The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler

Michael and Pauline seemed like the perfect couple - young, good-looking, made for each other. The moment she walked into his mother's grocery store in Baltimore, he was smitten, and in the heat of World War II fervour, they marry in haste. From the sound of the cash register in the old grocery to the counter-culture jargon of the sixties, from the miniskirts to the multilayers of later years, we watch their lives unspool and see the consequences of their very mismatched marriage.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love - and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle. The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph - a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

Between the first and second world wars a group of young, non-English-speaking Japanese women travelled by boat to America. They were picture brides, clutching photos of husbands-to-be whom they had yet to meet. Julie Otsuka tells their extraordinary, heartbreaking story in this spellbinding and poetic account of strangers lost and alone in a new and deeply foreign land.

The 19th Wife by David Ebersoff

Jordan returns from California to Utah to visit his mother in jail. As a teenager he was expelled from his family and religious community, a secretive Mormon offshoot sect. Now his father has been found shot dead in front of his computer, and one of his many wives - Jordan's mother - is accused of the crime. Over a century earlier, Ann Eliza Young, the nineteenth wife of Brigham Young, Prophet and Leader of the Mormon Church, tells the sensational story of how her own parents were drawn into plural marriage, and how she herself battled for her freedom and escaped her powerful husband, to lead a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. Bold, shocking and gripping, The 19th Wife expertly weaves together these two narratives: a pageturning literary mystery and an enthralling epic of love and faith.

I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron returns with her first book since the astounding success of I Feel Bad About My Neck, taking a cold, hard, hilarious look at the past, the present, and the future, bemoaning the vicissitudes of modern life, and recalling with her signature clarity and wisdom everything she hasn't (yet) forgotten. Even as she's listing 'What I Won't Miss' and 'What I Will Miss' - making the final tally - Ephron reaches back to recount falling hard for a way of life ('Journalism: A Love Story' ) and breaking up even harder with the men in her life ('The D Word' ), a long- anticipated inheritance with entirely unanticipated results ('My Life as an Heiress' ), and the evolution, a decade after she wrote and directed You've Got Mail, of her relationship with her in-box ('The Six Stages of E- mail' ). All the while, she gives candid, charming voice to everything women who have reached a certain age have been thinking . . . but have rarely acknowledged. Filled with insights and observations that instantly ring true - and could have come only from Nora Ephron - I Remember Nothing is a pure delight.

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

Beginning in America, and spilling back over memories and generations to India, Unaccustomed Earth explores the heart of family life and the immigrant experience. Eight luminous stories - longer and richer than any Jhumpa Lahiri has yet written - take us from America to Europe, India and Thailand as they follow new lives forged in the wake of loss.

Away by Amy Bloom

A vivid, earthy and surprising picture of 1920s America, its smells and textures, its population of drifters and con artists, pimps and prostitutes. "Away" is storytelling at its finest - epic in sweep, but intimate and psychologically acute, moving but unsentimental.

Moo by Jane Smiley

About the book Brilliantly funny satire set in a contemporary American university. Deep in the wheatfields of the American midwest, Moo University is in a state of disarray...In this witty and biting comedy of manners, Jane Smiley turns her wryly perceptive eye towards a community where men and women, the innocent and the cynical, thinkers… Continue reading Moo by Jane Smiley

A Thousand acres by Jane Smiley

About the book Larry Cook's farm is the largest in Zebulon County, Iowa, and a tribute to his hard work and single-mindedness. His decision to hand the farm over to his 3 daughters is out of character, and Caroline, who has misgivings, is immediately cut out. Reviewed by Friends of Farnborough One person thought this… Continue reading A Thousand acres by Jane Smiley

The Lovely bones by Alice Sebold

About the book A huge bestseller in America and the UK ┬áthis is a novel about life and death, forgiveness and vengeance, memory and forgetting. 14-year-old Susie Salmon, now dead, looks down on her family and friends from heaven. Reviewed by Titchfield Reading Group A moving, touching story. All the characters were believable and sympathetically… Continue reading The Lovely bones by Alice Sebold