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Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel (Holt)

Mantel follows her Man Booker prize-winning Wolf Hall with the further exploits of Thomas Cromwell. In this, the second of a proposed trilogy, an older, tired, and more powerful Cromwell has to get Henry VIII out of another heirless marriage. Seeing Cromwell manipulate and outsmart the nobles who look down on him while moving between his well-managed domestic arrangements and the murky world of accusations and counteraccusations is pure pleasure.


The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service

Beth Kendrick (NAL)

In The Bake-Off Kendrick showed a talent for portraying the intricacies of female friendships. Now she proves herself equally adept at the unbreakable bond between man (or woman) and mutt. When Lara Madigan’s doggie matchmaking service saddles her with debt and strains her relationship, she moves back in with her mom, whose wealthy dog-owning friends are in desperate need of help. Before you can say “sit,” Lara finds a new career—and makes a perfect match of her own.


Heading Out to Wonderful

Robert Goolrick (Algonquin)

WWII veteran and novice butcher Charlie Beale arrives in small-town Virginia hoping for a brighter future, but makes a big mistake by falling for the young wife of a wealthy, powerful old man. Goolrick’s tale of doomed love resonates like a folk ballad, with the language of the Blue Ridge Mountains and its people giving the novel its soul. The author’s previous book, A Reliable Wife, was a major bestseller.



Beatriz Williams (Putnam)

Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson feels jilted after handsome billionaire investment genius Julian Laurence, whose interest in her had been undeniable, suddenly backs off. Is he just some rich jerk blowing hot and cold? No, he’s deeply in love, and saddled with a serious secret: he’s from a different time, and they’ve met before. This debut from Williams, a former Wall Street analyst herself, has it all: love, longing, honor, and time travel.


Albert of Adelaide

Howard Anderson (Hachette/Twelve)

In his first novel, the 66-year-old Anderson creates a memorable character in Albert, a duck-billed platypus who flees captive monotony in search of the “Old Australia,” but arrives in the outback blistered, burned, and no closer to the mythic land. Along with a lively assortment of animal vagabonds who populate the frontier towns humans have abandoned, Albert finds adventure—and plenty of trouble. Packed start to finish with old-fashioned pleasures: action, fast friends, unlikely heroes.


Beautiful Ruins

Jess Walter (Harper)

A young actress, apparently dying of stomach cancer, is spirited from the troubled set of the 1962 production of Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, to the privacy of a coastal Italian Inn. Innkeeper Pasquale soon discovers, however, that the actress is not sick with cancer, but pregnant with Burton’s child. The Innkeeper falls for the actress, but she doesn’t stay in Italy long. Fifty years later, he shows up in Hollywood looking for her. A quirky and entertaining tale of greed, treachery, and love.



Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster )

Perhaps no other author strikes such a quivering bull’s eye into the zeitgeist as Cleave with this new novel set during the 2012 Summer Olympics. The story follows three friends, world-class cyclists all, as they train for their last chance at Olympic gold amid major obstacles both on and off the track. Cleave pulls out all the stops getting inside the hearts of his engaging, complex trio, and delivers a breathless literary achievement.


Lionel Asbo: State of England

Martin Amis (Knopf)

In the first few lines of Amis’s irreverent and absurd new novel, the teenaged Des Pepperdine reveals that he’s having an affair with a much older woman. Then reveals exactly who it is, and it’s both hilarious and shocking. Amis is again at his savagely funny best, and Des’s thuggish uncle Lionel (ASBO is the U.K. acronym for Anti-Social Behavior Disorder) is one gleefully depraved individual. Then he wins the national lottery. Amis’s exuberant voice begs to be followed, even if it leads to hell.


The Age of Miracles

Karen Thompson Walker (Random)

Walker’s gripping debut novel is a somber and ultimately terrifying chronicle of the protracted end of the world, told from the perspective of an 11-year-old girl. “The slowing” of the earth’s rotation impacts everyone in different ways. The length of day and night double, then triple, resulting in record high and low temperatures and new illnesses, and that’s just for starters. Walker’s handling of the minutiae, combined with a wrenching deliberate pace, make this one impossible to put down.


Shine Shine Shine

Lydia Netzer (St. Martin’s)

Sunny was born without hair. Her husband, Maxon, is a rocket scientist. Their son is autistic. Despite their earthbound obstacles, they enjoy an average suburban existence—until a moon rock creates a “Houston, we have a problem” moment in Maxon’s latest space expedition. Netzer’s fresh, confident debut about an astronaut stranded in space and the family he left behind tells a powerful story about love overcoming the epic indifference of the universe.


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