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Just the other day, Joanna and the children had come upon her on the landing of the grand staircase at Brynmor.

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She seemed frozen there, staring into the distance as she grasped the banister. She flinched when she finally saw them. Joanna tells herself that she never expected everything to go smoothly. After all, it was her father-in-law who knew how to make the solidly middle-class Joanna feel comfortable in the privileged world she married into, and Susannah was always something of a cipher. Joanna even expected the frustration of not being in charge of her own household, as well as the unfamiliar awkwardness of dealing with servants.

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Nancy Famolari's Author Spotlight: Family Secrets Shadow the Lives of Three Generations of Women

Brynmor is full of secrets — secrets Susannah and her mother, Helen, clearly know. These mysteries are never spoken about but not quite hidden. Ephraim, New York, are a large and fortunate clan, blessed with good looks, abundant charisma, and boundless promise.

But over the twenty-five year span of this ambitious novel, the Mulvaneys will slide, almost imperceptibly at first, from the pinnacle of happiness, transformed by the vagaries of fate into a scattered collection of lost and lonely souls. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.

When he grows up, Stephen goes to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, and stays on to avoid the draft and Vietnam. He marries an Englishwoman, and they experience many of the things the baby boomer generation went through. Later the torch is passed to their children. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal. As he travels a route that takes him from India to Spain, he leaves behind a tale of mad passions and volcanic family hatreds, of titanic matriarchs and their mesmerized offspring, of premature deaths and curses that strike beyond the grave.

Bone by Fae Myenne Ng. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world.

Named for a Russian writer by his Indian parents in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd, antic name. Devastated, Sidda begs forgiveness, and postpones her upcoming wedding. United in shared loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. With wit and wisdom, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.

In Babylon by Marcel Moring.

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport. This non-fiction book chronicles the lives of the mysterious Romanov family. From the inbreeding of the royals that made for sickly male heirs to the untimely deaths of the Romanov family, this book paints a picture of the last days of the Tsarist Russia. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. A grand narrative hat chronicles the lives of two sisters from a wealthy Ontario family.

The Blind Assassin is part historical fiction, fantasy, and mystery. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Tells the story of a delightfully eccentric family through the lens of a quirky year-old aspiring writer named Cassandra. A must read!

Learn how secrets create anxiety, power struggles, and trust issues in families.

An epic generational family saga set in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia Canada that follows generations of family members and unearths secrets that will make any reader uncomfortable. Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry.

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Set in Mumbai, the book opens with and accident that leaves Nariman Vakeel at the mercy of his children and stepchildren who must care for him. This might be one of the most epic of family sagas. The novel tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18 th century African who is captured and sold into slavery. It later follows his life and his descendants all the way down to the the author, Alex Haley.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. White Teeth by Zadie Smith. This entire series chronicles generations of royal families as they battle it out for the Iron Throne. This is a fantasy series full of magic, dragons, and plot twists. Each new book provides new revelations about the characters and secret family ties that drive the plot forward. Chesapeake by James A.

Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson. A moving, often comic portrait of wise child Ann August and her mother, Adele, a larger-than-life American dreamer, the novel follows the two women as they travel through the landscape of their often conflicting ambitions. A brilliant exploration of the perennial urge to keep moving, even at the risk of profound disorientation, Anywhere But Here is a story about the things we do for love, and a powerful study of familial bonds.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. You might know this book from the beautiful and heartbreaking movie. Eillis Lacey travels to America in search of work, leaving her family and everything she knows behind. The Good Earth by Pearl S. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family.

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Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city … When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

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The work is split into three parts, with the first describing his family, personal history, and the customs and society of the Igbo, and the second and third sections introducing the influence of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on the Igbo community. Anne of Green Gables by L. This brooding mansion is haunted by a centuries-old curse that casts the shadow of ancestral sin upon the last four members of the distinctive Pyncheon family of Salem.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Three Generations of Women

Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior; and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past. Angel of Repose by Wallace Stegner. What emerges is an enthralling portrait of four generations in the life of an American family. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It created a national furor comparable only to the excitement stirred by the publication, in , of Crime and Punishment.

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To Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov captured the quintessence of Russian character in all its exaltation, compassion, and profligacy. Looking back on the hardships of his early life, where difficult days are faced with courage but the valleys swell with the sound of Welsh voices, it becomes clear that there is nowhere so green as the landscape of his own memory.