USA Today’s Jocelyn McClurg previews 10 of the hottest books of early 2018:
1. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (St. Martin’s Press, fiction, on sale Jan. 9)
- What it’s about: In this twisty psychological thriller, a woman dumped by her rich husband is determined to prevent his remarriage to her “replacement.”
- Why it’s hot: Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, which brought The Girl on the Train to the big screen, has picked up film rights for The Wife Between Us.
2. Brave by Rose McGowan (HarperOne, non-fiction, on sale Jan. 30)
- What it’s about: The actress (Charmed) writes a memoir that, according to her publisher, will “expose the truth about the entertainment industry … (and) shine a light on a multibillion-dollar business built on systemic misogyny.”
- Why it’s hot: McGowan, one of the original whistleblowers in the Hollywood sexual misconduct scandal, has continued to make headlines for controversial comments on Twitter. (She has accused disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape, which he denies.)
3. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s Press, fiction, on sale Feb. 6)
- What it’s about: After a volatile former POW makes the decision to move his family to Alaska to “live off the land,” his 13-year-old daughter and wife struggle to survive.
- Why it’s hot: This is the follow-up to Hannah’s blockbuster 2015 novel The Nightingale, about two sisters in Nazi-occupied France, which has spent 133 weeks on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list.
4. Feel Free by Zadie Smith (Penguin Press, non-fiction, on sale Feb. 6)
- What it’s about: Essays on pop culture, literature, Facebook, global warming and other trending topics, by the acclaimed author of Swing Time and White Teeth.
- Why it’s hot: Smith belongs to an exclusive writers’ club: novelists also known for their essays. “Smith’s observations are timeless,” says Kirkus Reviews.
5. White Houses by Amy Bloom (Random House, fiction, on sale Feb. 13)
- What it’s about: Using thousands of letters as reference, Bloom re-creates the love story between first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena “Hick” Hickok.
- Why it’s hot: The best-selling author (Lucky Us) wades for the first time into an increasingly popular genre, historical fiction about women’s lives.
6. Unmasked by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Harper, non-fiction, on sale March 6)
- What it’s about: The British composer, who will turn 70 on March 22, tells the story of his life and storied career, which includes the musicals Sunset Boulevard, School of Rock, Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, all of which were on Broadway in 2017.
- Why it’s hot: The memoir arrives as NBC gears up for an Easter Sunday (April 1) live broadcast of the ’70s Webber-Tim Rice rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar starring John Legend.
7. Varina by Charles Frazier (Ecco, fiction, on sale April 3)
- What it’s about: Tells the little-known story of Varina Howell Davis, married to much older widower Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, and her escape with her children from Richmond with bounties on their heads.
- Why it’s hot: For his fourth novel, Frazier returns to the Civil War era for the first time since his National Book Award-winning 1997 debut, Cold Mountain — and at a time when monuments to Confederate “heroes” (including Jefferson Davis) are being removed across the country
8. Meghan: A Hollywood Princess by Andrew Morton (Grand Central, non-fiction, on sale April 24)
- What it’s about: In advance of their May 19 wedding at Windsor, everything you want to know about Prince Harry’s American actress-fiancée Meghan Markle, who has been dazzling royal watchers on both sides of the pond.
- Why it’s hot: Morton, the British journalist forever linked to Harry’s mother for his shocking 1992 tell-all Diana: Her True Story, now writes a bio of Harry’s bride-to-be, whom Morton calls a “charismatic addition to the royal family.”
9. A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey (Flatiron, non-fiction, on sale May 1)
- What it’s about: The former FBI director, famously fired by President Trump in May, writes a book about leadership based on his own experiences and observations in government.
- Why it’s hot: According to the publisher, Comey’s book will examine what “good, ethical leadership looks like and how it drives sound decisions.” The burning question: What will he say about Trump?
10. Love and Ruin by Paula McLain (Ballantine, fiction, on sale May 1)
- What it’s about: Historical fiction about Martha Gellhorn, the correspondent who would meet and fall in love with novelist Ernest Hemingway during the Spanish Civil War and become his third wife.
- Why it’s hot: McLain returns to a favorite topic: Hemingway and his wives. She had a best seller and book-club fave with her 2011 novel The Paris Wife, about first wife Hadley and his betrayal with Pauline Pfeiffer, wife No. 2.