4-4.5 stars

“This Boy’s Life” by Tobias Wolff

Toby Wolff is used to running–driving from Florida to Utah to Seattle to escape his mother’s boyfriend; moving to Concrete, WA, with his stepfather; dreaming of high school in Paris, France. But when he stops to face himself, he finds only scattered shadows of an identity.

“Doomsday Book” by Connie Willis

Doomsday Book tells the story of young Kivrin, an undergraduate at Oxford, who wants to travel back in time. Such technology is typically forbidden to undergrads, and doubly so for the generous and uncharted fourteenth century. But she manages to finagle a trip and heads back to 1320 for the chance at some first-hand historical reporting. Back in 2054, things start falling apart as soon as Kivin is gone.

“S.E.C.R.E.T.” by L. Marie Adeline

It’s been a long time since Cassie Robichaud has felt desired. She was estranged from her alcoholic husband when he crashed his car and died five years ago, and they never really had a healthy relationship in the first place. Since then, her romantic life has sputtered and died.

“Butterfly’s Child” by Angela Davis-Gardner

Angela ­Davis-Gardner’s novel, Butterfly’s Child, begins where Puccini’s opera, “Madame Butterfly,” leaves off. Frank Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, has returned to Japan with Kate, his new wife. Cio-Cio-san (Butterfly), his mistress, sees her chance at simultaneous revenge and redemption. She commits suicide, and Benji’s world changes in a moment.

“More Like Her” by Liza Palmer

Frances Reid, a speech pathologist who guides readers through the world of Markham, a private school, is riddled with insecurity after breaking up with fellow teacher Ryan. But after acknowledging her much-maligned flaws, Frances is ready to lose herself in the bustle of a new semester: new students, new challenges, and a new headmistress.

“War” by Sebastian Junger

In War, Sebastian Junger follows the men of the 2nd Platoon, Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in eastern Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. He reported on the men for Vanity Fair in five visits, from June 2007 to June 2008.

“The Lantern” by Deborah Lawrenson

Eve, a young translator only a few years out of college, already feels trapped in the turn her life had taken. Everything changes when she meets Dom. She leaves her life in England behind as they set out on an extended, dream-like vacation that includes buying an estate in Provence.

“All There Is” by Dave Isay

The period of time between Christmas and Valentine’s Day is the worst. You can’t swing a cat without hitting some diamond ad. (Sorry, Kizmet.) It would appear that it’s not love if he didn’t go to Jared, and it won’t last forever if it wasn’t designed by Jane Seymour. Let’s not even talk about eHarmony.

“Faith” by Jennifer Haigh

Late in life—long after their tumultuous childhoods—Art Breen and Sheila McGann became friends. As half-siblings, they were separated by more than a decade, and their different paths in life sometimes seemed like an unbridgeable gulf.

“The Blade Itself” by Joe Abercrombie

The Northmen have invaded Angland. The northernmost territory of the Union, a kingdom similar to Europe (or perhaps just a larger England), Angland has served as a tenuous barrier between the civilized Union and the wild tribes of the North, now held loosely under the control of Bethod, their self-proclaimed King.

“A Train in Winter” by Caroline Moorehead

In January 1943, two hundred and thirty women of the French Resistance were sent to the death camps by the Nazis who had invaded and occupied their country.

In 1941, Nazi Germany easily defeated France and struck a deal with a well-loved World War I hero, Marshal Philippe Pétain, who would lead the occupied country. In return, the Vichy government would collaborate with the occupiers.