The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
In the sleepy village of Rye, near England’s southern coast, the biggest news in the summer of 1914 is the arrival of a new Latin teacher — a woman. However, as summer turns to fall, turmoil in Europe begins to spill over into life in Rye. This lovely, leisurely paced novel from the author of “Mrs. Pettigrew’s Last Stand” is especially enjoyable as an audiobook.
The Ensemble by Aja Gabel
Gabel’s wonderful debut follows the members of a string quartet over two decades as their personal and professional relationships evolve. Rich character development and fascinating details about the world of professional musicians make this a great choice for fans of Ann Patchett and Meg Wolitzer.
Emily Calkins is the readers’ services program coordinator for KCLS, where she specializes in connecting readers with stories, authors, and each other. She also is the co-host of KCLS’ podcast, The Desk Set. As a reader, she likes flawed characters, atmospheric world-building, and anything with a slow-burn romance.