The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library

12 Intriguing Reads You Won't Want to Put Down

Posted over 2 years ago by April S

Welcome to our appeal series, which seeks to highlight a variety of books to help our readers find that next great read. Each post features books that share similar appeal or elements like writing style, characters, tone, storylines, etc.

The recommendations in this blog post include novels with character-driven storylines. The characters are multi-dimensional/intriguing and the books are surprising and compelling. Enjoy!

Complex Character-Driven Reads

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg
John Woman by Walter Mosley

1. The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

Genre: Historical Fiction
Descriptors: Strong sense of place, gritty and descriptive

A servant and former slave enduring a sensational trial for her employers' murders reflects on her Jamaican childhood and her apprenticeship under a debauched scientist whose questionable ethics set the stage for a forbidden affair.

2. A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

Genre: Thriller
Descriptors: Intricately plotted, unconventional, suspenseful and compelling

When a deranged gunman forces his way into the Center, a women's reproductive health services clinic, and takes hostages, the police hostage negotiator discovers his daughter is inside the clinic.

3. Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg

Genre: Literary Fiction
Descriptors: Unconventional, compelling and stylistically complex

The life of a controversial mid-20th-century photographer is chronicled through her daughter's memories, interviews with her intimates and excerpts from journals and letters documenting her quest for artistic legitimacy in the face of public notoriety.

4. John Woman by Walter Mosley

Genre: Literary / Psychological Fiction
Descriptors: Fast paced, thought-provoking and compelling

A young man reinvents himself as a professor to share his late father's wisdom at an unorthodox university, only to encounter fellow intellectuals who have insights into his father's hidden past. By the award-winning author of the Easy Rawlins mysteries.

Normal People by Sally Rooney
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
The River by Peter Heller
The Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens

5. Normal People by Sally Rooney

Genre: Literary Fiction
Descriptors: Unlikely friendships, compelling and witty

The unconventional secret childhood bond between a popular boy and a lonely, intensely private girl is tested by character reversals in their first year at a Dublin college that render one introspective and the other social, but self-destructive.

6. Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

Genre: Psychological Fiction
Descriptors: Intricately plotted, leisurely paced, moving, reflective and engaging

The internationally best-selling author of "The Trouble With Goats and Sheep" presents the story of an injured woman who meditates on her complicated relationship with a best friend when a man they believed was dead joins her retirement community.

7. The River by Peter Heller

Genre: Psychological Fiction
Descriptors: Fast-paced, suspenseful and compelling

Two college students on a wilderness canoe trip find their survival skills and longtime best friendship tested by a wildfire, white-water hazards and two mysterious strangers.

8. The Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens

Genre: Mystery
Descriptors: Atmospheric, compelling and lyrical

A young reporter investigating the murder of a man with the same name as him discovers the deceased to be a loathsome lowlife who may be his father in this sequel to “The Life We Bury.”

Milkman by Anna Burns
Trigger by David Swinson
Transcription by Kate Atkinson
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

9. Milkman by Anna Burns

Genre: Literary Fiction
Descriptors: Compelling, disturbing and stylistically complex

In Northern Ireland during the Troubles of the 1970s, an unnamed narrator finds herself targeted by a high-ranking dissident known as Milkman.

10. Trigger by David Swinson

Genre: Hardboiled Fiction
Descriptors: Intricately plotted, compelling and gritty

Working as a vigilante robbing drug dealers after achieving hard-won sobriety, retired cop-turned-private investigator Frank Marr is drawn back into the world of police corruption to prove an old friend's innocence.

11. Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Genre: Historical / Literary Fiction
Descriptors: Sardonic, suspenseful, compelling and witty

A BBC radio producer finds herself targeted by dangerous individuals from her past as a World War II espionage monitor for MI5.

12. The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

Genre: Historical Fiction
Descriptors: Thought-provoking, secrets and World War II

In a novel set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, three widows' lives and fates become intertwined.

Photo of girl browsing books in a library. Image by klimkin from Pixabay.
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