"The Husband Hunters"


By Moira Macdonald

The Seattle Times

Prepare for the fall reading season. Here are six promising new paperbacks to get you started.

“The Husband Hunters: American Heiresses Who Married into the British Aristocracy”: by Anne de Courcy (St. Martin’s Press, $17.99). Just in time for the “Downton Abbey” movie (in theaters Sept. 20!) comes this book, a history of women like the show’s fictional Countess of Grantham. “‘Downton Abbey’ fans will swoon over this trip through the privileged turn-of-the-century world of cash, class, and coronets,” wrote Kirkus Reviews, calling it “a highly readable social history that contains all of the juicy drama of a prime-time soap opera.”

“The Verdun Affair”: by Nick Dybek (Simon & Schuster, $17). Dybek, a faculty member at Oregon State University, set his novel in post-World War I France, where a lonely young American meets a woman looking for her missing husband. Enjoying its mood last year, I wrote that it was “a quiet story, about love and war and what happens when there’s nothing left,” and that its author had a knack for “a cinematic, wistfully noirish atmosphere of romance, in a world where love now seems beside the point.”

“Heart: A History”: by Sandeep Jauhar (Picador, $18). Jauhar, a cardiologist and author of “Doctored” and “Intern,” here examines the history of the human heart, and of the procedures performed on the only organ that can move itself. A New York Times reviewer wrote that “‘Heart’ is chock-full of absorbing tales that infuse fresh air into a topic that is often relegated to textbooks or metaphors about pumps, plumbing or love.”

“She Would Be King”: by Wayétu Moore (Graywolf Press, $16). Moore’s debut novel takes place in her native Liberia; it’s both a narrative of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 19th century and a magical-realism adventure. The Guardian admired the book’s “epic sweep,” and called it “a tour de force that crescendos to its conclusion, reimagining the birth of Liberia in a way that is tender, humane and suffused with lyricism.”

“The Man Who Came Uptown”: by George Pelecanos (Little, Brown, $15.99). Pelecanos, a master of D.C.-set noir, weaves this tale around a book-loving ex-con and a rogue private eye. The author has always been, an NPR critic wrote, “an incisive and elegant writer. Now he has reached a different level … a book that is a modern storytelling master’s paean to the power of books, literature, librarians, and booksellers.”

“The Real Lolita: A Lost Girl, an Unthinkable Crime, and a Scandalous Masterpiece”: by Sarah Weinman (HarperCollins, $17.99). In a remarkable case of literary detection, Weinman conducted an investigation into the 1948 case that she says inspired Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel “Lolita.” “In ‘The Real Lolita,’ Weinman has compassionately given Sally Horner pride of place once more in her own life,” wrote a Washington Post reviewer, “a life that was first brutally warped by [kidnapper] Frank La Salle, and then appropriated by one of the most brilliant writers of the 20th century.”

Copyright 2019 Tribune Content Agency.


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