Love/Marriage/Family, SF/Fantasy/Horror, & Historical Fiction: Pop Fiction Previews: Jun. 2020, Pt. 4 | Prepub Alert

June has a crowded pop fiction field, so big it's hard to pick picks. In women's fiction, stellar names like Jenny Colgan, Elin Hilderbrand, Kristan Higgins, and Danielle Steel come calling, while historical fiction focuses on World War II, and speculative fiction offers an all-star cast from Terry Brooks to Zoje Stage.


Colgan, Jenny. I Would Walk 500 Miles. Morrow. Jun. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780062911421. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062911254. lrg. prnt. WOMEN’S

Giffin, Emily. The Lies That Bind. Ballantine. Jun. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780399178955. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780399178962. cover of The Lies That BindCD/downloadable. WOMEN’S

Hibbert, Talia. Take a Hint, Dani Brown. Avon. Jun. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780062941237. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062941251. ROMANTIC COMEDY

Hilderbrand, Elin. 28 Summers. Little, Brown. Jun. 2020. 432p. ISBN 9780316420044. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316420051. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316540247. CD/downloadable. WOMEN’S

Thayne, RaeAnne. Summer at Lake Haven. HQN. Jun. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781335629722. $28.99; pap. ISBN 9781335014269. $8.99; ebk. 9781488055980. ROMANCE
In I Would Walk 500 Miles, traumatized London nurse Lissie trades places for a few months with army veteran Duncan, the all-purpose medical man in Kirrinfief, Scotland, a popular setting for Colgan, but don’t you know they’ll get together in the end (100,000-copy paperback and 5,000-copy hardcover first printing). In Giffin’s The Lies That Bind, up-in-the-air young reporter Cecily bonds with Grant at 2:00 a.m. in a New York bar, but when he vanishes on 9/11, a missing-persons poster bearing his face makes her wonder if she really knows him. Thayne’s Summer at Lake Haven (600,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing) features small-town contemporary romance, while Hilderbrand draws on the movie Same Time Next Year with the story of Mallory Blessing, who carries on a once-a-year affair with politician’s husband Jake McCloud from 1993 in Nantucket until her death 28 Summers later (500,000-copy first printing). Finally, in Hibbert’s Take a Hint, Dani Brown (following Get a Life, Chloe Brown), our heroine agrees to “date” security guard Zafir Ansari after a video with him rescuing her in a botched workplace fire drill goes viral; burned-by love Dani wants to keep a distance, but the apparant romance will generate publicity for Zafir’s sports charity for kids. With a Black, bisexual British heroine and a British Pakistani hero and pitched as rom-com for millennials (but, hey, baby boomers can love!); the publisher bought three books at auction (75,000-copy first printing).


Basu, Diksha. Destination Wedding. Ballantine. Jun. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9780525577126. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780525577140. Downloadable. WOMEN’S

Cocks, Heather & Jessica Morgan. The Heir Affair. Grand Central. Jun. 2020. 464p. ISBN 9781538715918. $28; ebk. ISBN cover of Riley's Barcelona Days9781538715925. .lib. ebk. ISBN 9781538702659. Downloadable. ROMANTIC COMEDY

Riley, Daniel. Barcelona Days. Little, Brown. Jun. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9780316362160. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316362184. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316452779. Downloadable. FAMILY LIFE
Torn between America and India and finally ready to forget that awesome one-night stand in London, Tina Das, part of the big cast of Basu’s Destination Wedding (after the attention-grabbing The Windfall) travels to her cousin’s extravagant wedding in Delhi, where everyone gets to rethink the meaning of love in contemporary times. In Cox and Morgan's The Heir Affair, follow-up to the glittery debut The Royal We, Rebecca "Bex" Porter got her storybook wish by marrying into the British royal family, but owing to scandal, her wedded life starts off in self-exile with husband Nicholas, the prince (60,000-copy first printing). In Barcelona Days, by GQ features editor Riley, an about-to-be-engaged couple who have allowed some adventure on the side get tested on vacation when an exploding volcano traps them in Spain’s fabled city and they meet an injured basketball star and a foreign exchange student (40,000-copy first printing). 


Clancy, Christina. The Second Home. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781250239341. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250239600. CD. WOMEN’S

Higgins, Kristan. Always the Last To Know. Berkley. Jun. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780451489456. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780451489463. cover of Steel's Daddy's GirlsWOMEN’S

Lewis, Kristyn Kusek. Perfect Happiness. Harper. Jun. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780063008465. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062966643. WOMEN’S

Reizin, P.Z. Ask Me Anything. Grand Central. Jun. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781538726983. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781538726969. Downloadable. ROMANTIC COMEDY

Steel, Danielle. Daddy’s Girls. Delacorte. Jun. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780399179624. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780399179631. WOMEN’S

Wolfson, Brianna. That Summer in Maine. MIRA: Harlequin. Jun. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780778351238. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488088599. CD. COMING OF AGE
In Steel’s Daddy’s Girls, three women raised by their widowed father on a California ranch must face some uncomfortable realities in their past, while Higgins’s Always the Last To Know features Sadie, who rushes home to care for her father post-stroke and ends up facing an unsnuffed old flame; her picture-perfect, increasingly panic attack–visited sister, Juliet; and the parents themselves, finally acknowledging complications in their marriage. In Lewis’s latest, Charlotte McGanley, a professor of positive psychology with a huge following for her best-selling Perfect Happiness, can’t keep up the pep when her teenage daughter founders under school/sports/romance pressures (50,000-copy paperback and 20,000-copy hardcover first printing). In That Summer in Maine, Wolfson’s follow-up to her debut, Rosie Colored Glasses, Hazel is invited by the sister she never knew existed for a rendezvous with the father she has never met, embodying the half-siblings get-togethers so popular in fiction today. In debuter Clancy’s The Second Home, sisters Ann and Poppy conflict with adoptive brother Michael over the family cottage on Cape Cod they’ve inherited—and even more over long-ago summer events that tore them apart. Finally, in journalist P.Z. Reizin’s Ask Me Anything, a praise-technology romantic comedy, hapless Daisy relies on her laptop, her fitness tracker, her smart fridge, and more to help organize her ailing mother’s life—and finds love in the process. 

Fresh Start

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth. Dance Away with Me. Morrow. Jun. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780062973054. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062973047. lrg. prnt. CD. ROMANCE

Shalvis, Jill. The Summer Deal. Morrow. Jun. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9780063007116. $27.99; pap. ISBN 9780062897916. $16.99; ebk. cover of Shalvis's The Summer DealISBN 9780062897824. WOMEN’S
In Phillips’s Dance Away with Me, widowed young midwife Tess Hartsong seeks a new life by running away to a Tennessee mountain town, where suspicious neighbors—and stubborn if appealing artist Ian North—make her fresh start different from what she expected (150,000-copy first printing). Meanwhile, in The Summer Deal, end-of-rope Brynn Turner returns home to Wildstone, CA, where she reacquaints herself with former camp frenemy Kinsey (secretly her half-sister—that theme again!) and with Kinsey’s best friend, Eli, her own longtime crush (200,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing). 

Touch of Suspense

Miranda, Megan. The Girl from Widow Hills. S. & S. Jun. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781501165429. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501165443. CD. WOMEN’S
Paris, B.A. The Dilemma. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781250151360. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250151384. CD.
Wasserman, Robin. Mother Daughter Widow Wife. Scribner. Jun. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781982139490. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781982139513. CD. LITERARY/PSYCHOLOGICAL
Billed as women’s fiction but shot through with suspense, Miranda’s The Girl from Widow Hills stars a young woman plagued by sleepwalking who’s living incognito owing to overwhelming media attention following a storm-wrought childhood disappearance; now she’s awakened during another sleepwalking bout to find a man she knows dead at her feet (200,000-copy first printing). Another women’s chiller, Paris’s The Dilemma features a long-married couple hosting a lavish party to compensate for their long-ago modest wedding, though secrets they both hold could change everything. From Wasserman, author of the NPR- and Buzzfeed-best-booked Girls on Fire, Mother Daughter Widow Wife is billed as literary but presents the tense psychological situation of a woman found on a bus without memory, money, or ID who tries to build a life while her doctors (for whom she’s less desperate human than intriguing subject) try to sort out who she is (100,000-copy first printing).

Historical Fiction

Charles, Janet Skeslien. The Paris Library. Atria. Jun. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9781982134198. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781982134211. CD. cover of Charles's The Paris LibraryHISTORICAL/WORLD WAR II

Chiaverini, Jennifer. Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters. Morrow. Jun. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780062975973. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062976031. lrg. prnt. HISTORICAL

Francis-Sharma, Lauren. Book of the Little Axe. Atlantic Monthly. May. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780802129369. $26. HISTORICAL

Jenner, Natalie. The Jane Austen Society. St. Martin’s. May. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781250248732. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250248725. CD. HISTORICAL/ WORLD WAR II

McCartney, Jenny. The Ghost Factory. Fourth Estate: HarperCollins. Jun. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9780008295493. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780008295523. HISTORICAL/IRISH

Robards, Karen. The Black Swan of Paris. MIRA: Harlequin. Jun. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9780778309338. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488055331. CD. HISTORICAL/WORLD WAR II

Williams, Beatriz. Her Last Flight. Morrow. Jun. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780062834782. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062834805. lrg. prnt. CD. HISTORICAL/ WORLD WAR II
Already buzzing and a lead title for the publisher, Charles’s The Paris Library chronicles the bravery of employees at the American Library in Paris after the Nazis marched in, as discovered by a lonely Montana teen in the 1980s from her intriguing elderly neighbor (200,000-copy first printing). In The Black Swan of Paris, Robards also visits the City of Light during World War II, with celebrated torch singer Genevieve Dumont and her manager (a British SOE officer working undercover) working to save the Resistance—including Genevieve’s mother, Baroness Lillian de Rocheford, now in a German prison cell (75,000-copy first printing). In Her Last Flight, Williams moves us up to 1947, when war correspondent Janey Everett’s efforts to research a biography of aviation pioneer Sam Mallory, who fought with loyalist forces in Spain, means playing cat-and-mouse with a woman she believes to be Mallory’s long-vanished flying partner (150,000-copy first printing). Also set directly after World War II, debuter Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society features Austen fans in Chawton, England, the author's final home, who cope with sorrow distant and wartime-recent by banding together to preserve her legacy. Other big historicals include Chiaverini’s Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters, whose titular heroines gather around Mary Todd Lincoln when she attempts suicide after her son tries to get her declared legally insane (200,000-copy first printing); McCartney’s The Ghost Factory, featuring a man who flees Belfast for London during the Troubles but feels compelled to return and seek eye-for-an-eye justice (50,000-copy first printing); and Francis-Sharma’s Book of the Little Axe, in which Rosa Rendón, living with the Crow Nation in 1830s Montana, must tell her son about the struggles of her family in late 1700s Trinidad, where their status as free black property owners was threatened by the switch to British rule. 


Brooks, Terry. The Last Druid. Del Rey: Ballantine. Jun. 2020. 448p. ISBN 9780399178542. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780399178559. cover of Brooks's The Last DruidDownloadable. FANTASY

Chakraborty, S.A. The Empire of Gold. Harper Voyager. Jun. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780062678164. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062678188. lrg. prnt. FANTASY

Moning, Karen Marie. Kingdom of Shadow and Light: A Fever Novel. Delacorte. Jun. 2020. 512p. ISBN 9780399593697. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780399593703. PARANORMAL ROMANCE

Moreno-Garcia, Silvia. Mexican Gothic. Del Rey: Ballantine. Jun. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780525620785. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780525620792. Downloadable. FAIRYTALE/GOTHIC

Stage, Zoje. Wonderland. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Jun. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780316458498. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316458511. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316537568. Downloadable. HORROR
Five major speculative fiction titles in June lead off with Brooks’s The Last Druid, a good-bye not simply to the “Fall of Shannara” series but the entire Shannara endeavor, with the Four Lands buckling under a Skaar invasion and some warriors caught in a realm they seem unable to escape. Chakraborty's The Empire of Gold wraps up the “Daevabad” trilogy with con woman Dahri and the fiery djinn she’s summoned safe in Cairo but facing hard choices as the magical kingdom of Daevabad falls (100,000-copy first printing). Moning’s Kingdom of Shadow and Light brings back MacKayla Lane, who sees that war between the Seelie and the Unseelie is starting to smoke and wonders where good and evil truly lie. A best-booked fantasy author and World Fantasy Award–winning anthologist, Moreno-Garcia goes Mexican Gothic with the story of stylish debutante Noemí unexpectedly having to rescue her cousin from her husband’s gloomy (and frighteningly interactive) mansion in 1950s Mexico. And in Wonderland, Stage follows up her acclaimed debut thriller Baby Teeth with horror featuring the Bennetts and their children, who have happily absconded to a charming farmhouse in upstate New York but are unprepared for the menace calling them from the woods (50,000-copy first printing). 

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Book Review; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

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