From Samuel Beckett to James Carroll to Jacqueline Winspear in Historical Fiction Mode | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2014, Pt. 2

Beckett, Samuel. Echo’s Bones. Grove. Jul. 2014. 128p. ISBN 9780802120458. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780802194077. LITERARY FICTION
In 1933, Chatto & Windus agreed to issue Beckett’s first published work of fiction, a collection echoesbonesof ten linked stories called More Pricks Than Kicks. The editor asked Beckett to write a final piece, which was then rejected as too weird, wild, and playful—in other words, as quintessentially Beckett. The story has remained unpublished until now, and since the last new Beckett work to be released was the play Eleutheria in the mid-Nineties, this is pretty exciting. This story proved a watershed for Beckett, who used it to remake his writing and move in a new direction. Set aside fears that Beckett is too esoteric (go see Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot on Broadway if you doubt it) and note that the publisher sold out its hardcover centenary box set of Beckett works and is currently redesigning all Beckett backlist titles.

Carroll, James. Warburg in Rome. Houghton Harcourt. Jul. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780547738901. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780547738956. LITERARY FICTION
Carroll left the priesthood to become a writer, and we can be glad he did; his books include the National Book Award winner An American Requiem and the New York Times best-selling Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews. In this new novel, set in post–World War II Rome, he expands on themes in Constantine’s Sword to examine Catholic complicity in the fate of the Jews. David Warburg, just designated director of the U.S. War Refugee Board, arrives in Rome eager to help the displaced Jews now crowding the city. He’s dismayed to learn that the Church has allowed many Nazi criminals to escape the Continent—and that U.S. intelligence knows. With a 30,000-copy first printing.

Goodwin, Daisy. The Fortune Hunter. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2014. 480p. ISBN 9781250043894. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466842243. CD: Macmillan Audio. HISTORICAL FICTION
Goodwin, who charged onto the course with The American Heiress, a New York Times best goodwinseller with 300,000 books in print, returns with a second novel featuring a dramatic love triangle. Restless in her marriage and her royal duties, the Empress Elizabeth of Austria lives to ride. So does Capt. Bay Middleton, charming but too poor to buy a horse of the quality to win the Grand National. He’s lucky to meet independent-minded heiress Charlotte Baird, but their budding relationship is disrupted when Bay is asked to guide the empress on the course set for a hunt organized by Earl Spencer in England. With a national laydown on July 29.

Mills, Marja. The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee. Penguin Pr. Jul. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781594205194. $27.95. BIOGRAPHY/LITERATURE
In 2001, Chicago Tribune journalist Mills went to Monroe­ville, AL, to attempt what other journalists had failed to do: get an interview with legendary novelist Harper Lee. Not only did she succeed but she ended up befriending both Lee and her sister, with whom Lee lived. Mills eventually moved in next door and spent 18 months chatting with the sisters, learning about family history, imbibing Southern lore, and meeting their friends. Here is her account of that time—and now maybe we can learn why Harper Lee never wrote another novel.

Scottoline, Lisa & Francesca Serritella. Have a Nice Guilt Trip. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780312640095. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466834569. CD: Macmillan Audio. FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS
Thriller fans love Edgar Award winner Scottoline’s fiction, while readers of humor and heartfelt narrative nonfiction enjoy curling up with the books Scottoline writes with daughter Serritella, who won a stack of awards for her writing at Harvard. This fourth book from the mother-daughter team addresses issues like acquiring puppies (Scottoline), attempting to date (Serritella), and figuring out whether men or canines are more difficult. Lots of book club outreach and pitched as the perfect summer read.

Walsh, Helen. The Lemon Grove. Doubleday. Jul. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9780385538534. $24.95. POP FICTION
Winner of the Betty Trask and Somerset Maugham awards, Walsh is known for edgy, lemongrovein-your-face novels; this one is billed as hot but not quite as hot as Fifty Shades of Grey, and the writing should be more upscale. Jenn and Greg, married for 14 years, are lazing about in Majorca when Greg’s daughter from his first marriage arrives with boyfriend Nathan. And guess who’s attracted to Nathan? Fading youth, female desire, the pull of temptation, the craziness of marriage, and vivid sex—it’s all here.

Winspear, Jacqueline. The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War. Harper. Jul. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780062220509. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062220523. lrg. prnt. HISTORICAL FICTION
Winspear is known for her fabulous Maisie Dobbs mystery series, whose heroine was marked by her experiences as a nurse in World War I. For this historical, the war isn’t the defining past but the looming present, as Kezia Marchant marries friend Thea Brissenden’s brother Tom just one month before the fighting breaks out. Thea’s involvement in the women’s suffrage movement has frayed the bonds between her and Kezia, but the times bring changes for everyone, as Tom marches to battle, Thea is also drawn into the war, and Kezia must manage the family farm alone. With a 100,000-copy first printing and an eight-city tour to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland (OR), Phoenix, Houston, Boston, and Chicago.

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.