LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 March titles public library staff across the country love:
The Summer Before the War: A Novel by Helen Simonson (Random House, $28, 9780812993103). "Fans of Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand have reason to rejoice. She has created another engaging novel full of winsome characters, this time set during the summer before the outbreak of World War I. Follow the story of headstrong, independent Beatrice Nash and kind but stuffy surgeon-in-training Hugh Grange along with his formidable Aunt Agatha. Make a cup of tea and prepare to savor every page!" --Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, Wisc.
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (Putnam, $27, 9780399169496). "Jane Steele is a great read for lovers of Victorian literature who especially love their characters to have a lot of pluck! Jane Steele is the adventurous, irreverent, foul-mouthed broad that I so often loved about Jane Eyre, but in more wily circumstances. Remember that fabulous scene in Jane Eyre when she stands up to her aunt for the first time, and how you wanted to stand up from your comfy reading chair and cheer for her? Imagine an entire book just of those sorts of scenes. Absolutely fabulous fun!" --Abbey Stroop, Herrick District Library, Holland, Mich.
The Passenger: A Novel by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster, $25.99, 9781451686630). "This is a compulsively readable story of a young woman who has to keep switching identities and stay on the run. Is she a reliable narrator or not? What was the original event that sent her on the run? There is a lot of action and suspense as she tries to survive and evade the law while trying to keep her moral center intact. Unlike Lutz's Spellman books, this reads more like a Charles Portis road novel, though considerably more serious and dangerous. Highly recommended." --Beth DeGeer, Bartlesville Public Library, Bartlesville, Okla.
Marked in Flesh: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop (Roc, $27, 9780451474476). "In this thrilling installment, Bishop continues to explore the relationships of The Others and the humans who live at the Lakeside compound. Meanwhile, Humans First and Last organization has been making themselves known, after the attacks in the previous book that killed numerous Others along with their 'Wolf Lover' friends, they are not backing down. Little do they know it's not the Others humans need to be wary of but the Elders for which the Others act as a buffer. This is an excellent installment in the novels of the Others, exciting, heart-wrenching and suspenseful." --Emily Peros, Denver Public Library, Denver, Colo.
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212). "If you think your family is dysfunctional, move over, because here come the Plumbs. Suddenly faced with the dismantling of the nest egg they've counted on to solve their financial woes, the four Plumb siblings have to grow up, and fast. But though they all do some terrible things in the name of ambition, there's something lovable about the Plumbs. You can't fail to be moved by the beating heart of this novel, which seems to say that family, for good or ill, unites us all." --Mary Kinser, Whatcom County Library System, Bellingham, Wash.
Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben (Dutton, $28, 9780525955092). "Coben has made me lose more sleep over the years than all my other favorite authors combined. Joe Burkett has been murdered in front of his wife Maya. They have a two year old daughter who has a nanny. After the funeral, a friend gives her a picture frame that hides a camera so she can check on the care the nanny is providing her daughter. She watches the recording. Can she believe what she saw? Is she going crazy? Both? Buy a ticket for the coaster and find out for yourself. Keep your hands inside the car; it's going to be a wild ride." --Lisa Sprague, Public Services Librarian, Enfield Public Library, Enfield, Conn.
The Madwoman Upstairs: A Novel by Catherine Lowell (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781501124211). "Meet Samantha Whipple, a descendant of the Bronte family, who arrives at Oxford to study literature, as her father did before her. She receives a copy of Jane Eyre--a volume that she thought was destroyed in the fire that took her father's life. When a second Bronte novel belonging to her father turns up, she is convinced he has staged an elaborate treasure hunt for her promised inheritance. Enlisting the help of her sexy, young professor, Samantha sets out on a quest to find buried treasure and learns the value of friendship and courage along the way." --Kristen McCallum, Algonquin Area Public Library, Algonquin, Ill.
Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (Avon, $7.99, 9780062388148). "This is the first in a prequel series to Quinn's popular Bridgerton series, set a generation earlier. Billie Bridgerton spent her childhood running wild with the neighboring Rokesbys, Andrew, Edward, and Mary. Now she runs the family estate for her father and still runs as wild as she can. The eldest Rokesby, George, never really approved of Billie, but when he rescues her from a roof they begin to come to a new understanding." --Mary Aileen Buss, Long Beach Public Library, N.Y.
Dimestore: A Writer's Life by Lee Smith (Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616205027). "Evenly divided between a book about Smith's process and her life, first as a Southern mountain child and, later, as the parent of a schizophrenic child, this book is interesting and compelling. Despite being surrounded by loving family and being blessed with an active imagination, Lee copes with a mentally ill mother. Later, her son's mental illness and early death brings her to the breaking point but she is saved by her writing. This is a read-alike for Karr's The Liars' Club. It desperately needs a cinematic translation for its elegant and evocative writing." --Lois Gross, Hoboken Public Library, Hoboken, N.J.
All Things Cease to Appear: A Novel by Elizabeth Brundage (Knopf, $26.95, 9781101875599). "When the Clare family purchases a ramshackle farmhouse at a foreclosure auction, it appears that all is well in their world, until George comes home one evening from his job as an Art History Professor at the local private college and finds his wife murdered and their three-year-old untended yet unharmed. Told through the eyes of the townspeople and the families involved, this is a gorgeously unsettling look at a marriage and what happens to a community in the process of change." --Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, Conn.