What are the best new books this month? (May 2023)

best new books may 2023
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What are the best new books for May 2023 – and what’s actually worth reading this month? Grab your cup of tea and get comfy, you’re in the right place.

Featuring the best new thrillers, romance books, historical fiction and more, these are the books I’m reading and recommending this month.

For my top book of the month (and previous selections), make sure to also check out my Tolstoy Therapy Book Club choice. Happy reading!

The best new books to read in May 2023

Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

Read Clytemnestra for… one of a couple of new retellings of Greek myth published this month. It’s a book brimming with power, fury, love, and vengeful strength. (Published May 2)

If you loved Circe by Madeline Miller, this month offers some perfect new books for you. My top choice is Clytemnestra, a stunning debut about the most notorious villainess of the ancient world and the events that forged her into the legendary queen.

Costanza Casati has a fascinating background: she was born in Texas in 1995, grew up in a village in Northern Italy, and lived in the UK for five years. Before moving to London, she attended a classical Liceo in Italy, where she studied Ancient Greek and its literature for five years.

How to Read a Tree by Tristan Gooley

Read How to Read a Tree for… Tristan Gooley’s new guide to reading the signs of the natural world, opening our eyes to the secret language of trees and the wonders they reveal all around us. (Published May 2)

I love Tristan Gooley’s books, especially as relaxing reading before bed, so I was quick to preorder this new release. How to Read a Tree focuses on the marvelous monuments that tell us about the land, the water, the people, the animals, the weather, and time, if only we’d listen: trees.

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

Read The Covenant of Water for… Abraham Verghese’s long-awaited new novel, published fourteen years after Cutting for Stone, one of my all-time favourite books. (Published May 6)

This is an epic multi-generational saga of love, faith, and medicine, set against the historical progress of India from 1900 through to the 1970s.

There’s a lot of trauma in the book, which isn’t always easy to read, but it’s a stunningly ambitious book by a clearly talented writer. Overall, I loved it. You can read my thoughts on Goodreads here.

The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Bramer

Read The Collected Regrets of Clover for… a heartwarming and life-affirming debut for readers of The Midnight Library, about a death doula who, in caring for others at the end of their life, has forgotten how to celebrate her own. (Published May 9)

What if death can be a reason to celebrate life? This ultimately hopeful book turns the normally taboo subject of death into a reason to celebrate life.

After her beloved grandfather dies alone while she is traveling, Clover Brooks becomes a death doula in New York City, dedicating her life to guiding people through their end-of-life journey with peace and dignity.

However, while spending so much time with the dying, Clover realises that she has ignored her own life. That is, until the final wishes of a feisty old woman send her on a trip across the country to uncover a forgotten love story – and perhaps, her own happy ending.

Atalanta by Jennifer Saint

Read Atalanta for… a new mythological retelling by the author of Ariadne, here reimagining the ancient myth of Atalanta with dreamy prose. (Published May 9)

When Princess Atalanta is born, a daughter rather than the son her parents hoped for, she is left on a mountainside to die.

But she grew up to be a fierce huntress, raised by bears and the only woman in the world’s most famous band of heroes, the Argonauts. This is Jennifer Saint’s captivating retelling of a woman who refuses to be contained.

The Senator’s Wife by Liv Constantine

Read The Senator’s Wife for… a seductive novel full of psychological suspense that upends the private lives of those who walk the halls of power. (Published May 23)

In this gripping new thriller for 2023, a privileged D.C. philanthropist suspects that her seemingly perfect employee is secretly plotting to steal her senator husband, her reputation—even her life.

Love thrillers? Here are more of the best thrillers to read in 2023 that will keep you hooked.

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Read The Wishing Game for… a gorgeous love better to reading, the power of childhood stories, and the wonder of human connection. (Published May 30)

In this whimsical and hopeful novel, Lucy Hart survived a lonely and neglectful childhood by finding solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson.

Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, Lucy is able to share her love of reading with her students, especially seven-year-old Christopher Lamb, who was left orphaned after the tragic death of his parents. Lucy would give anything to adopt Christopher, but without proper funds and stability, this seems impossible.

But when Jack Masterson announces he’s finally written a new book – and Lucy is one of the four lucky contestants chosen to compete to win the one and only copy – it seems like her life might be about to change.

For more of the best books to read this month, you might also like my collections of the best new romance books, the best books if you don’t know what to read, and the best new historical fiction books.


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