The Midnight Library

Matt Haig (Viking)

Who of us hasn’t wondered how different our lives would be if we’d made different choices? If we’d gone to College A instead of College B? If we’d married Person C instead of Person D? And if we could have a do-over, would we want one? The Midnight Library depicts a magical place, in between the life we’ve lived and the lives we could have lived, where we can enter—in progress—what seems like the better life. Much like the film It’s a Wonderful Life, the novel shows us how choosing a different existence would change not just our own life trajectories but also those of others—perhaps in terrible ways.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

V. E. Schwab (Tor Books)

It’s the early 1700s, and Addie LaRue, desperate to escape an arranged marriage, makes a bargain with a dark deity, selling her soul for what she perceives as unfettered freedom. But she realizes the tragic consequences of her choice when she discovers that her “reward” is an immortal life where no one can remember her. The novel contains some adult language and also a few bedroom scenes, albeit nothing gratuitous. But Schwab is a masterful writer—her prose is hauntingly beautiful and evocative—and although Addie makes some chilling choices, her story builds toward an ending as perfectly satisfying as an ending can be.

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

Marie Benedict (Sourcebooks Landmark)

If you’re in the mood for pure entertainment, and especially if you’re a devotee of the queen of mysteries, Agatha Christie, I highly recommend The Mystery of Mrs. Christie. Benedict imagines what really happened in 1926 during those 11 days when the famous writer went missing. The disappearance—which was never explained, although Christie claimed amnesia—allowed Benedict to put herself in the shoes of a mystery writer and concoct an explanation. The result is a thoroughly satisfying whodunit and welcome escape for our troubled times.

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