Top 27 New Books I’m Excited for in Winter 2020

New year means new books! 2019 saw a ton of wonderful publications, including powerful debuts and impressive new entries from beloved authors. Now we have a fresh year ahead of us, and a growing list of anticipated new books.

Without further ado, here are 27 books coming out in winter 2020 – between now and March 20th – that I can’t wait to read.

Isabel Ibañez - Woven in Moonlight

Isabel Ibañez – Woven in Moonlight

I only learned about this at the very end of December when it was featured on Book of the Month as an add-on. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it until I’d already placed my order, but it’ll be first in line for my February box! Woven in Moonlight is a young adult novel and a debut from new author, Isabel Ibañez. It borrows from Bolivian politics and history to weave a magical story about stealing back power for your people, seeking revenge, and finding alternate routes to success.

Due out: January 7

all the ways we said goodbye

Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, & Karen White – All the Ways We Said Goodbye

Although I haven’t yet read any books by any of these three authors, I have some by both Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig, and intend to read them really soon. Their books look to be right up my alley, and their latest collaboration – following The Forgotten Room and The Glass Ocean – has certainly piqued my interest. It’s set in France’s Hotel Ritz but spans years: 1914 and the start of WWI, 1942 and France’s fall to Hitler, and 1964 and a widow’s search into the past.

Due out: January 14

Tanen Jones - The Better Liar

Tanen Jones – The Better Liar

You may not have heard of Tanen Jones yet, but her debut novel, The Better Liar, is already earning her some buzz. How far would you go to earn your rightful inheritance? Upon her father’s death, Leslie discovers that to collect her inheritance, her sister must also collect hers. The trouble is, Robin is dead. So Leslie, desperate for the money, gets a stranger, Mary, to impersonate her dead sister. Leslie gets her money, and Mary gets Robin’s share. But they each have their secrets… perhaps none bigger than what Robin was hiding.

Due out: January 14

Jeanine Cummins - American Dirt

Jeanine Cummins – American Dirt

There’s been a lot of buzz around Jeanine Cummins’s new novel, American Dirt. It’s an important and timely book that follows Lydia and her son Luca as they flee a family massacre in their Mexican home. They must outrun the cartel leaders against them, leading them to enter the US as undocumented immigrants. It’s a heart-racing literary masterpiece that many are already predicting to be the book of 2020. It’s something we should all read, and I certainly will as soon as it’s out.

Due out: January 21

Jane Thynne - The Words I Never Wrote

Jane Thynne – The Words I Never Wrote

I’ve read a lot of books set during WWII, and it’s gotten to the point where I avoid them. It takes something special for me to read a WWII book now. Jane Thynne’s The Words I Never Wrote is that book this year. It jumps between modern-day New York and 1936 England, held together by a typewriter that belonged to English journalist Cordelia Capel. Cordelia’s sister lived in Europe with her Nazi-sympathizing German husband. It’s a tale of sisters on opposite sides of the war and the truth the sisters’ letters didn’t tell.

Due out: January 21

Isabel Allende - A Long Petal of the Sea

Isabel Allende – A Long Petal of the Sea

I’ve read a few books set during the Spanish Civil War, and have more on my shelf ready to be opened up. My next addition will be Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea. The novel follows Roser, a pregnant widow who escapes Franco’s regime and is forced to marry her brother-in-law Victor so they can, as refugees, flee to Chile. (The author is Chilean herself.) From there, the unlikely pair must build a new life, and the novel spans the decades that follow in their new home.

Due out: January 21

Nancy Bilyeau - Dreamland

Nancy Bilyeau – Dreamland

I admit, the cover of Dreamland is what really grabbed my attention. Nancy Bilyeau’s new novel is set in Coney Island in 1911. Wealthy heiress Peggy doesn’t much like the snobbish socialites and her controlling family, and chooses to spend her time working on the pier and falling in love with a poor artist. But her family has deadly secrets, and bodies are piling up in summer 1911. Dreamland is a thrilling mystery of “corruption, class, and dangerous obsession.” I’m certainly intrigued!

Due out: January 21

M. J. Rose - Cartier's Hope

M. J. Rose – Cartier’s Hope

Set in nearly the same time and place, M. J. Rose’s latest novel, Cartier’s Hope, takes readers to New York City in 1910. Here we meet Vera Garland, a journalist in a time when women weren’t so respected in the workplace. Most female journalists are pushed to write about fashion, but Vera wants to write harder-hitting pieces. In an effort to achieve more, Vera chases a story of the infamous Hope Diamond. I love a good book about women fighting for their rights and proving themselves, and this is one I’m eager to check out.

Due out: January 28

Erica Spindler - The Look-Alike

Erica Spindler – The Look-Alike

Erica Spindler’s new psychological thriller, The Look-Alike, has an arresting premise: Sienna Scott faced a traumatic experience when her mother, who suffered paranoid delusions, was murdered. Years later, the case is still unsolved, and Sienna has returned to the house where it all went down. She can’t shake the feeling that it was her who was meant to be murdered that night. Sienna is terrified the killer is preparing to amend that mistake, but what if it’s just a paranoid delusion like her mother had?

Due out: January 28

C. J. Tudor - The Other People

C. J. Tudor – The Other People

I have a few C. J. Tudor books on my lists, and the next one I’m adding is The Other People. The thriller focuses on Gabe, whose daughter was taken from him 3 years ago. He now spends all his time on the roads, searching for the car that took her. His story mixes with that of Fran and Alice, both on the run from an imminent danger that wants them dead. Finally there’s Katie, a waitress at the service stations where Gabe rests at night. Three intersecting stories, one spooky and thrilling book. I’m in!

Due out: January 28

Amy Bonnaffons - The Regrets

Amy Bonnaffons – The Regrets

Here’s a weird but intriguing new novel. Amy Bonnoffons’s debut, The Regrets stars Rachel, a Brooklynite who notices a handsome, sad man at her bus stop. She finally talks to him – Thomas – and they have an instant love connection. The problem? Thomas is dead. He’s in a 90-day limbo, during which he must not get involved with anyone living. Of course, he and Rachel do, and they face regretful consequences. I haven’t read many ghost romances, but this one has piqued my interest!

Due out: February 4

Michael Zapata - The Lost Book of Adana Moreau

Michael Zapata – The Lost Book of Adana Moreau

I’ve always loved books about books, and this debut from Michael Zapata certainly fits the bill. It starts in 1920s New Orleans, where a Dominican immigrant, Adana Moreau, wrote a science fiction book. She wrote a sequel, but fell ill, and just before her death, she and her son destroyed the manuscript. Fast forward to 2000s Chicago, and Saul Drowser somehow receives a copy of that lost manuscript. Intriguing! The Lost Book of Adana Moreau has been compared to one of my favorite books, Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind, so I can’t wait for this one!

Due out: February 4

Abi Dare - The Girl with the Louding Voice

Abi Daré – The Girl with the Louding Voice

Another anticipated debut, Abi Daré’s The Girl with the Louding Voice takes readers to Nigeria, where 14-year-old Adunni dreams of getting an education and choosing her own future. Instead, she’s sold to be a local man’s third wife and bear him a son. Adunni rejects that life and runs away, but her only option is to work as a servant. The novel tackles inequality, sexism, and a patriarchal society that pushes women down. But in the end, it’s also about empowerment and growth as women reach for more. This is a book I don’t want to miss in 2020.

Due out: February 4

Kiran Millwood Hargrave - The Mercies

Kiran Millwood Hargrave – The Mercies

I’m often drawn to books that take me places I’ve never been. Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s adult debut The Mercies will do just that, set in Norway in 1617. What happens when a storm kills off a whole island’s men, leaving just the women? The women of Vardø do just that until, 3 years later, sinister figures arrive from Scotland. But with the witch-burning Absalom Cornet comes his wife, Ursa, who develops a connection with one of the Vardø women, Maren. What follows is feminist love story set against evil and a civilization on the edge.

Due out: February 4

Stacey Halls - The Foundling

Stacey Halls – The Foundling

I just picked up Stacey Hall’s first book, The Familiars, and plan to read it in time for book #2, The Foundling. The new novel is set in 1754 London, and highlights two mothers. One is Bess, who had a child out of wedlock and left the baby at The Foundling to be looked after until Bess could care for her again. But now, 6 years later, her child is gone, taken by someone who used Bess’s name. Then there’s Alexandra, a widow who hasn’t left her house in 10 years; she and her daughter lead an isolated life. The Foundling looks mysterious and emotional, and I’m excited to read it.

Due out: February 4

Jess Kidd - Things in Jars

Jess Kidd – Things in Jars

I already bought an early release of Jess Kidd’s Things in Jars, a historical fantasy set in Victorian London. Bridie Devine is a detective, and her new case is to find the secret daughter of a gentleman, a girl who may have supernatural powers. Bridie’s investigation is aided by a cast of enchanting characters, including a giant, a ghost, and an apothecary. Secrets and magic collide in this strange, but captivating new story.

Due out: February 4 (released early in Book of the Month’s January selection)

Simone St. James - The Sun Down Motel

Simone St. James – The Sun Down Motel

This is another early release I got through Book of the Month. I loved Simone St. James’s last book, The Broken Girls, so I knew I’d need to get The Sun Down Motel immediately. It starts in 1982 in a small New York town called Fell. Viv Delaney works at the titular motel, but it’s not long before she vanishes. In 2017, her niece Carly gets a job at the same motel, looking for answers. Sure, it might be haunted, and yes, she’s definitely in danger. This is a thriller I can’t wait to read.

Due out: February 18 (released early in Book of the Month’s January selection)

Rosanna Amaka - The Book of Echoes

Rosanna Amaka – The Book of Echoes

Here’s another book that first caught my attention with its title and cover, but the synopsis confirmed that it’ll be a must-read. The debut novel from Rosanna Amaka, The Book of Echoes shows us two people, worlds apart, but suffering troubled fates. Michael Watson is a black man in 1980s Brixton, but racial tensions may land him in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. In Lagos, Nigeria, Ngozi attempts to make a life for herself as a maid, but things don’t work out as planned. Eventually, their worlds collide and we see how they can heal. The Book of Echoes sounds like an important and memorable debut.

Due out: February 25

Maisy Card - These Ghosts are Family

Maisy Card – These Ghosts are Family

Another debut, Maisy Card’s These Ghosts are Family illuminates a Jamaican family and their winding path from Jamaica to Harlem. The first secret: 30 years ago, the man known as Stanford Solomon faked his own death and stole his best friend’s identity; his real name is Abel Paisley. His confession leads to meeting long-lost family members, but also down his history and what led him to such drastic actions. This is a family saga that sounds deep and fully worth reading.

Due out: March 3

Peter Swanson - Eight Perfect Murders

Peter Swanson – Eight Perfect Murders

There are a few books by Peter Swanson on my to-buy list, and the newest addition is Eight Perfect Murders, a thriller inspired by some of the greatest horror writing. Years ago, bookseller Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the best unsolvable murders in literature. Imagine his surprise when an FBI agent shows up, linking his list to a string of new murders taking place. The FBI is certainly interested in Mal now, but so is the killer. Mal does what he can to uncover suspects, but he’s looking guiltier as time goes on. Here’s a twisty, book-loving thriller that I’m sure to enjoy.

Due out: March 3

Nana Oforiatta Ayim - The God Child

Nana Oforiatta Ayim – The God Child

Nana Oforiatta Ayim’s debut novel, The God Child, takes readers across countries and continents. It starts in Germany, where Maya lives with her exiled Ghanaian parents. Then she meets her cousin Kojo, her mother’s godson. His thoughtfulness has an impact on Maya, but then they’re sent to schools in England and lose contact. Later, Maya travels to Ghana and reconnects with Kojo, who’s more troubled than ever. It’s a story about finding your purpose and understanding your heritage, and it looks like a powerful new read.

Due out: March 3

Lily King - Writers and Lovers

Lily King – Writers & Lovers

I’ll be 30 this year, and I’m starting to feel conflicted in how my life is vs. how I want it to be. That said, I’m finding myself drawn to characters who reflect this inner turmoil, and it’s something I see in Lily King’s upcoming book, Writers & Lovers. In the late 1990s, Casey arrives in Massachusetts following her mother’s death. Casey, 31, is having a hard time growing up, her life becoming further separated from her friends. She wants to live creatively and write a book, yet she’s somewhat adrift and caught in a doomed love triangle. She’s a character I think I’ll connect to and root for until the story’s end.

Due out: March 3

Josie Silver - The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Josie Silver – The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

The romances I’m drawn to this year seem to all come with a hint of something sad or painful. In the case of Josie Silver’s The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, we get a parellel universe with two different loves. Lydia and her fiancé Freddie have been together for a decade when Freddie dies in a car accident. After a difficult grieving process, Lydia finds love again… but is then pulled into an alternate universe in which Freddie never died. These two life trajectories play out at once – her real life and her parallel universe – leaving Lydia at a painful crossroads. This book will surely make me cry, but it feels like one worth reading.

Due out: March 3

Rebecca Serle - In Five Years

Rebecca Serle – In Five Years

This next romance book – also out the first week of March – has a somewhat similar effect. In Rebecca Serle’s In Five Years, Dannie, a lawyer, has just gotten engaged. She goes to bed and wakes up… with a different ring and a different man in her bed. She’s jumped forward 5 years, and it looks like her life will be very different from where she is now. After the shock, Dannie is returned to 2020, and we live out the next 4 1/2 years before she sees the future man from her vision. From there, the book follows how Dannie’s love life will unfold based on a strange vision of the future.

Due out: March 3

Louise Hare - This Lovely City

Louise Hare – This Lovely City

Louise Hare’s first book, This Lovely City, takes us to London in 1950. We meet jazz musician Lawrie Matthews, originally from Jamaica, with a new girlfriend named Eve. But then Lawrie encounters something terrible, shocking the community and threatening to destroy his life. We encounter the poor treatment of immigrants – a theme that’s still relevant to this day – and how two people with their own secrets can build a life together. I look forward to seeing how it all unfolds.

Due out: March 10

Kate Elizabeth Russell - My Dark Vanessa

Kate Elizabeth Russell – My Dark Vanessa

I’ve been hearing about Kate Elizabeth Russell’s debut, My Dark Vanessa, for many months now, and it’s a book I feel at once drawn to but also unsure of. It tells the story of Vanessa, a 15-year-old student who gets into a relationship with her mid-40s English teacher, Jacob Strane. In between narration of that time in the early 2000s, we also see Vanessa 17 years later, now an adult woman reconciling her past when another former student charges Jacob Strane for sexual abuse. In light of the #MeToo movement, we watch as Vanessa works through her past and whether she had as much control in it as she once thought.

Due out: March 10

Afia Atakora - Conjure Women

Afia Atakora – Conjure Women

Afia Atakora’s debut novel, Conjure Women, caught my attention with the title and cover alone, but its summary sealed the deal. In the years surrounding the American Civil War, we find ourselves in the South with a powerful mother and daughter, Miss May Belle and Rue, both slaves. They share a talent for healing and conjuring curses. They also have a connection with their master’s daughter, Varina, but everything will come to a head as the war breaks out and an accursed child is born. This is one of my most anticipated books this year, and among the last to come out before winter’s end.

Due out: March 17


What books are you excited for this winter? Let me know in the comments!

Stay tuned for future lists about anticipated 2020 books in spring, summer, and fall.

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