20 April 2024 Book Releases That Should Be On Your Bookshelf

April 11, 2024

SDWI is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, so what better way to start a party than to discover 20 new books coming out this April! Looking for a fresh book to begin this spring? Perhaps you can find it in the list below! Genres range from the history of sunken ships, thrillers about the reappearance of the presumed dead, essays about relationships in the big city, to memoirs about the struggle of being a sociopath! All the titles are hyperlinked to the author’s page where you can learn more about each book. Enjoy perusing this list of 20 new books coming out this month!

 

 

1. Daughter of Mine by Megan Miranda

Release Date: April 9, 2024

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

 

“When Hazel Sharp, daughter of Mirror Lake’s longtime local detective, unexpectedly inherits her childhood home, she’s warily drawn back to the town—and people—she left behind almost a decade earlier. But Hazel’s not the only relic of the past to return: a drought has descended on the region, and as the water level in the lake drops, long-hidden secrets begin to emerge…including evidence that may help finally explain the mystery of her mother’s disappearance.”

 

2. Darling Girls by Sally Hepworth

Release Date: April 23, 2024

Genre: Mystery

 

It’s not just secrets buried at Wild Meadows. For as long as they can remember, Jessica, Norah and Alicia have been told how lucky they are. Rescued from family tragedies and raised by a loving foster mother on an idyllic farming estate, they were given an elusive second chance of a happy family life. 

 

But their childhood wasn’t the fairy tale everyone thinks it was. And when a body is discovered under the home they grew up in, the foster sisters find themselves thrust into the spotlight as key witnesses. Or are they prime suspects?”

 

3. The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

Release Date: April 9, 2024

Genre: Comedy

 

You wait ages for the one, then 203 come along at once. One night Lauren finds a strange man in her flat who claims to be her husband. All the evidence – from photos to electricity bills – suggests he’s right.

 

Lauren’s attic, she slowly realizes, is creating an endless supply of husbands for her. There’s the one who pretends to play music on her toes. The one who’s too hot (there must be a catch). The one who makes a great breakfast sandwich. The one who turns everything into double entendres (‘I’ll weed your garden’). And the one who can calm her unruly thoughts with a single touch

 

But when you can change husbands as easily as a lightbulb, how do you know whether the one you have now is the good enough one, or the wrong one, or the best one? And how long should you keep trying to find out?” 

 

4. Table for Two: Fictions by Amor Towles (My personal favorite author!)

Release Date: April 2, 2024

Genre: Literary Fiction

 

“Millions of Amor Towles fans are in for a treat as he shares some of his shorter fiction: six stories based in New York City and a novella set in Golden Age Hollywood.

 

The New York stories, most of which take place around the year 2000, consider the fateful consequences that can spring from brief encounters and the delicate mechanics of compromise that operate at the heart of modern marriages.

 

In Towles’s novel Rules of Civility, the indomitable Evelyn Ross leaves New York City in September 1938 with the intention of returning home to Indiana. But as her train pulls into Chicago, where her parents are waiting, she instead extends her ticket to Los Angeles. Told from seven points of view, “Eve in Hollywood” describes how Eve crafts a new future for herself—and others—in a noirish tale that takes us through the movie sets, bungalows, and dive bars of Los Angeles.

 

Written with his signature wit, humor, and sophistication, Table for Two is another glittering addition to Towles’s canon of stylish and transporting fiction.” 

 

5. Miss Morgan’s Book Brigade by Janet Skeslien Charles

Release Date: April 30, 2024

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

1918: As the Great War rages, Jessie Carson takes a leave of absence from the New York Public Library to work for the American Committee for Devastated France. Founded by millionaire Anne Morgan, this group of international women help rebuild devastated French communities just miles from the front. Upon arrival, Jessie strives to establish something that the French have never seen—children’s libraries. She turns ambulances into bookmobiles and trains the first French female librarians. Then she disappears.

 

1987: When NYPL librarian and aspiring writer Wendy Peterson stumbles across a passing reference to Jessie Carson in the archives, she becomes consumed with learning her fate. In her obsessive research, she discovers that she and the elusive librarian have more in common than their work at New York’s famed library, but she has no idea their paths will converge in surprising ways across time.

 

Based on the extraordinary little-known history of the women who received the Croix de Guerre medal for courage under fire, Miss Morgan’s Book Brigade is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, the power of literature, and ultimately the courage it takes to make a change.”

 

6. An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Release Date: April 16, 2024

Genre: Biography, Memoir, History

 

“Dick and Doris Goodwin were married for forty-two years and married to American history even longer. In his twenties, Dick was one of the brilliant young men of John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier. In his thirties he both named and helped design Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and was a speechwriter and close advisor to Robert Kennedy. Doris Kearns was a twenty-four-year-old graduate student when selected as a White House Fellow. She worked directly for Lyndon Johnson and later assisted on his memoir.

 

Over the years, with humor, anger, frustration, and in the end, a growing understanding, Dick and Doris had argued over the achievements and failings of the leaders they served and observed, debating the progress and unfinished promises of the country they both loved.

 

The Goodwins’ last great adventure involved finally opening the more than three hundred boxes of letters, diaries, documents, and memorabilia that Dick had saved for more than fifty years. They soon realized they had before them an unparalleled personal time capsule of the 1960s, illuminating public and private moments of a decade when individuals were powered by the conviction they could make a difference; a time, like today, marked by struggles for racial and economic justice, a time when lines were drawn and loyalties tested.

 

Their expedition gave Dick’s last years renewed purpose and determination. It gave Doris the opportunity to connect and reconnect with participants and witnesses of pivotal moments of the 1960s. And it gave them both an opportunity to make fresh assessments of the central figures of the time—John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, and especially Lyndon Johnson, who greatly impacted both their lives. The voyage of remembrance brought unexpected discoveries, forgiveness, and the renewal of old dreams, reviving the hope that the youth of today will carry forward this unfinished love story with America.”

 

7. A History of the World in Twelve Shipwrecks by David Gibbins

Release Date: April 2, 2024

Genre: History

 

“From renowned underwater archaeologist David Gibbins comes an exciting and rich narrative of human history told through the archaeological discoveries of twelve shipwrecks across time.

 

The Viking warship of King Cnut the Great. Henry VIII’s the Mary Rose. Captain John Franklin’s doomed HMS Terror. The SS Gairsoppa, destroyed by a Nazi U-boat in the Atlantic during World War II.

 

Since we first set sail on the open sea, ships and their wrecks have been an inevitable part of human history. Archaeologists have made spectacular discoveries excavating these sunken ships, their protective underwater cocoon keeping evidence of past civilizations preserved. Now, for the first time, world renowned maritime archeologist David Gibbins ties together the stories of some of the most significant shipwrecks in time to form a single overarching narrative of world history.

 

A History of the World in 12 Shipwrecks is not just the story of those ships, the people who sailed on them, and the cargo and treasure they carried, but also the story of the spread of people, religion, and ideas around the world; it is a story of colonialism, migration, and the indomitable human spirit that continues today. From the glittering Bronze Age, to the world of Caesar’s Rome, through the era of the Vikings, to the exploration of the Arctic, Gibbins uses shipwrecks to tell all.

 

Drawing on decades of experience excavating shipwrecks around the world, Gibbins reveals the riches beneath the waves and shows us how the treasures found there can be a porthole to the past that tell a new story about the world and its underwater secrets.”

 

8. The Paris Novel by Ruth Reichl

Release Date: April 23, 2024

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

“Ripping open the envelope, she read Celia’s last words to her. There was just one line written on the paper: ‘Go to Paris.’

 

The last word anyone would use to describe Stella St. Vincent is adventurous. She’s perfectly comfortable with the familiar, strict routines of her life as a copyeditor in New York. Or at least, she is until she receives a mysterious note from her late mother and a one-way plane ticket to Paris.

 

Alone and overwhelmed in a foreign city, Stella avoids new people and ventures out as little as possible. But then she meets Jules, an octogenarian art collector with very different ideas about how she should spend her time in the French capital. And to start with, there’s a vintage Dior dress with her name on it.

 

Somewhere between the cramped shelves of Shakespeare and Company bookshop, the crisp tablecloths of the Brasserie Les Deux Magots and a pile of discarded paintings at a busy flea market, long-buried truths about Stella’s own past begin to emerge. Soon she starts to wonder if there might not have been more to her mother’s suggestion than she first suspected…”

 

9. Real Americans by Rachel Khong

Release Date: April 30, 2024

Genre: Urban/Domestic Fiction

 

“An exhilarating novel of American identity that spans three generations in one family, and asks: What makes us who we are? And how inevitable are our futures?

 

On the eve of Y2K in New York City, twenty-two-year-old Lily Chen, an unpaid intern at a slick media company, meets Matthew. Matthew is everything Lily is not: easygoing and effortlessly attractive, a native East Coaster and, most notably, heir to a vast pharmaceutical empire. Lily couldn’t be more different: flat-broke, raised in Tampa, the only child of scientists who fled Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Despite all this, Lily and Matthew fall in love.

 

Twenty years later, fifteen-year-old Nick Chen has never felt like he belonged on the isolated Washington island where he lives with his single mother, Lily. He can’t shake the sense she’s hiding something. When Nick sets out to find his biological father, the journey threatens to raise more questions than answers.

 

In immersive, moving prose, Rachel Khong weaves a profound tale of class and striving, race and visibility, and family and inheritance—a story of trust, forgiveness, and finally coming home.

 

Exuberant and explosive, Real Americans is a social novel par excellence that lays bare the question, what lies do we tell each other in order to love, and be loved?”

 

10. The Forbidden Daughter by Zipora Klein Jakob

Release Date: April 23, 2024

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

The unforgettable true story of a girl born in the Kovno Ghetto, and the dangerous risk her parents faced in defying the barbarous Nazi law prohibiting childbirth. Elida Friedman was not supposed to have been born. In the Kovno Ghetto in Lithuania, Nazi law forbade Jewish women from giving birth. Yet despite the fear of death, Dr. Jonah Friedman and his wife Tzila, choose to bring a daughter into the world, a little girl they name Elida—meaning non-birth in Hebrew.

 

To increase their child’s chance of survival, the Friedmans smuggle the baby out of the ghetto and into the arms of a non-Jewish farm family when Elida is only three months old. It is the beginning of a life marked by constant upheaval. When the Nazis raze the entire Kovno Ghetto, Jonah and Tzila are among those killed. Their only child is left orphaned and alone, dependent on the kindness of strangers.

 

Despite her circumstances, Elida grows up, changing families, countries, continents, and even names, countless times. Surviving the war and the Holocaust that stole her parents, the young woman never gives up hope. In her lifelong pursuit to find love and belonging, she works to rebuild her identity and triumph over her terrible circumstances.

 

A moving, powerful chronicle of overcoming impossible odds, The Forbidden Daughter is the true story of one unforgettable woman and her will to survive.”

 

11. The Sicilian Inheritance by Jo Piazza

Release Date: April 2, 2024

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

From bestselling author and award-winning journalist Jo Piazza, comes a transporting novel rooted in the author’s own family history about a long-awaited trip to Sicily, a disputed inheritance, and a family secret that some will kill to protect . . .

 

Sara Marsala barely knows who she is anymore after the failure of her business and marriage. On top of that, her beloved great-aunt Rosie passes away, leaving Sara bereft with grief. But Aunt Rosie’s death also opens an escape from her life and a window into the past by way of a plane ticket to Sicily, a deed to a possibly valuable plot of land, and a bombshell family secret. Rosie believes Sara’s great-grandmother Serafina, the family matriarch who was left behind while her husband worked in America, didn’t die of illness as family lore has it . . . she was murdered.

 

Thus begins a twist-filled adventure that takes Sara all over the picturesque Italian countryside as she races to solve a mystery and prove her birthright. Flashing back to the past, we meet Serafina, a feisty and headstrong young woman in the early 1900s thrust into motherhood in her teens, who fought for a better life not just for herself but for all the women of her small village. Unsurprisingly it isn’t long before a woman challenging the status quo finds herself in danger.

 

As Sara discovers more about Serafina she also realizes she is coming head-to-head with the same menacing forces that took down her great-grandmother. At once an immersive multigenerational mystery and an ode to the undaunted heroism of everyday women, The Sicilian Inheritance is an atmospheric, page-turning delight.”

 

12. The Fellowship of Puzzle Makers by Samuel Burr

Release Date: April 9, 2024

Genre: Fiction/Mystery

 

“Clayton Stumper is an enigma. He might be twenty-five years old, but he dresses like your grandad and drinks sherry like your aunt. Abandoned at birth on the steps of the Fellowship of Puzzlemakers, he was raised by the sharpest minds in the British Isles and finds himself amongst the last survivors of a fading institution.

 

When the esteemed crossword compiler, Pippa Allsbrook, passes away, she bestows her final puzzle to him: a promise to reveal the mystery of his parentage and prepare him for his future. Yet as Clay begins to unpick the clues, he uncovers something even the Fellowship have never been able to solve – and it’s a secret that will change everything…

 

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers is pure joy, a story about love and family and what it means to find your people—no matter what age you are.”

 

13. The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan

Release Date: April 23, 2024

Genre: Creative Non-Fiction, Nature Writing

 

“Tracking the natural beauty that surrounds us, The Backyard Bird Chronicles maps the passage of time through daily entries, thoughtful questions, and beautiful original sketches. With boundless charm and wit, author Amy Tan charts her foray into birding and the natural wonders of the world. 

 

In 2016, Amy Tan grew overwhelmed by the state of the world: Hatred and misinformation became a daily presence on social media, and the country felt more divisive than ever. In search of peace, Tan turned toward the natural world just beyond her window and, specifically, the birds visiting her yard. But what began as an attempt to find solace turned into something far greater—an opportunity to savor quiet moments during a volatile time, connect to nature in a meaningful way, and imagine the intricate lives of the birds she admired.” 

 

14. Long Island by Colm Tóibín

Release Date: April 30, 2024

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

“Eilis Lacey is Irish, married to Tony Fiorello, a plumber and one of four Italian American brothers, all of whom live in neighbouring houses on a cul-de-sac in Lindenhurst, Long Island, with their wives and children and Tony’s parents. It is the spring of 1976 and Eilis, now in her forties with two teenage children, has no-one to rely on in this still-new country.

 

One day, an Irishman comes to the door asking for Eilis by name. He tells her that his wife is pregnant with Tony’s child and that when the baby is born, he will not raise it but will leave it with her. Eilis has choices to make, and what she does in the wake of this shattering news is at the heart of one of Tóibín’s most riveting and emotional novels to date.”

 

15. A Short Walk Through A Wide World  by Douglas Westerbeke

Release Date: April 2, 2024

Genre: Historical fiction, Magical Realism

“Paris, 1885: Aubry Tourvel, a spoiled and stubborn nine-year-old girl, comes across a wooden puzzle ball on her walk home from school. She tosses it over the fence, only to find it in her backpack that evening. Days later, at the family dinner table, she starts to bleed to death.

When medical treatment only makes her worse, she flees to the outskirts of the city, where she realizes that it is this very act of movement that keeps her alive. So begins her lifelong journey on the run from her condition, which won’t allow her to stay anywhere for longer than a few days nor return to a place where she’s already been.

From the scorched dunes of the Calashino Sand Sea to the snow-packed peaks of the Himalayas; from a bottomless well in a Parisian courtyard, to the shelves of an infinite underground library, we follow Aubry as she learns what it takes to survive and ultimately, to truly live. But the longer Aubry wanders and the more desperate she is to share her life with others, the clearer it becomes that the world she travels through may not be quite the same as everyone else’s…

Fiercely independent and hopeful, yet full of longing, Aubry Tourvel is an unforgettable character fighting her way through a world of wonders to find a place she can call home. A spellbinding and inspiring story about discovering meaning in a life that seems otherwise impossible, A Short Walk Through a Wide World reminds us that it’s not the destination, but rather the journey—no matter how long it lasts—that makes us who we are.”

 

16. The Mango Tree: A Memoir of Fruit, Florida, and Felony by Annabelle Tometich 

Release Date: April 2, 2024

Genre: Memoir

 

“When journalist Annabelle Tometich picks up the phone one June morning, she isn’t expecting a collect call from an inmate at the Lee County Jail. And when she accepts, she certainly isn’t prepared to hear her mother’s voice on the other end of the line. However, explaining the situation to her younger siblings afterwards was easy; all she had to say was, “Mom shot at some guy. He was messing with her mangoes.” They immediately understood. Answering the questions of the breaking-news reporter—at the same newspaper where Annabelle worked as a restaurant critic—proved more difficult. Annabelle decided to go with a variation of the truth: It was complicated.

 

So begins The Mango Tree, a poignant and deceptively entertaining memoir of growing up as a mixed-race Filipina “nobody” in suburban Florida as Annabelle traces the roots of her upbringing—all the while reckoning with her erratic father’s untimely death in a Fort Myers motel room, her fiery mother’s bitter yearning for the country she left behind, and her own journey in the pursuit of belonging.

 

With clear-eyed compassion and piercing honesty, The Mango Tree is a family saga that navigates the tangled branches of Annabelle’s life, from her childhood days in an overflowing house flooded by balikbayan boxes, vegetation, and juicy mangoes, to her winding path from medical-school hopeful to restaurant critic. It is a love letter to her fellow Filipino Americans, her lost younger self, and the beloved fruit tree at the heart of her family. But above all, it is an ode to Annabelle’s hot-blooded, whip-smart mother, Josefina, a woman who made a life and a home of her own, and without whom Annabelle would not have herself.”

 

17. The Reappearance of Rachel Price by Holly Jackson

Release Date: April 2, 2024

Genre: YA Thriller

 

Lights. Camera. Lies. Eighteen-year-old Bel has lived her whole life in the shadow of her mom’s mysterious disappearance. Sixteen years ago, Rachel Price vanished and young Bel was the only witness, but she has no memory of it. Rachel is gone, long presumed dead, and Bel wishes everyone would just move on.

 

But the case is dredged up from the past when the Price family agrees to a true crime documentary. Bel can’t wait for filming to end, for life to go back to normal. And then the impossible happens. Rachel Price reappears, and life will never be normal again.

 

Rachel has an unbelievable story about what happened to her. Unbelievable, because Bel isn’t sure it’s real. If Rachel is lying, then where has she been all this time? And—could she be dangerous? With the cameras still rolling, Bel must uncover the truth about her mother, and find out why Rachel Price really came back from the dead . . .

 

From world-renowned author Holly Jackson comes a mind-blowing masterpiece about one girl’s search for the truth, and the terror in finding out who your family really is.”

 

18. The Cemetery of Untold Stories by Julia Alvarez

Release Date: April 2, 2024

Genre: Literary Fiction

 

“Alma Cruz, the celebrated writer at the heart of The Cemetery of Untold Stories, doesn’t want to end up like her friend, a novelist who fought so long and hard to finish a book that it threatened her sanity. So when Alma inherits a small plot of land in the Dominican Republic, her homeland, she has the beautiful idea of turning it into a place to bury her untold stories—literally. She creates a graveyard for the manuscript drafts and the characters whose lives she tried and failed to bring to life and who still haunt her.

 

Alma wants her characters to rest in peace. But they have other ideas and soon begin to defy their author: they talk back to her and talk to one another behind her back, rewriting and revising themselves. Filomena, a local woman hired as the groundskeeper, becomes a sympathetic listener to the secret tales unspooled by Alma’s characters. Among them, Bienvenida, dictator Rafael Trujillo’s abandoned wife who was erased from the official history, and Manuel Cruz, a doctor who fought in the Dominican underground and escaped to the United States. The Cemetery of Untold Stories asks: Whose stories get to be told, and whose buried? Finally, Alma finds the meaning she and her characters yearn for in the everlasting vitality of stories. Julia Alvarez reminds us that the stories of our lives are never truly finished, even at the end.”

 

19. Sociopath: A Memoir by Patric Gagne

Release Date: April 2, 2024

Genre: Memoir

 

A fascinating, revelatory memoir revealing the author’s struggle to come to terms with her own sociopathy and shed light on the often maligned and misunderstood mental disorder. Patric Gagne realized she made others uncomfortable before she started kindergarten. Something about her caused people to react in a way she didn’t understand. She suspected it was because she didn’t feel things the way other kids did. Emotions like fear, guilt, and empathy eluded her. For the most part, she felt nothing. And she didn’t like the way that “nothing” felt.

 

She did her best to pretend she was like everyone else, but the constant pressure to conform to a society she knew rejected anyone like her was unbearable. So Patric stole. She lied. She was occasionally violent. She became an expert lock-picker and home-invader. All with the goal of replacing the nothingness with…something.

 

In college, Patric finally confirmed what she’d long suspected. She was a sociopath. But even though it was the very first personality disorder identified—well over 200 years ago—sociopathy had been neglected by mental health professionals for decades. She was told there was no treatment, no hope for a normal life. She found herself haunted by sociopaths in pop culture, madmen and evil villains who are considered monsters. Her future looked grim.

 

But when Patric reconnects with an old flame, she gets a glimpse of a future beyond her diagnosis. If she’s capable of love, it must mean that she isn’t a monster. With the help of her sweetheart (and some curious characters she meets along the way) she embarks on a mission to prove that the millions of Americans who share her diagnosis aren’t all monsters either.

 

This is the inspiring story of her journey to change her fate and how she managed to build a life full of love and hope.”

 

20. Instructions for Traveling West: Poems by Joy Sullivan

Release Date: April 9, 2024

Genre: Poetry

 

“A vivid and inspiring poetry collection about what’s possible when we heed our instincts and honor our intuition, allowing ourselves to strike out for new territories of love, pleasure, and peace. First you must realize you’re homesick for all the lives you’re not living. Then, you must commit to the road and the rising loneliness. To the sincere thrill of coming apart.

 

So begins Joy Sullivan’s Instructions for Traveling West—a lush debut collection that examines what happens when we leave home and leap into the deep unknown. Mid-pandemic, Sullivan left the man she planned to marry, sold her house, quit her corporate job, and drove west. This dazzling collection tells that story as it illuminates the questions haunting us all: What possible futures lie on the horizon? What happens when we heed the call of furious reinvention?

 

A book for anyone flinging themselves into fresh starts, Instructions for Traveling West grapples with loss, loneliness and belonging. These poems teach us that naming our desire is profound alchemy. Each of us holds the power to set our own course forward.

 

Expansive and heart-opening—exquisite in their specificity, galvanizing in their scope—the poems in Instructions for Traveling West speak to the longing that lives within us all. They remind us that ‘joy is not a trick.’”

 

 

Happy reading!

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