“The Gravity of Birds,” by Tracy Guzeman (Simon & Schuster, $25, Aug. 6)
The captivating prose of Tracy Guzeman’s first novel instantly pulls you into the lives of the Kessler sisters, Alice and Natalie, and their intertwined love story with Thomas Bayber, an attractive young artist. Forty years later, as Bayber lies dying, he sends two trusted, but disparate, colleagues to find a missing painting that the Kessler sisters possess. Clandestine love affairs, painterly clues and a world of untruths come seamlessly together in this exceptional debut.
“The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell,” by William Klaber (Greenleaf, $24.95, June 18)
An engaging “fictional memoir” which diligently reconstructs the life of Lucy Ann Lobdell, a 19th-century woman who donned men’s clothing, initially in order to make a living but then continued to do so in order to follow her heart. Lobdell traveled the country as her alter ego Joseph Lobdell and taught dance classes, worked in hotels, guarded frontier property in Minnesota and ultimately married the love of her life, Marie Perry.
“Together Tea,” by Marjan Kamali (Ecco, $14.99)
“Together Tea” is a sweet treat of a novel that explores the unyielding ties between mothers and daughters. Eighteen years after fleeing revolutionary Iran, the Rezayi family still clings to their Persian traditions, especially when it comes to their youngest daughter, Mina. She wants to be an artist but her mother, Darya, wants Mina to finish her business degree and marry the perfect Persian man. Kamali’s characters delicately make their way through clashing cultures and come out the other side with a very happy ending for all.
“& Sons,” by David Gilbert (Random House, $27, July 23)
For readers looking for a meaty summer read, David Gilbert’s second novel is as rich as it is dense. The Dyer patriarch, A.N. Dyer, is a literary legend, but as he faces death he calls home his two older estranged sons in order to exact a promise that is ultimately decided beyond any of their capabilities. Enmeshed within the family and the narrative is Philip Topping, who is both intimately privy to the complicated workings of the Dyer clan and simultaneously shunned by the family.
“No One Could Have Guessed the Weather,” by Anne-Marie Casey (Amy Einhorn Books, $25.95, June 13)
The women in this book are tired. They’ve got jobs, young children, husbands, lovers, homes to run, bodies to maintain, and all of them are circling 40 (which is definitely not the new 20), but they take what New York City offers them from glowing rewards to life’s consolation prizes. Casey’s convivial prose will have girlfriends enthusiastically passing this book between each other (and not just in the carpool lane).
“The Mouse-Proof Kitchen,” by Saira Shah (Emily Bestler Books, $25, July 2)
Anna and her husband, Tobias, move to France with their severely disabled newborn, Freya, where it’s much easier for Anna to focus on how their farmhouse is falling down instead of the fact that their baby may not survive her first year of life. As Anna keeps the wildlife at bay and Tobias retreats into his own hardened shell, it takes a crisis — or three — for them to realize that family is forever.