Book: Beach Music
Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides, The Great Santini) puts forth another good one with Beach Music. My only complaint would be that he tried to do too much--the book was almost 800 pages, and I think he could have simplified it by removing one or more subplots.
The book is about a guy who's wife commits suicide, leaving him to raise their infant daughter. The in-laws unsuccessfully step in and try to take her away from him, he subsequently moves to Italy and attempts to cut himself off from anything to do with his southern past.
His mother falls ill and he returns to S. Carolina and confronts his unresolved past.
The story of the widower and the motherless child is one of the sadest I've ever read. There were other less compelling storylines as well, but overall a very good read.