There's a reason why The Help by Kathryn Stockett has been at the top of the bestseller lists for so long. It's engaging, emotional and entertaining -- that has to be on every reader's big three when picking a book to read for pleasure. Stockett's first novel reminds me of how much I enjoyed The Historian, the first novel of Elizabeth Kostova. While the books have little in common, they share authors who have the ability to create a mood and setting for their characters that invites the reader into that world.
Much like the television sensation, Mad Men, The Help is set during the tumultuous 1960s -- when civil unrest was bringing about social change. The story is set in Jackson, Mississippi and focuses on the lives of three women, Aibileen, Minnie and Skeeter. Together they change own lives in most unexpected ways. The Help is not without controversy -- and the criticism may have some merit, but I think any book that gets people talking can't be all bad.
The Help is in development to become a feature film, so I recommend you read the real thing before it arrives on the silver screen and loses some of its subtle nuances. And keep an eye out for the next novel from Kathryn Stockett, she's one to watch.