This list highlights recent novels that takes place in Wisconsin. To find more Wisconsin fiction in InfoSoup, try the subject search Wisconsin - Fiction or the subject keyword search Wis. and Fiction.
This booklist was contributed by Appleton Public Library Reference and Information Services Staff, 5/07
Back to Madeline Island(2006)Professor Helen Williams isn't sure what to make of the letter from her biological mother--or whether she should accept the invitation to visit--but curiosity wins out. Soon she's careening through the middle of Eve's marvelous, madcap world, and learning the secret to living life to its fullest. Syndetics
Bitter Sweet(1990)The Thorp House, a bed and breakfast in Fish Creek is said to be the inspiration for this best-selling book about high school sweethearts who get a second chance after twenty-three years apart.
Blue Water(2006)"On an ordinary morning in Fox Harbor, Wisconsin, Meg and Rex Van Dorn's lives are irrevocably changed when a drunk driver slams into Meg's car, killing the couple's six-year-old son, Evan. In a town in which everyone knows everybody else, it's no surprise that Meg and the driver, Cindy Ann Kreisler, were once the best of friends. Now, as Meg recovers from her own injuries, she and Rex find themselves unable to cope with their anger and despair, especially after Cindy Ann returns - with a mere slap on the wrist - to the life she lived before the accident: living in a beautiful house, enjoying her own three daughters, all of whom walked away from the accident unharmed." "In their rage and grief, Meg and Rex buy a boat to sail around the world, hoping to put as much distance between themselves and Cindy Ann Kreisler as possible. Adrift in the company of other live-board cruisers, Meg tries to believe that she and Rex have left their bitterness behind. But when she returns to Fox Harbor for her older brother's wedding, she is forced to face the complex ties that bind her to the woman who has wounded her so badly. For, as Meg knows better than anyone, Cindy Ann has secrets and sorrows of her own, dating back to the summer of their friendship."--BOOK JACKET. Syndetics
The Book of Bright Ideas(2006)"Wisconsin, 1961. Evelyn "Button" Peters is nine the summer Winnalee and her fiery-spirited older sister, Freeda, blow into her small town - and from the moment she sees them, Button knows this will be a summer unlike any other." "Much to her mother's dismay, Button is fascinated by the Malone sisters, especially Winnalee, a feisty scrap of a thing who carries around a shiny silver urn containing her mother's ashes and a tome she calls "The Book of Bright Ideas." It is here, Winnalee tells Button, that she records everything she learns: her answers to the mysteries of life. But sometimes those mysteries conceal a truth better left buried. And when a devastating secret is suddenly revealed, dividing loyalties and uprooting lives, no one - from Winnalee and her sister to Button and her family - will ever be the same." BOOK JACKET
The Confetti Kid! : a Novel(1997)Reaching a crossroad in life, psychotherapist Patrick McGarry leaves California for a fresh start at a rural mental hospital nestled in the bluffs of southwestern Wisconsin. Almost immediately, he is confronted with a desperately delusional young man who believes he is The Confetti Kid. Who is he? Where is he from? What is the meaning behind his elaborate costume, his sprinkling of confetti on people? And then, when a fascinating psychic enters the drama, an intriguing dimension emerges.Book Jacket
The Dive from Clausen's Pier(2002)Suffocated by her unexceptional life, Carrie Bell longs for a chance to begin again, and is granted that chance, terribly, when her fiancÚ is injured in an accident. This is a riveting novel about self-knowledge and the conflict between who we want to be to others and who we must be for ourselves.
The Elegant Gathering of White Snows(2002)"Just after midnight in a small town in Wisconsin, eight women begin walking together down a rural highway. Career women, housewives, mothers, divorcees, and one ex-prom queen, they are close friends who have been meeting every Thursday night for years, sharing food, wine, and their deepest secrets. But on this particular Thursday, Susan, Alice, Chris, Sandy, Mary, Joanne, and Janice decide to disappear from their own lives." "Their spontaneous pilgrimage attracts national attention and inspires other women from all across the country. As the miles fall away and the women forge ahead on their backroads odyssey - leaving small miracles in their wake - each of their histories unfolds, tales of shattered dreams and unexpected renewal, of thwarted love affairs and precious second chances."--BOOK JACKET. Syndetics
The Hounds of Winter : a Novel(2005)"David Neisen came seeking reconciliation; what he found was a father's worst nightmare. Arriving on Christmas Eve to spend the holidays with his daughter Maya, he discovers her murdered on the floor of their cabin in the Wisconsin woods. He sees a ski-masked figure lurching through the snowdrifts behind the house and sets out in pursuit - only to transform himself into the prime suspect in his daughter's death." "Struggling to elude his pursuers in the fierce Wisconsin winter, Neisen must deal first with the ghosts of his past - a childhood tragedy that binds him to the small-town sheriff, the friends of his youth who must now choose to shelter or betray him, and the unresolved mysteries about the munitions plant where his father worked during the Korean War. And looming above it all is his growing certainty that his daughter was not who he thought she was."Book Jacket
Lucy Crocker 2.0 : a novel(2000)Nobody could have predicted that Lucy Crocker, former children's librarian and unabashed computer ignoramus, would be the one to save the family's software company. Nevertheless, that's exactly what happens when she unexpectedly brainstorms a fantasy computer game called Maiden's Quest. Suddenly, Lucy's a cyber-guru. But now trouble is brewing in the Crocker family. Lucy is having trouble producing the Maiden's Quest sequel. Then she discovers that her husband is receiving erotic messages from their publicity director, and the kids are ogling smut on the Internet. Lucy decides that it's time to escape the modern world and flee into the wilderness, with unexpected and hilarious results. Preston's wit, insight, and light touch are on full display in this novel about the comic and not so comic effects of technology on life and love. Syndetics
Night Sisters(2008)Nell Grendon never thought about communing with the dead when she was growing up in Little Wolf, Wisconsin; she was more concerned with slumber parties, boys, and the Lordrsquo;s Prayer Ring she won (dishonestly) in a Methodist Bible Bee. But when a chance visit to the eccentric but charming Wocanaga Spiritualist Camp brings the adult Nell face-to-face with the elderly medium Grace Waverly, she cannot resist the temptation to learn more about spirit mediumship.Syndetics
Off Keck Road(2000)In this flawless novella, Mona Simpson turns her powers of observation toward characters who, unlike Ann and Adele August in her bestselling Anywhere but Here, choose to stay rather than go. As a high school student in Green Bay, Bea Maxwell raised money for good causes; later, she became a successful real estate agent and an accomplished knitter. The one thing missing from her life is a romantic relationship. She soon settles comfortably into the role of stylish spinster and do-gooder. Woven into Bea's story are stories of other lifelong residents of Green Bay and the changes time brings to a town and its residents. This pure and simple work once again proves Mona Simpson one of the defining writers of her generation. From the Trade Paperback edition. Syndetics
Orchard : a novel(2003)"Ned Weaver, an internationally acclaimed painter, is famous in Door County, Wisconsin, for his luminous work - and for his affairs with his models. His wife, Harriet, has learned to accept these dalliances in the belief that his immense talent will ultimately make up for his shortcomings as a husband." "Sonja Skordahl, a Norwegian immigrant, came to America looking for a new life. Instead, she married Henry House, only to find herself defined, like so many other mid-twentieth-century women, by her roles as wife and mother. As circumstances and destiny land Sonja in Ned's studio, she becomes more than his model and more than the object of his desire - she becomes the most inspiring muse Ned has ever known. When both Ned and Henry insist on possessing her, their jealousies threaten to erupt into violence, and Sonja must find a way to placate both men without sacrificing her hard-won sense of self."--BOOK JACKET. Syndetics
The Short History of a Prince : a Novel(1998)Walter McCloud is a boy with dreams unlike most. Introduced as a child to the genius of Balanchine and the lyricism of Tchaikovsky, Walter has always aspired to be a dancer. As he grows older, it becomes clear that despite his desire, he lacks the talent, and he faces the painful knowledge that his more gifted friends have already surpassed him. Soon, however, that pain is overshadowed when his older brother, Daniel, finds a strange lump on his neck and Walter realizes that a happy family can change overnight. The year that follows transforms the McClouds, as they try to hold together in the face of the fearful consequences of Daniel's illness, and Walter makes discoveries about himself and his friendships that will change him forever. Decades later, after Walter has left home and returned, he must come to terms with the memories of that year, and grapple once and for all with the challenge of carving out a place for himself in this all-too-familiar world. A moving story of the torments of sexuality and the redemptive power of family and friendship, The Short History of a Prince confirms Jane Hamilton's place as a preeminent novelist of our time. Syndetics
Sister(1996)In her remarkable second novel, the author of Vinegar Hill tells the story of Abigail Schiller, a girl raised in a rural Catholic community in Wisconsin. Abby's younger brother, unable to survive his father's abuse, succumbs to drugs and violence and leaves town. Haunted by memories of him and unable to find her place in the church or within her family, Abby soon flees, too, with hopes of solving the mystery of her brother's disappearance. Syndetics
Sister North(2003)"Sam was an indifferent Chicago lawyer, content to drift through life on his good looks and his wife's money, until a violent incident shatters his world. Newly addicted to watching Sister North, a nun with a popular TV show, Sam embarks on a trip to Lake Eagleton, Wisconsin, to see the wise nun personally, seeking forgiveness and spiritual guidance." "When he arrives, he discovers that he has been watching reruns - Sister North has vanished, and all sorts of rumors abound. As he waits, wondering if the elusive nun will ever return, he unexpectedly falls in love with Meg, a reclusive waitress at the local restaurant. This was not the answer that he was searching for, yet, for the first time in his life, his feelings are genuine."--BOOK JACKET.
Star Lake Saloon and Housekeeping Cottages : a novel(2005)Hannah Swann unexpectedly inherits her uncle's rundown Wisconsin northwoods resort. Rather than sell the property to an international mining company, Hannah, takes up management of the resort and finds herself in the middle of a dangerous dispute over the property.
The Turtle Warrior(2004)"Mary Relindes Ellis's novel is the story of two brothers, their parents, and their neighbors, who farm in the gloriously beautiful, isolated country of northern Wisconsin, inhabited by working-class European immigrants and the Ojibwe." "By 1967, the Lucas farm has fallen into disrepair, thanks to the hard-drinking of John Lucas, who brutalizes his wife and two sons, James and Bill. The elder brother, James, escapes by enlisting in the Marines and fighting in Vietnam, a conflict he does not survive. Young Bill is left to protect his mother, with only his own will and the spirit of his dead brother to guide him. The warrior of the title, Bill fashions a shield from a giant turtle shell that he believes keeps him from harm. And, as he faces manhood, he longs to create a family very different from his father's - a family that must include not only his damaged mother, but the elderly couple who offered him safe haven in his bleakest days."Book Jacket.
Vinegar Hill(1994)In a stark, troubling, yet ultimately triumphant celebration of self-determination, award-winning author A. Manette Ansay re-creates a stifling world of guilt and pain, and the tormented souls who inhabit it. It is 1972 when circumstance carries Ellen Grier and her family back to Holly's Field, Wisconsin. Dutifully accompanying her newly unemployed husband, Ellen has brought her two children into the home of her in-laws on Vinegar Hill -- a loveless house suffused with the settling dust of bitterness and routine -- where calculated cruelty is a way of life preserved and perpetuated in the service of a rigid, exacting and angry God. Behind a facade of false piety, there are sins and secrets in this place that could crush a vibrant yhoung woman's passionate spirit. And here Ellen must find the strength to endure, change, and grow in the all-pervading darkness that threatens to destroy everything she is and everyone she loves. Syndetics