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My big list of book club books for 2023 is here! These are the books I believe will be the most sought after and popular book club books of 2023.
I love putting together this huge list of new releases every year. But as we know, not every book is suitable for book clubs. So I spend the year prior gathering all the information I can about what will release the next year. It’s very important for me to present you all with an array of options. BTW, be sure to check out my 2022 list if you haven’t already.
I’m really excited about the group of books publishing in 2023. I just feel like this is going to be a huge reading year. We have the return of several in-demand authors such as Rebecca Makkai, Jojo Moyes, Ann Napolitano and more. We also have the much anticipated publication of Prince Henry’s memoir. And there are several debut authors on the list as well.
Usually, I present the books in order of genre. But I decided to instead list the books by month. As new books are announced, I will update this list throughout the year so it will feature new books for each month. Be sure to bookmark it and check back often!
Alright, let’s get to the must-read book club picks for 2023! Remember, these are all new releases for the year.
Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor (Jan. 3)
There’s a ton of buzz surrounding Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor. This a story that is equal parts crime thriller and family saga. Taking place in Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi, this promises to be a binge-worthy read. Here’s the synopsis:
New Delhi, 3 a.m. A speeding Mercedes jumps the curb and in the blink of an eye, five people are dead. It’s a rich man’s car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold.
Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an epic, action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family — loved by some, loathed by others, feared by all.
In the shadow of lavish estates, extravagant parties, predatory business deals and calculated political influence, three lives become dangerously intertwined: Ajay is the watchful servant, born into poverty, who rises through the family’s ranks. Sunny is the playboy heir who dreams of outshining his father, whatever the cost. And Neda is the curious journalist caught between morality and desire. Against a sweeping plot fueled by loss, pleasure, greed, yearning, violence and revenge, will these characters’ connections become a path to escape, or a trigger of further destruction?
Equal parts crime thriller and family saga, transporting readers from the dusty villages of Uttar Pradesh to the urban energy of New Delhi, Age of Vice is an intoxicating novel of gangsters and lovers, false friendships, forbidden romance, and the consequences of corruption.It is binge-worthy entertainment at its literary best.
The Villa by Rachel Hawkins (Jan. 3)
A murder mystery set in an Italian villa sounds like a fantastic way to kick-start your reading year. The Villa follows two best friends who take a trip to Italy together. But the villa they’re staying at was the site of a brutal murder of a musician back in the ’70s. One friend becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. Sound like this will turn into a truly twisty read. Here’s the synopsis:
As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.
Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.
As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred––and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.
Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge––and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.
Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the infamous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle––the birthplace of Frankenstein––The Villa welcomes you into its deadly legacy.
Spare by Prince Henry (Jan. 10)
I don’t always find memoirs make for an ideal book club read. They can be long and so drawn out. But I think Prince Henry’s memoir goes against that trend as it will be so notable and buzz worthy.
The world has watched him grow up and seen all his life documented but it’s been rare for him to be able to present his own narrative and perspective, until recently. A book allows him to do so in a different way than televised interviews and documentaries. The title alone is one of the most impactful ones I’ve read in years. Here’s the synopsis:
It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on.
For Harry, this is that story at last.
With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.
Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica (Jan. 10)
Mary Kubica writes engaging and well-written thrillers. These are the type of stories you want to read in one sitting! I’m eager to read her latest, Just the Nicest Couple (great title BTW). The story is about the mystery surrounding a husband’s disappearance. Here’s the synopsis:
Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.
Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.
Maame by Jessica George (Jan. 31)
Maame is the debut novel of Jessica George. The story follows a woman named Maddie who lives in London and cares for her father. When her mom returns home, she leaps at the chance to finally starting living her own life. But she will hit many roadblocks along her journey of self-discovery. I love these kind of coming-of-age stories and am looking forward to this one. Here’s the synopsis:
It’s fair to say that Maddie’s life in London is far from rewarding. With a mother who spends most of her time in Ghana (yet still somehow manages to be overbearing), Maddie is the primary caretaker for her father, who suffers from advanced stage Parkinson’s. At work, her boss is a nightmare and Maddie is tired of always being the only Black person in every meeting.
When her mum returns from her latest trip to Ghana, Maddie leaps at the chance to get out of the family home and finally start living. A self-acknowledged late bloomer, she’s ready to experience some important “firsts”: She finds a flat share, says yes to after-work drinks, pushes for more recognition in her career, and throws herself into the bewildering world of internet dating. But it’s not long before tragedy strikes, forcing Maddie to face the true nature of her unconventional family, and the perils––and rewards––of putting her heart on the line.
Smart, funny, and deeply affecting, Jessica George’s Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and poignancy: from familial duty and racism, to female pleasure, the complexity of love, and the life-saving power of friendship. Most important, it explores what it feels like to be torn between two homes and cultures—and it celebrates finally being able to find where you belong.
Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes (Feb. 7)
After the huge success of The Giver of Stars, Jojo Moyes returns with her latest fiction novel, Someone Else’s Shoes. With this novel, she goes back to her contemporary/women’s fiction roots. The story is about mix-ups, mess-ups and making the most of a second chance. The synopsis is a bit vague but I suspect there’s more than meets the eye with this one. Here’s the synopsis:
Nisha Cantor lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband announces a divorce and cuts her off. Nisha is determined to hang onto her glamorous life. But in the meantime, she must scramble to cope–she doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.
That’s because Sam Kemp – in the bleakest point of her life – has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag. But Sam hardly has time to worry about a lost gym bag–she’s struggling to keep herself and her family afloat. When she tries on Nisha’s six-inch high Christian Louboutin red crocodile shoes, the resulting jolt of confidence that makes her realize something must change—and that thing is herself.
Full of Jojo Moyes’ signature humor, brilliant storytelling, and warmth, Someone Else’s Shoes is a story about how just one little thing can suddenly change everything.
Code Name Sapphire by Pam Jenoff (Feb. 7)
For fans of WWII historical fiction, be sure to check out Code Name Sapphire by Pam Jenoff. The story follows a woman who must rescue her cousin’s family from a train bound for Auschwitz in this tale of bravery and resistance. It sounds thrilling, and quite impactful. Here’s the synopsis:
1942. Hannah Martel has narrowly escaped Nazi Germany after her fiancé was killed in a pogrom. When her ship bound for America is turned away at port, she has nowhere to go but to her cousin Lily, who lives with her family in Brussels. Fearful for her life, Hannah is desperate to get out of occupied Europe. But with no safe way to leave, she must return to the dangerous underground work she thought she had left behind.
Seeking help, Hannah joins the Sapphire Line, a secret resistance network led by a mysterious woman named Micheline and her enigmatic brother Matteo. But when a grave mistake causes Lily’s family to be arrested and slated for deportation to Auschwitz, Hannah finds herself torn between her loyalties. How much is Hannah willing to sacrifice to save the people she loves? Inspired by incredible true stories of courage and sacrifice, Code Name Sapphire is a powerful novel about love, family and the unshakable resilience of women in even the hardest of times.
I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai (Feb. 21)
Rebecca Makkai’s last novel, The Great Believers, was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. So there’s a ton of buzz with her newest novel, I Have Some Questions for You.
The story follows a woman who returns to teach at her former boarding school. But in doing so she faces her dark past as her roommate was murdered there during her senior year. Now being back at the school, she becomes drawn to the case once again. I love these literary mysteries so I’m quite looking forward to this one. Here’s the synopsis:
A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her former roommate, Thalia Keith, in the spring of their senior year. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia’s death and the conviction of the school’s athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are hotly debated online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.
But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, Bodie is inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent ﬂaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn’t as much of an outsider at Granby as she’d thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.
Black Candle Women by Diane Marie Brown (Feb. 28)
Black Candle Women is the debut novel of Diane Marie Brown. It’s a family drama with a magical twist about four generations of Black women living under one roof and the family curse that stems back to a Voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans. I’m really looking forward to this one—it sounds so unique and engaging. Here’s the synopsis:
Generations of Montrose women—Augusta, Victoria, Willow—have lived together in their quaint two-story bungalow in California for years. They keep to themselves, never venture far from home, and their collection of tinctures and spells is an unspoken bond between them.
But when seventeen-year-old Nickie Montrose brings home a boy for the first time, their quiet lives are thrown into disarray. For the other women have been withholding a secret from Nickie that will end her relationship before it’s even begun: the decades-old family curse that any person they fall in love with dies.
Their surprise guest forces each woman to reckon with her own past choices and mistakes. And as new truths about the curse emerge, the family is set on a collision course dating back to a Voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans’s French Quarter—where a hidden story in a mysterious book may just hold the answers they seek in life and in love…
What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez by Claire Jimenez
This is the highly anticipated debut novel of Claire Jimenez. The story follows a Puerto Rican family in Staten Island who discovers their long‑missing sister is potentially alive and cast on a reality TV show, and they set out to bring her home. It sounds so compelling. Very much looking forward to it!
The Ramirez women of Staten Island orbit around absence. When thirteen‑year‑old middle child Ruthy disappeared after track practice without a trace, it left the family scarred and scrambling. One night, twelve years later, oldest sister Jessica spots a woman on her TV screen in Catfight, a raunchy reality show. She rushes to tell her younger sister, Nina: This woman’s hair is dyed red, and she calls herself Ruby, but the beauty mark under her left eye is instantly recognizable. Could it be Ruthy, after all this time?
The years since Ruthy’s disappearance haven’t been easy on the Ramirez family. It’s 2008, and their mother, Dolores, still struggles with the loss, Jessica juggles a newborn baby with her hospital job, and Nina, after four successful years at college, has returned home to medical school rejections and is forced to work in the mall folding tiny bedazzled thongs at the lingerie store.
After seeing maybe‑Ruthy on their screen, Jessica and Nina hatch a plan to drive to where the show is filmed in search of their long‑lost sister. When Dolores catches wind of their scheme, she insists on joining, along with her pot-stirring holy roller best friend, Irene. What follows is a family road trip and reckoning that will force the Ramirez women to finally face the past and look toward a future—with or without Ruthy in it.
What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez is a vivid family portrait, in all its shattered reality, exploring the familial bonds between women and cycles of generational violence, colonialism, race, and silence, replete with snark, resentment, tenderness, and, of course, love.
The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell (March 7)
Ooo I loved The Maid by Nita Prose and The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell sounds like a similar vein. This is a locked-room mystery where someone turns up dead on the set of TV’s hottest baking competition. I’m ready to read this one right now! Here’s the synopsis:
Every summer for the past ten years, six awe-struck bakers have descended on the grounds of Grafton, the leafy and imposing Vermont estate that is not only the filming site for “Bake Week” but also the childhood home of the show’s famous host, celebrated baker Betsy Martin.
The author of numerous bestselling cookbooks and hailed as “America’s Grandmother,” Betsy Martin isn’t as warm off-screen as on, though no one needs to know that but her. She has always demanded perfection, and gotten it with a smile, but this year something is off. As the baking competition commences, things begin to go awry. At first, it’s merely sabotage—sugar replaced with salt, a burner turned to high—but when a body is discovered, everyone is a suspect.
A sharp and suspenseful thriller for mystery buffs and avid bakers alike, The Golden Spoon is a brilliant puzzle filled with shocking twists and turns that will keep you reading late into the night until you turn the very last page of this incredible debut.
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano (March 14)
Ann Napolitano’s previous book, Dear Edward, is one of the best books I read in years. I initially thought it would be too hard of a read—the journey of a lone survivor of a plane crash—but it was so well-written and heartfelt. I’m so looking forward to her latest novel, Hello Beautiful. It’s a story about broken people, family and love. Here’s the synopsis:
William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him—so when he meets the spirited and ambitious Julia Padavano in his freshman year of college, it’s as if the world has lit up around him. With Julia comes her family, as she and her three sisters are inseparable: Sylvie, the family’s dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book; Cecelia is a free-spirited artist; and Emeline patiently takes care of them all. With the Padavanos, William experiences a newfound contentment; every moment in their house is filled with loving chaos.
But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable devotion to one another. The result is a catastrophic family rift that changes their lives for generations. Will the loyalty that once rooted them be strong enough to draw them back together when it matters most?
The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner (March 21)
Sarah Penner’s debut novel The Lost Apothecary was a breakout hit of 2021. Her latest novel is a whodunnit full of suspense, mystery and illusion. It takes place in 1873 and follows a woman looking for the truth about her sister’s death. Here’s the synopsis:
1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.
Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves…
Homecoming by Kate Morton (April 4)
One of the most anticipated books is Homecoming by Kate Morton. Her previous novel, The Clockmakers Daughter, was a huge success. Her latest novel revolves around a crime, which will have ripple effects across generations. Looking forward to this one! Here’s the synopsis:
Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959: At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek in the grounds of the grand and mysterious house, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia.
Many years later and thousands of miles away, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost twenty years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital.
At Nora’s house, Jess discovers a book that chronicles the police investigation into a long-buried crime: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the pages that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous event – a murder mystery that has never been resolved satisfactorily.
Carmen and Grace by Melissa Coss Aquino (April 4)
Carmen and Grace by Melissa Coss Quino sounds like such an intriguing coming-of-age tale. The story follows two cousins lured into the underground drug trade at a young age. One becomes obsessed with power, while the other one seeks to escape it. Here’s the synopsis:
Carmen and Grace have been inseparable since they were little girls—more like sisters than cousins, survivors of a childhood marked by neglect and addiction and a system that never valued them. For too long, all they had was each other. That is, until Doña Durka swept into their lives and changed everything, taking Grace into her home, providing stability and support, and playing an outsize role in Carmen’s upbringing too.
Durka is more than a beneficent force in their Bronx neighborhood, though. She’s also the leader of an underground drug empire, a larger-than-life matriarch who understands the vital importance of taking what power she can in a world too often ruled by violent men. So, when Durka dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances, Carmen and Grace’s lives are thrown into chaos. Grace has been primed to take over and has grand plans to expand the business. While Carmen is ready to move on—from the shadow of Durka and her high expectations and, most of all, from always looking over her shoulder in fear. She’s also harboring a secret: she’s pregnant and starting to show, and desperate to build a new life before the baby arrives.
But how can Carmen leave the only family she’s ever known—this tight sisterhood of women known as the D. O. D., a group of lost girls turned skilled professionals under Durka’s guiding hand, all bonded in their spirituality and merciless support for one another—especially now, when outside threats are circling, and Grace’s plans are speeding recklessly forward?
The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho by Paterson Joseph (April 11)
The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho is based on a true story about the first Black man to vote in Britain. Award-winning actor Paterson Joseph has been fascinated by Sancho for many years. He wrote and starred in the play Sancho: An Act of Remembrance in 2018, which was staged in the UK as well as the US. This is his debut novel. It sounds so fascinating! Here’s the synopsis:
It’s 1746 and Georgian London is not a safe place for a young Black man, especially one who has escaped slavery. After the twinkling lights in the Fleet Street coffee shops are blown out and the great houses have closed their doors for the night, Sancho must dodge slave catchers and worse. The man he hoped would help him―a kindly duke who taught him to write―is dying. Sancho is desperate and utterly alone. So how does the same Charles Ignatius Sancho meet the king, write and play highly acclaimed music, become the first Black person to vote in Britain, and lead the fight to end slavery?
It’s time for him to tell his story, one that begins on a tempestuous Atlantic Ocean and ends at the very center of London life. And through it all, he must ask: Born among death, how much can he achieve in one short life?
Happy Place by Emily Henry
Emily Henry’s novels are everywhere now!! And for good reason. They’re entertaining and quite heartfelt. Each of her stories have a special charm to it. Her latest follows an estranged couple who pretend to still be together during their annual reunion trip with their best friends. Here’s the synopsis:
Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t.
They broke up five months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.
Which is how they find themselves sharing a bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blissful week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.
Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week…in front of those who know you best?