Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
Yes, yes, lucky us—we get a new novel from the much-celebrated Bloom, this one centering on teenage half-sisters navigating the 1940s, from small-town Ohio to Hollywood and London. It opens: “My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.” Having grabbed you by the lapels, Bloom keeps you tightly in her grip until the final elegant sentence.
The Painter by Peter Heller
Looking for suspense with literary chops? Peter Heller (whose last book was the breakout bestseller The Dog Stars) is back with a brilliant page-turner about an artist with a dark streak. It opens: “I never imagined I would shoot a man. Or be a father. Or live so far from the sea.” Heller’s gorgeous prose and the moral complexity of his narrator make this a standout.