The Most Fun We Ever Had
The Most Fun We Ever Had spans nearly half a century and focuses on one nuclear family. At the family’s helm are Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson, a couple who met in the 1970s and who appear to have it all. But dysfunction abounds as Marilyn and David raise four daughters, who in turn grow up and build lives—as well as secrets—of their own. Lombardo’s debut novel is a true family saga.
You know it’s going to be an intricate story when the book starts with a Cast of Characters. Spanning from the 1950s to 2010, Regina Porter’s debut novel follows two families, one Black and one white, who eventually overlap over time and are connected by a tragic event. Almost like a book of short stories, The Travelers bounces around through time, and the chapters focus on different characters across the families and years. A compelling story with concise, poetic writing.
Red at the Bone
Jacqueline Woodson’s latest bestseller opens in Brooklyn on Melody’s 16th birthday. Melody’s wearing the dress originally made for her mom’s own coming-of-age ceremony, the dress her mom never wore. And so begins a story that reaches back into Melody’s family’s past and traces everything—the joys, regrets, and irrevocable decisions—that led her to this moment.
Life and Other Inconveniences
From the author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a woman named Emma, navigating her complicated and unresolved relationship with Genevieve, the grandmother who raised then abandoned her. When Emma’s 16-year-old daughter provides her with the motivation to dig back into the past and reconnect with her former guardian, it proves to be a summer none of them will ever forget.
This hefty novel begins in 1974 at a summer arts camp called Spirit-in-the-Woods, where six teenagers become an official friend group and name themselves the Interestings. It follows them for over three decades, tracking their unfulfilled dreams, dramatic twists, and unexpected successes that come with adult life.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
When Ifemelu leaves Nigeria and moves to the U.S. to attend Princeton, she and her boyfriend, Obinze, hope that he’ll soon be able to join her—but that plan falls through in the wake of 9/11. Ifemelu is forced to build a new life on her own, in a country where she encounters, for the first time, racism. The characters and plot are vivid and complex in this hugely bestselling love story that unspools over decades.
So Much Life Left Over
Louis de Bernieres
So Much Life Left Over follows Rosie and Daniel, who met when he served as an aviator and she a nurse during WWI. After the war, they move to Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) so that Daniel can run a tea plantation. Over time, their marriage frays, and deception, betrayal, and despair start to seep in. Throughout it all, the war continues to haunt them. So Much Life Left Over picks up the story de Bernières began in The Dust That Falls from Dreams, but you can read it as a standalone novel too.
The Other's Gold
It feels like fate when Alice, Ji Sun, Lainey, and Margaret are assigned to the same dorm on their first day at Quincy-Hawthorn College; they were destined to be best friends. Spanning over a decade, The Other’s Gold is a meditation on friendship, growing up, and learning to face the mistakes you make along the way.
Books that span decades offer readers deep insight into characters’ life stories—over time, we get to witness their motivations, ups and downs, family dynamics, and, more often than not, well-kept secrets. Even stories that seem fairly calm on the surface can reveal hidden secrets and unexpected twists the deeper you go. These seven works of fiction are jam-packed with characters’ histories and unveil riveting pasts, presents, and futures.
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