Nix the Netflix and start plowing through that stack of soft and hardcovers collecting dust on your nightstand—it’s time to make room for the spate of great new books coming your way in 2023. We reached out to one of our favorite East End book shops, Finley Shaw’s well-curated Finley’s Fiction in Shelter Island, for her read on what’s exciting in books for the coming year.
Finley’s Fiction opened in Shelter Island during the summer of 2018 in a small, sunny annex to the Chequit Inn. A few months into the pandemic, Shaw moved to a slightly larger, more visible space down the road on the corner of Grand Avenue and Bridge Street in April 2020, and has been the island’s page-turner shop for new fiction and non-fiction ever since.
Although Shaw re-opens for the season in the spring (Friday, April 7, to be exact), you can still hit up her website to browse, buy and pre-order online. Meanwhile, she’s using the store’s 3-month hiatus to ready the shop with stacks of new and exciting stories. What follows are her most looked-forward-to tomes for the New Year.
The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict (Sourcebooks Landmark, January 17)
“Marie Benedict is one of my favorite historical fiction authors,” says Shaw. “Her book The Personal Librarian was one of Finley’s Fiction’s bestsellers last summer.” Benedict’s latest book follows the famous Mitford sisters, a dangerous dalliance with fascism during World War II by certain members of the family and how far the bonds of sisterhood will stretch when differences arise and allegiances and love are put to the test.
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson (Pamela Dorman Books, March 7)
In her smart debut novel, Jackson playfully pokes at and examines the lines between the haves and have-nots, the jealousy and insecurity of questioned choices and the places inhabited (like it or not) within a family unit in this book about three women in an old Brooklyn Heights clan.
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano (The Dial Press, March 14)
“The author of Dear Edward returns with another hopeful, perceptive story about family and friendship,” says Shaw. In this novel, the fine line and fissures that grow between love and grief create a backdrop of complexity between the protagonists in Ann Napolitano’s latest novel—a lonely, isolated, broken young man and a vibrant, open, loving young woman who must face the inevitable breaking point between his painful past and their potential future.
A Fever in the Heartland by Timothy Egan (Viking, April 4)
Says Shaw: “My non-fiction pick for 2023!” Here, Egan follows the story of the Klu Klux Klan’s rise to power in 1920s, led by a charismatic con man named D.C. Stephenson. Expertly researched and rivetingly written, it’s a cautionary tale of the dark corners of hatred in America with the hopeful coda that even the seemingly least powerful of us can still fight against evil.
The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth (St. Martin’s Press, April 4)
You’ll be riveted by Hepworth’s psychological, suspenseful story about marriage, secrets and betrayal. “I loved Hepworth’s previous thrillers, including The Good Sister and The Family Next Door,” says Shaw. The Soulmate promises to be just as gripping, especially if a mind-bending thriller is what you’re jonesing to read next.
The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane (Scribner, May 2)
“Keane wrote Ask Again, Yes, one of Finley’s Fiction’s bestsellers,” says Shaw. “The Half Moon explores marriage, family, longing and desire.” Indeed, this well-woven tale of the difference between going after what we want and accepting what we get is a relatable gut-punch exploring marriage, ambition, family and what’s enough in the end.
Same Time Next Summer by Anabel Monaghan (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, June 6)
“Monaghan’s book last summer, Nora Goes Off Script, was my favorite book in 2022. I can’t wait for her book that comes out in June,” says Shaw. Poised to be the most-favored beach read romance of 2023, Monaghan knows how to fully sketch out relatable, sympathetic female leads. You can’t help but root for 30-year-old Sam to follow her heart (wherever it leads her)—to the future and marriage she’s planned with her dependable, solid fiancé, or back into the arms of the boy from her hometown who broke her heart at 17.
The Spectacular by Fiona Davis (Dutton, June 13)
“Another historical fiction author I adore,” says Shaw. “Fiona Davis writes novels that take place in New York City. Her latest book is centered around Radio City Music Hall in the 1950s and a talented Rockette” who helps to solve a crime plaguing the city.
Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday, July 18)
“The sequel to Harlem Shuffle—it’s a dark, funny story about Harlem in the 1970s,” says Shaw. Indeed, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Whitehead takes on a rollicking tour through the rough and tumble era that was the ’70s as seen through the can’t-get-it-right life of the book’s protagonist, Ray Carney, the things he’ll do for his family and life in New York’s Harlem when the city seemed to be constantly under siege.