Consider this part three of my best books of 2014. The following is a list of the best novels by women I have read this past year. All of the books on this list were published in either 2013 or 2014.
Mercy Snow by Tiffany Baker
A river that churns with both paper mill waste and a town’s dark secret is really the main character in Baker’s newest novel, a work that recollects a tragic bus accident that bridges both the past and current sins of two families.
While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
A retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the point of view of a maid who becomes the personal companion to a slumbering princess, Blackwell’s novel maneuvers between gritty life and magical circumstances.
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Set in 17th century Amsterdam, Burton’s debut novel introduces 18-year-old Nella Oortman to a new marriage and a world ruled by deep mysteries, glittering wealth and suffocating religious beliefs.
What I Had Before I Had You by Sarah Cornwell
While visiting her hometown, Olivia must confront her past when her nine-year-old son, recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, goes missing.
The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard
Main character Kirsten Hammarstrom was nine years old when a local girl went missing, and Kirsten’s older brother, Johnny, became the number one suspect in the disappearance. In heartbreaking prose, DeBoard traces the way that a family unravels in time of tragedy.
Out of Peel Tree by Laura Long
Long’s first novel reads like a collection of intertwining short stories, all focusing on characters who leave (or long to leave) their hometown of Peel Tree, West Virginia. A wonderful, lyrical work! See my full review here.
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
Hashimi’s literary debut intertwines the lives of two women in two different time periods of Afghanistan. Beautiful prose makes both stories intriguing and heartbreaking.
The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett
A coming of age story told within the underground mine fires that plague both the history and landscape of eastern Pennsylvania, Harnett’s first novel explores how family intertwines with place and history and introduces to a plucky new heroine to the coal mining landscape. See my review here.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
I have to admit that I was getting a bit tired of the number of apocalyptic novels on the market, by I was pleasantly surprised by Station Eleven, a work that details life along the Great Lakes after the country’s collapse. Intertwining character stories tells the tales of fighting for both the sanctuary of both art and human life.
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
Written as a fictional memoir of Dr. Norton Perina, the reader is introduced to the world of Uvu’ivu and its lost tribe where members, upon eating the meat of a local turtle, live much longer than the average population of the rest of the world. A dark read that outlines the inner workings of a twisted main character, Yanagihara’s book is hard to put down although few readers would describe the work as an enjoyable read.
I am a poet and professor from rural Pennsylvania. This page is dedicated to my publishing news and events; for book reviews published online go to the Reviews tab above. For my own personal reviews, explore the Book Picks tab.