Sometimes just need to curl up with a good book and let the tears flow. Sure, there are the classic tearjerkers to turn to when you’re having one of those days, but we’ve rounded up new releases that are just as moving, emotional, and heartbreaking as the old staples. Check out the list below, and don’t forget the tissues!
The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien
This is O’Brien’s first novel in a decade, but her writing is just as raw and lyrical as ever. In The Little Red Chairs, Fidelma McBride is shocked to discover that the “healer” she has begged for help in her small Irish town is really a war criminal from the Balkans. In fact, the title of the novel comes from a ceremony held in 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Siege of Sarajevo. Red chairs were placed in the streets to remember the thousands of lives lost during the siege, including 600 children.
The Little Red Chairs is not an easy read, but it is certainly a worthwhile one that explores a brutal time in European history.
Alice & Oliver by Charles Bock
In 1993, Alice Culvert is one of the most vibrant new mothers in New York City, which makes her cancer diagnosis all the more heartbreaking. This book follows Alice and her husband, Oliver, during this difficult time as they fight for survival against of Alice’s diagnosis and the healthcare system. Unforgiving and brutal, Alice & Oliver won’t leave a dry eye in the house.
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
The latest work by Annie Proulx, author of Brokeback Mountain, is nothing short of epic. This family saga, set in 1600s Canada, begins with two woodcutters, Rene Sel and Charles Duquet. They each embark on a different path through life, each facing his own challenges. The book follows the descendants of Sel and Duquet as they travel the world, struggling from physical and cultural hardships. Brutal and formidable, this novel takes the reader on an incredible journey.
Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand
At one time or another, Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett were all married to celebrity chef, Deacon Thorpe, and needless to say, Deacon’s exes aren’t exactly friends. But when Deacon dies, the three women must honor his final request — gathering on Nantucket to say their goodbyes. Feisty and emotional, Here’s to Us is filled with plenty of spite, resentment, and tears to go around.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Based on real women, Lilac Girls follows a New York socialite, a German doctor, and a Polish resistance fighter during World War II. Before the war, these women had little in common, but all that changes when Hitler’s army invades Poland. The lives of Caroline, Herta, and Kasia intersect as a result of Ravensbruck concentration camp, a devastating place where women were experimented on without mercy. Unforgettable and heartbreaking, Lilac Girls is one of the year’s most haunting novels.
The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan
The Woman in the Photo follows two women on opposite sides of the 20th century. In 1888, Elizabeth Haberlin tries and ultimately fails to warn people that the Conemaugh River in Johnstown, PA, will not hold. In present day, Lee Parker’s search for her birth parents leads her to Johnstown decades after the dam collapsed. Hogan’s novel is surprising and powerful, drawing together a narrative which hinges on one heartbreaking day.
And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer
Like many others on this list, And After the Fire is a novel which draws heavily from history. Belfer’s tale moves back and forth between an American soldier in 1945 and his niece, Susanna, in 2010. Susanna discovers the hidden sheet music her uncle took from Germany during World War II, sending her on a journey through the 1780s and beyond. A compulsively readable novel, And After the Fire holds nothing back in its pursuit of truth.
A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi
Contrary to the title’s cheery nature, A House For Happy Mothers tells the heartrending tale of a childless woman and the poor, Indian mother of two who provides her services as a surrogate. Beautiful and profound, Malladi’s novel is filled with vivid characters and a compelling narrative which explores a complicated and oft overlooked commercial market.
Which books would you add to the list? Share it in the comments!