“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, lies in its loyalty to each other.” – The Godfather.
If you are fans of Mario Puzo’s and Francis Ford Coppola’s work and want to explore ‘family’ as a genre- whether it’s to do with sibling grievances or parental problems or family secrets, check out these books to keep you turning the pages.
We combed through this year’s new family drama novels to assist you in taking your reading to the next level. By the way, if you haven’t read our list of must-read books in your lifetime, you should.
The Arsonists’ City by Hala Alyan
Hala Alyan is the author of the novel Salt Houses, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her book ‘The Arsonists’ City’ is a rich family saga, a firsthand look at the Middle East’s war legacy, and an evocative depiction of how we cling to the people and places we call home. Beirut, Brooklyn, Austin, and the California desert are all home to the Nasr family. Three American children, a Syrian mother, and a Lebanese father have all shared a life of migration. That said, they’ve always had their ancestral house in Beirut as a constant reference point, as well as the complicated, messy family love that links them.
Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Sutanto
Dial A for Aunties is a rom-com along with being a murder mystery. When Meddelin Chan kills her blind date by mistake, her meddling mother enlists the help of her even more prying aunts to dispose of the body. Unfortunately, disposing of a dead body proves to be far more difficult than one might expect- especially when it’s shipped in a cake cooler to the extravagant billionaire wedding Meddy, her mother, and aunts are planning on an island resort off the coast of California.
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
Elena and Mauro meet as teenagers, and their blossoming love serves as an antidote to the increasing violence of life in Bogotá. Faced with bleak economic prospects after the birth of their first daughter, they decide to relocate to the United States. They go to Houston and send back money to Elena’s mother, all the while debating whether or not to risk overstaying their tourist visas by returning to Bogotá. As their family grows and they move more frequently, their decision to disregard their exit dates places the young family in the hazardous position of being illegal. When Mauro is deported, Elena, who is now responsible for their three young children, must make a difficult decision that will relieve her duties but further fracture the family.
It’s a novel about a Colombian family torn apart by deportation, providing an intimate look into an experience that so many people have gone through—and are going through right now.
Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian
Neil Narayan is a hilarious and brilliant second-generation youngster who grew up in the Bush-era Atlanta suburbs. He simply lacks the same drive as the rest of the group. His ideal older sister is attending Duke University. His parents had big expectations for him as well. Neil tries to seek this notion of success, but he simply wants to be friends with his neighbour across the cul-de-sac, Anita Dayal. Anita, on the other hand, has a secret: she and her mother, Anjali, have been concocting an ancient alchemical concoction of stolen gold that harnesses the jewelry’s original owner’s ambition. Anita only requires a small boost in the form of a potion to gain admission to Harvard. When Neil enters the plot—who requires a lot more—events spiral into a tragedy that tears their town apart.
Sathian portrays what it’s like to grow up as a member of a family, of a diaspora, and of the American meritocracy in a razor-cutting and an immensely amusing coming-of-age novel that spans two continents, two coasts, and four epochs.
Lives Without End by Anne M. McLoughlin (The Lives Trilogy- Book 2)
Lives Without End is a poignant story about three generations of family secrets.
Mary Ann survives the 1840s Irish Potato Famine and goes on to become the McNamara family matriarch. When they need refuge, understanding, or a dose of wisdom, they all gravitate to this solid rock of a woman. What they don’t realize is that Mary Ann has been hiding a pain of her own for years. Bridie, her gorgeous but emotionally fragile granddaughter, overcomes a life of hard knocks with hope and courage. She immigrates from Ireland and establishes a new life in Boston. She is forced to make a heartbreaking decision after an affair that would shake society if it were found. In her pursuit for tranquility and the purpose of life, she comes to Ireland with her arsenal of secrets.
Here is the link to the first book- Lives Apart (The Lives Trilogy)
The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson
The Kindest Lie highlights the tragic gulf between Black and white communities and provides an uncompromising look at parenting in modern America as well as the never-ending pursuit for the American Dream. The Washington Post called the book a layered, complex exploration of race and class.
Ruth Tuttle, a Black engineer with an Ivy League education, is married to a loving and successful guy in Chicago. Ruth is unsure about his desire to start a family. She has never recovered from the baby she gave birth to as a teenager and was forced to abandon. Ruth had promised her family that she would never look back, but she now realizes that in order to move on, she must accept the past. When Ruth returns home, she discovers that the Indiana factory town where she grew up is beset by unemployment, prejudice, and despair. As she begins her investigation into the past, she meets Midnight, a young white kid who is likewise lost and seeking connection. A horrific occurrence stretches the town’s already racial tensions, setting Ruth and Midnight on a collision course that could destabilize both of their lives just as Ruth is about to unearth a blazing secret her family urgently wants to keep hidden.
Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman
Kevin Gogarty has no choice but to employ a caregiver to keep a watch on his uncontrollable eighty-three-year-old mother, Millie. Kevin, who was just laid off, is already at his wits’ end trying to keep up with a full house while his wife is away on business, leaving him alone with his sulky, misbehaving teenager daughter, Aideen.
Three generations of a rowdy Irish family’s simmering tensions boil over when an American home assistant enters the picture, becoming the cataclysmic force that will either wreck or remake this family.
Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer by Jamie Figueroa
In the aftermath of their mother’s death, two brothers spend a farewell weekend together in their childhood home in the tourist resort of Ciudad de Tres Hermanas. Rufina devises a gamble after seeing her brother, Rafa, going into a point of no return. Rafa must commit to live if they can generate enough money playing for rich tourists in the square over the weekend to pay for a plane ticket abroad. If not, Rufina will accept Rafa’s own future plan, no matter how terrible it may be.