about the power of women’s connections to each other.

The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman

Mikey Callaghan is reconnecting with his childhood friends, known as The Gunners. The group lost touch after Sally committed suicide. Mikey is suffering from macular degeneration and some of the blur in his life is due to unresolved issues. Perhaps the Gunners, Alice, Jimmy, Sam and Lynn can help him focus? A fast paced mystery and story of friendship and redemption.