Amazon's best books of March: Today's releases

Erin Kodicek on March 10, 2020
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This week's releases include the epic conclusion to Hilary Mantel's much ballyhooed Wolf Hall trilogy; a disturbing but thought-provoking debut; a novel that takes a timely look at the race and class divide; and an unusual love story. 

Learn more about these and all of our picks for the Best Books of the Month.


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The Mirror & the Light (Wolf Hall Trilogy) by Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel has captivated readers and critics alike with her rich historical novels about the schemer, dreamer, henchman, and political mastermind Thomas Cromwell. The first Cromwell book, Wolf Hall, won the Man Booker Prize, as did the follow-up, Bring Up the Bodies. Now with the final book, The Mirror & the Light, we meet Cromwell at the height of his power. The novel opens with the decapitation of Anne Boleyn as Henry VIII settles in with his new bride, Jane Seymour, but rebellion lurks in the shadows both home and abroad. Mantel brilliantly and deviously unfurls the vision that spurs Cromwell to assert his power and the eventual ruin that it brings him. Like the books before, The Mirror & the Light is breathtaking and immersive, rich in detail and wide-ranging in characters, and brings the genre to dizzying new heights. A stunning ending to an award-winning series by one of the most talented writers working today. —Al Woodworth


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My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa is an exploration of the repercussions of a March/December relationship between a teacher and his student. Vanessa is contacted by a woman who is about to go public with a story of sexual abuse at the hands of an English teacher, Jacob Strane, when she was a high school student. She has heard some stories about Vanessa and Strane, and wants to know if Vanessa has a story similar to her own. And Vanessa does indeed have a story about Strane, but in her mind the story is about her first love and their all-consuming passion. And it’s the story of how that passion has reverberated through the years since, arresting Vanessa at the point in her life when Strane assured her she was the love of his. Can a teacher have had two teenage loves of his life? Or does Vanessa need to acknowledge that there’s another name for the role Strane plays in her memory? Masterfully switching between present-day and past, Vanessa starts to look at their relationship through the lens of the #MeToo moment, raising uncomfortable questions about consent, agency, abuse, manipulation and memory in this provocative and riveting novel. —Vannessa Cronin


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A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

Valerie Alston-Holt, a widow, is living with her biracial son Xavier in a modest house in the idyllic North Carolina suburb of Oak Knoll, where she spends most of her free time gardening. Then the Whitmans move in, with their new money, McMansion, and in-ground pool. Alston-Holt and patriarch Brad Whitman clash immediately, but Xavier and the Whitman’s daughter Juniper secretly fall in love. The adults are distracted: Alston-Holt is focused on the harm that the Whitman’s property has caused to her beloved oak tree, and plans civically responsible revenge, which ignites the temper of Brad Whitman. It’s hard not to cheer on Xavier, a precocious classical guitarist with a bright future who loves his mother and speaks respectfully to their fellow neighbors at book club night. And although Juniper hails from the offending family, she’s earnest and hard-working, a distance runner who has taken a vow of chastity. While the idea of star-crossed lovers may not be new, this poetically written look at race, violence, and class is both somber and refreshing. Fowler employs the third person omniscient narrator, creating the feeling of a Greek chorus in an ancient tragedy. —Sarah Gelman


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In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

In Five Years is a love story, just not the one you think. After years of hard work and planning, Type A Dannie Cohan finally has it all: she’s aced a job interview at her dream law firm and her boyfriend just proposed to her. She goes to sleep that night and has an extremely vivid (wink, wink) dream set five years in the future involving a strange man she appears to be married to. When she wakes up, she can’t shake the dream, and is further disturbed when she meets her best friend’s new boyfriend, only to discover he’s the mystery man from the dream. Dannie spends the next five years in a bit of a race against the clock, trying to get away from this dream scenario she fears is her destiny. While this may sound like the set up for a romantic comedy, it’s anything but. What readers will find is a thoughtful, poignant and yes, sometimes heartbreaking look at destiny, friendship, and our purpose on this planet. This is a book you’ll want to read in one sitting. Then you will want to immediately share it with a friend. —Sarah Gelman


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