The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West; narrated by Reba Buhr
Tantor Media, Inc.
Released: February 16, 2021
San Solano, Texas is a quaint little town with a sordid and violent history. That violent history is its greatest appeal. Decades ago twelve men were murdered as they took Holy Communion, and town residents are sure the minister’s daughter, Malachi, was responsible. Fast forward to present day San Solano, and as the anniversary of the massacre approaches, fear grows that another 12 men will meet their gory demise. Nat has assiduously avoided both the hoopla surrounding the anniversary and the Wardens, a cult of women famously connected to the slaughter, in service to a promise she made to her grandmother. That is a promise sorely tested when her father and the boy she falls in love with are marked for death.
West’s writing–complete with Southern “bless your heart” aphorisms–is pitch perfect and beautifully rich. Buhr’s interpretation of characters enhances an already great story. This is a super creepy story, with strong girl power themes.
Equally atmospheric read-alikes are White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson, We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu, and Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Berube.
– Jodi Kruse
Other Nominated Titles
- Continuum: Pocket Change Collective by Chella Man; narrated by Chella Man (June 1, 2021)
- The Lucky List by Rachael Lippincott; narrated by Rebekkah Ross (June 1, 2021)
- As Good as Dead: The Finale to a Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Book 3) by Holly Jackson; narrated by Bailey Carr, Kristen DiMercurio, Robert Fass, Lauren Fortgang, Johnny Heller, Barrett Leddy, Shezi Sardar, Vassilea Terzaki and Megan Tusing (September 28, 2021)
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.