Gray, Shelley Shepard. Families of Honor: Bk. 3: The Survivor. Avon Inspire. Sept. 2011. 256p. ISBN 9780062020635. pap. $12.99; eISBN 9780062092632.
Gray wraps up a series featuring a young Amish woman named Mattie Troyer, who here has nearly lost her life to cancer. While she was recuperating, all the young women her age managed to get married, but she might still have a chance with gentle friend Graham Weaver. Alas for some nasty rumors about Graham. This is a beloved series, and the finale is fit to burst with a 100,000-copy first printing, so buy wherever Christian fiction in general, and Gray’s series in particular, is popular.

Harbach, Chad. The Art of Fielding. Little, Brown. Sept. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780316126694. $25.99. CD: Hachette Audio.
Having founded the estimable literary journal n + 1, Harbach was ready for the next challenge: his first novel. His hero, Henry Skrimshander, is a rising baseball star at Wetish College whose life goes off course when he throws a wayward ball. Henry starts to doubt himself, even as team captain Mike Schwartz dedicates himself to Henry’s career. Meanwhile, Henry’s gay roommate, Owen Glass, pursues a risky affair; college president Guert Affenlight falls hopelessly in love; and Guert’s daughter, Pella, returns to campus to lick her wounds after ending a disastrous marriage. Why am I so intrigued? Harbach’s smart reputation and obvious sense of whimsy are pluses, and there’s that intriguing stack of relationships. Oh, and the Little, Brown folks have great expectations for this in-house favorite. Check it out.

Kleier, Michele & others. Hot Property. Harper: HarperCollins. Sept. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9780061127663. $24.99. eISBN 9780062092670.
Along with her daughters, Samantha Kleier-Forbes and Sabrina Kleier-Morgenstern, New York real estate mogul Kleier is seen weekly by 1.25 million viewers on HGTV’s highly popular Selling New York. Now they’ve crafted a novel about‚ surprise!‚ three high-flying real estate women in New York balancing work, love, and marriage. With a 75,000-copy first printing; for fans of how-the-rich-live novels.

Lawrenson, Deborah. The Lantern. Harper: HarperCollins. Sept. 2011. 400p. ISBN 9780062049698. $25.95; eISBN 9780062049711.
Tearing a page from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Lawrenson crafts a modern gothic featuring wide-eyed Eve, who impulsively marries older, alluringly sophisticated Dom and moves to Les Genevriers, his charming home in Provence. At first she’s delighted by her warm surrounds, but when the autumn winds blow in, she is alarmed by Dom’s sudden distance, his refusal to discuss his first marriage, and the strange presence she senses in the garden. The 100,000-copy first printing for British author Lawrenson’s U.S. debut suggests excitement. Sound like good, escapist fun.

McBride, Susan. Little Black Dress. Morrow. Sept. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780062027191. pap. $14.99.
Toni Ashton has a powerhouse career but no proposal from her long-term boyfriend. Then her mother, Evie, suffers a massive stroke, and Toni returns home as caretaker. Evie’s old Victorian house is stuffed with clutter and secrets; her sister disappeared 50 years ago on the eve of her wedding. While trying to mend her own life, Toni also sorts out the troubles surrounding her mother and aunt‚ which somehow involve that little black dress. A plot you’ve seen before, but it’s all in the writing, and the author’s of The Cougar Club got some attention. Consider.

My Pick
Morris, Mary McGarry. Light from a Distant Star. Crown. Sept. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780307451866. $25; eISBN 9780307451873.ÔøΩ
With her father’s business in trouble and her mother now working, 13-year-old Nellie is the determined caretaker of her little brother. The adults she does encounter, like the thuggish guy who works at her grandfather’s junkyard and the stripper who rents an apartment at the back of the house, upend her life further. Then, a moment of violence lands Nellie in court as witness, where no one believes the awful truth she’s trying to relay. As evidenced by her many novels, from National Book Award nominee Vanished to Oprah pick Songs in Ordinary Time, Morris excels at family dramas with dark and tingly psychological twists, so I’m betting that this will be absorbingly good.

Mullen, Thomas. The Revisionists. Little, Brown. Sept. 2011. 400p. ISBN 9780316176729. $25.99.
The future is a happy place indeed, with no war, no hunger, and no heartbreak. Zed has been sent from the future to make sure that all the bad things that happened before really do come to pass, or the future won’t look so good. Unfortunately, he gets a little too wrapped up in the present. Mullen’s debut, The Last Town on Earth, won the James Fennimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction, and he’s had several Best Of nods for subsequent novels, so this dystopian thriller looks promising.

Stephenson, Neal. Reamde. Morrow. Sept. 2011. 960p. ISBN 9780061977961. $35.
Having fled to British Columbia decades ago to avoid the draft, Richard Forthrast then amassed a fortune transporting marijuana over the border to Idaho. Now he spends his time playing a power-wielding online fantasy game and his money buying viral gold and other necessaries from Chinese gold farmers and, finally, launching his own techie start-up. Alas, one of the gold farmers sets off a virtual war for dominance that could be the end of Richard. The noted author of such speculative works as 2008’s Anathem, which debuted in the top slot of the New York Times best sellers list, Stephenson returns with another blockbuster (note the length) that might profitably be read with Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, coming in June, or Cory Doctorow’s 2010 YA title, For the Win, which adult readers can appreciate.

Toyne, Simon. Sanctus. Morrow. Sept. 2011. 496p. ISBN 9780062038302. $25.99. lrg. prnt; eISBN 9780062038326.
Lots of excitement (and a 100,000-copy first printing) for this debut thriller by a former writer/producer/director for British television, in which an ancient conspiracy comes explosively to light. (Ah, the comfort of the familiar.) Watched by the world‚ that’s social media for you‚ a man hauls himself up a cliff face, intent on breaching the Citadel. The monks in this girded city-state are none too happy with this turn of events and would kill to keep things as they were. With rights sold to 27 countries, you know this has power.

White, Kate. The Sixes. Harper: HarperCollins. Sept. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780061576621 $24.99.
Accused of plagiarizing her latest celeb bio and abandoned by her boyfriend, Phoebe Hall leaves New York for a small college in rural Pennsylvania, where she’s been invited by an old friend to teach some classes. Unfortunately, the peace and quiet she sought is shattered when the body of a junior girl is found in the nearby river. Cosmopolitan editor White did nicely with Hush, which made the extended New York Times best sellers list, and the 100,000-copy first printing here suggests high hopes. If you like thrillers.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.


  1. […] some quickie cash-in biography/self-help guide. Out in September, Hot Property is, according to Library Journal, “a novel about—surprise!—three high-flying real estate women in New York […]