Halfway House by Katharine Noel
Angie is a diligent student and all-star swimmer, but her entire world changes when it becomes apparent that she is mentally ill in a story of how families live through crisis. Noel considers the ways manic depression touches each member of the family with an uncanny ability to convey the disease as experienced by the patient.
Home Fires by Luanne Rice
Anne has just lost her young daughter in a tragic accident and her husband to another woman. With her world in upheaval, Anne returns to the secluded island hometown that her sister never escaped. A fire in the women's ancestral home drives Anne to rescue the one object she holds most dear and to be rescued by Thomas Devlin, a scarred firefighter with his own unfortunate past.
Mothers and Other Liars by Amy Bourret
Bourret also writes compellingly about sympathetic characters faced with agonizing ethical decisions. In this debut novel, Ruby never dreamed that she had done anything wrong by rescuing Lark, an infant abandoned at a truck stop. What decision will she make years later when she sees Lark's picture in the newspaper as a missing child?
Past the Bleachers by Chris Bohjalian
Bohjalian is another New England author who favors close examination of hot button issues in small town settings. After Bill Parrish loses his young son Nathaniel to leukemia, he fills the void in his life by coaching a local Little League team and becoming attached to a mute boy, Lucky, who eerily reminds Bill of his own lost son.
Save Me by Lisa Scottoline
A bestselling author of legal thrillers, Scottoline seems to excel at stand-alone domestic suspense as well. Volunteering at her daughter's school so that she can keep an eye on a bully, Rose faces a difficult choice when her daughter is tormented at the same time an explosion occurs in the cafeteria, a situation that causes Rose to be blamed for the bully's injuries.
Stolen by Susan Lewis
Lewis writes compelling, emotional tales about sensational subjects with understated execution. Lucy’s parents have always been there for her, and when she moves to the country to take over their thriving auction business, she knows she's made the right decision. Then, quite suddenly, she discovers a shocking truth that forces her to question everything she has ever known.
Testimony by Anita Shreve
A New England boarding school is rocked in the wake of a sex scandal in which participants were caught on videotape, a situation that derails the innocence and best intentions of students, parents, and others in life-shattering ways. Shreve offers sensitive portrayals of her characters in emotional stories with psychological depths.
A Theory of Relativity by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Readers with a preference for observing how families in turmoil deal with shocking situations will appreciate this novel of grieving grandparents locked in an anguished custody battle for the sole surviving daughter of parents lost in a car accident. Also try Mitchard’s The Deep End of the Ocean, Oprah’s first book club selection.
Truth and Consequences by Alison Lurie
University director Jane Mackenzie is dismayed when her injured husband falls for Delia, a beautiful writer who has recently joined the center's staff. The situation is complicated when Jane develops feelings for Delia's husband. Lurie explores what happens when the truth isn't always told, as well as the consequences of our every choice in this engrossing, wonderfully written novel.
While I Was Gone by Sue Miller
Miller’s stories have a more literary quality and delve more deeply into character's emotions. Here, Jo Becker is supremely content with her life, and she doesn't talk about the summer of 1968 when she walked away from another husband, another family and into a completely different identity only to be jerked back to her previous life after the brutal murder of her best friend.
Books by Picoult you shouldn’t miss:
My Sister’s Keeper
Conceived to provide a bone marrow match for her leukemia-stricken sister, teenage Anna begins to question her moral obligations in light of countless medical procedures and decides to fight for the right to make decisions about her own body. The drama unfolds from the points of view of Anna, her parents, the self-absorbed lawyer, the court-appointed guardian ad litem, and Anna’s troubled older brother.
Peter Houghton, an alienated teen who has been bullied for years by the popular crowd, brings weapons to his high school one day and opens fire, killing 10 people. Alex Cormier, the judge assigned to Peter's case, tries to maintain her objectivity as she struggles to understand her daughter, Josie, one of the surviving witnesses of the shooting.
Sing You Home
Ten years of infertility issues culminate in the destruction of music therapist Zoe Baxter's marriage, after which she falls in love with another woman. They want to start a family, but Zoe’s ex, Max, stands in the way. Picoult explores both gay rights and the legal aspects of fertility treatment in this novel, which includes a CD of folk songs she wrote with Ellen Wilber.