R5 Cortlandt Manor Novelist Darcie Chan’s Top Five Self-Published Books


The “wildest dream” fantasies of Cortlandt Manor’s Darcie Chan came true when her self-published debut novel, The Mill River Recluse, became a word-of-mouth e-book sensation. With more than 630,000 copies sold, not only did it appear on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, it led to a deal with Ballantine Books to publish her next two books. Looking to sample the growing self-publishing trend? Chan recommends these titles.

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1) Hemingway Point (Nora Carroll; available in e-book format)
Chan calls the prose in this novel “exquisite…as if the author painted the words on each page.” The story, which revolves around hidden family secrets and a long-lost, forbidden romance, is equally beautiful, she says.
2) Love at Absolute Zero (Christopher Meeks; available in paperback and e-book formats)
Meeks dubs his work “humorous literary fiction,” a descriptor Chan agrees is spot-on. In this novel, Gunnar Gunderson, a geeky professor of physics, becomes determined to use a scientific method to find a wife in three days. “His attempt at speed-dating and other events are laugh-out-loud funny,” Chan says.

3) Falling Under (Danielle Younge-Ullman; available in e-book format)
“This novel is edgy, raw, and compelling,” says Chan. “The author is fearless in her writing and has a rare gift for sparse yet emotionally powerful prose.” The protagonist, Mara Foster, a talented artist, struggles to overcome an upbringing by an alcoholic father and an emotionally distant mother, as well as her social anxiety and agoraphobia.

4) Come Back to Me (Melissa Foster; available in paperback and e-book format)
Describing it as “complex and beautifully written,” Chan calls Come Back to Me “a unique story of danger, loyalty, and undying love.” This gripping tale concerns a loving couple, Beau and Tess, who are separated when his helicopter crashes in Iraq. Tess, in the early stages of pregnancy, refuses to believe that Beau is dead while he, in turn, struggles to survive.

5) Down the Memory Hole (Bonnie Turner; available in paperback and e-book formats)
This poignant family story concerns Buzz Collins, a 12-year-old who is forced to share his room with a grandfather suffering from Alzheimer’s. It is written from the youngster’s point of view—“insightful and moving,” Chan says.


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