Caroline Herschel’s prospects as a plain, poor and pox-scarred woman in 19th-century Germany are not good. Living in a cramped home surrounded by siblings and an affectionless mother, her only saviors are her brilliant older brother William—who moved to England—and her loving but sickly father, who after attending the wedding of a neighbor’s daughter wails to Caroline, “Oh, my dear. You are neither handsome nor rich. What is to be done?”
Kristina McMorris evokes such a strong sense of place that to open her books feels less like reading and more like traveling.
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience,” said James Beard, and these two delicious new books are cases in point.
Joseph Fink claims he’s calling from a New Jersey beach. I prefer to imagine that his spotty cell reception is actually because he’s calling from a dark bunker in an undisclosed location. That somehow seems more appropriate for a co-author of Welcome to Night Vale, the new novel based on the wildly popular podcast of the same name.
Weiner delivers yet another fresh, funny winner in Who Do You Love, the story of Rachel Blum, who grows up with a heart defect, and Andy Landis, the biracial son of a single mom.
Novelist J. Ryan Stradal spent months working on his vibrant first novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, without ever knowing if anything would come of it.
A world-famous actor (a former Disney Channel star who’s back for a reunion special—think Ryan Gosling meets Justin Timberlake) walks into the small-town Florida bar where three 19-year-old friends are drinking their way through another dull night.
Kevin Kwan is not where one might expect to find a best-selling, New York City-dwelling author. “I’m taking a little break before the craziness of three solid months of touring,” Kwan says from an undisclosed southwestern location far, far away from Manhattan. “I thought I’d look at rabbits frolicking in a field for a while first.”
When Judy Blume was a teenager in Elizabeth, New Jersey, three commercial jets crashed in her town within months of each other, each narrowly avoiding schools and orphanages. In retrospect, it’s shocking that she hasn’t considered telling this dramatic story before. But only now has Blume written about it in a novel, In the Unlikely Event.
Teddy Todd, who first appeared in Kate Atkinson’s thrilling Life After Life (2013), served as a British pilot in World War II. As a young man in the throes of a brutal war, he “didn’t expect to see the alchemy of spring, to see the dull brown earth change to bright green and then pale gold.”