Author Spotlight: J. Courtney Sullivan

Every year I read dozens of debut novels by writers coming into their own and making their mark. I also happily devour the newest offerings from the established authors I follow. However, it is an infrequent and exciting occurrence when I read a new novel written by an author who has an entire backlist of books I have yet to explore! This happened recently with one of my new (to me) favorite writers: J. Courtney Sullivan.

Sullivan’s new book, Saints for All Occasions, seemed like a perfect fit for me: big, Irish-Catholic family, secrets, sisters, and heartbreak. I started reading and by page 15 I was wondering how I had been missing out on this wonderful writer for the past 8 years! After devouring the next 350 pages, I checked out two of Sullivan’s earlier novels: Maine (my absolute favorite) and Commencement (her fantastic debut). I’m saving The Engagements for a rainy day.


Don’t miss out on this author! Come to OWL and check out any (or all) of her 4 books today.

You’re welcome. 😉

A Happy Marriage by Rafael Yglesias


A Happy Marriage is the story of Enrique Sabas and his wife Margaret, alternating between the first three weeks of their acquaintance and the bittersweet final weeks of Margaret’s life as she says goodbye to her family, friends, and children. Laced throughout with intimate recollections of moments of crises and joy from the middle years of their relationship, the novel charts the ebb and flow of marriage, illuminating the mysteries and magic of marital love. Neither sentimental nor cynical, and written with an intense devotion to character and emotional suspense, A Happy Marriage reveals a partnership that brings maturity and great pleasure to the lives of two people. Bold, elegiac, and stunningly vivid, A Happy Marriage will break every reader’s heart–and perhaps infuse some marriages with greater love.*

*Lovely synopsis taken from the publisher. I could not have written it better.

For more novels exploring marriage, check these out:

Life Drawing by Robin Black

The Violet Hour by Katherine Hill

The Odds by Stewart O’Nan

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg


“Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is the now-classic novel of two women in the 1980s; of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women–of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth–who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present–for Evelyn and for us–will never be quite the same again…” (This fabulous and thorough synopsis was taken from the publisher.)

I love this book. It’s set in the South. It’s domestic fiction. And it’s about friendship & family. Three of my favorite criteria for a novel–and one of many reasons I’m convinced I was Southern in a past life.

For more novels featuring sassy Southern belles, check these out:


Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews

Sullivan’s Island by Dorothea Benton Frank

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells


This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper


Judd Foxman’s father is dead; and his final request was that his family spend the seven days following his funeral living together in the same house…as a family, albeit a highly dysfunctional one.  A poignantly told story of family, love, divorce, and the ties that bind. If you enjoy the book be sure to check out the film with Jason Bateman and Tina Fey.

For more domestic fiction written by dudes, add these to your TBR pile:

Summerlong by Dan Bakopoulos

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Buter

Little Children by Tom Perrotta