The Lantern

by Deborah Lawrenson |

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REVIEWED BY MEREDITH MARAN

FICTION

Inspired by the Daphne Du Maurier classic Rebecca, The Lantern is a smart, gothic bodice-ripper that transcends the genre, thanks in part to journalist Lawrenson's gift for bringing the senses to life. When she writes, "you could open an envelope ... and find it contained no words at all, just a handful of lavender with a ribbon of dried grapefruit skin, or a sprinkling of vanilla seeds," you wish the pages were scratch-and-sniff. The spooky tale is alternately narrated by a bookish Brit, Eve, who's been seduced by Dom, an enigmatic Frenchman, and by Benedicte, the ancient ghost who haunts the rambling Provencal house where the lovers revel in sensual delights: "... Tomatoes ribbed and plump as harem cushions; thick sheets and lace second-hand from the market ... lemon sun in the morning." But even in Paradise, trouble brews. What really happened to Dom's wife, said to have vanished into thin air? And why are little girls in the village disappearing the same way? When skeletons, literal and figurative, start making their appearances, the idyll Dom offers-and Dom himself-prove too good to be true.

Angelina's Bachelors

by Brian O'Reilly |

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REVIEWED BY MOIRA BAILEY

FICTION

In this confection, young widow Angelina D'Angelo finds emotional and financial sustenance after her husband's sudden death by cooking for seven bachelors in her South Philly neighborhood. The characters are Capraesque, from an ex-seminarian questioning his calling to a watch-chain-wearing Mr. Pettibone. All likeable, if not fully believable. The food's another story: described most deliciously and leaving you hungry for more. Luckily this debut from O'Reilly (creator of Food Network's Dinner: Impossible) includes his wife Virginia's appealing recipes.

The Call

by Yannick Murphy |

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REVIEWED BY ELLEN SHAPIRO

FICTION

Displaying an almost magical economy, Murphy's novel is written as the log of veterinarian David Appleton. Between accounts of spitting alpacas and cows with milk fever are riffs on family, and UFO sightings. The Call conjures the quirky satisfactions of rural life, until 12-year-old Sam falls into a coma after a hunting accident. Appleton obsesses over finding his son's shooter, but this is no "make my day" revenge fantasy. Instead, true heroism is revealed in the humanity of a taciturn and decent man.

THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES

by Siddhartha Mukherjee

An eloquent history of cancer by a compassionate oncologist on the frontline.

EXPECTING ADAM

by Martha Beck

Beck's touching 1999 bestseller about her son-who has Down syndrome-with a new afterword on where he is now.

LET'S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME

by Gail Caldwell

A heartbreaking testament to Caldwell's deep friendship with the late author Caroline Knapp.

Kathryn Erskine's YA novel Mockingbird (February) and Will Allison's Long Drive Home (May) share the same cover photo. Which got us thinking, How does this happen? "You ask, 'Has this been used before?' but you don't always get accurate information from agencies," says Free Press publisher Martha Levin, who worked with the art director to find the perfect shot for Drive. It's not fun looking like a copycat, but it happens, she says. This time a great photo helped twice: Both Mockingbird and Drive are bestsellers.

The MAGICIAN KING

by Lev Grossman

TIME magazine's book critic Grossman wrote this literary fantasy sequel to his 2009 bestseller The Magicians. He targets an adult audience (not for young Harry Potter fans) but doesn't skimp on the magic, spells and dragons.

The SWINGER

by Michael Bamberger and Alan Shipnuck

Using their insider observations about the pro-golfing world, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED staff writers Bamberger and Shipnuck offer a fictionalized account of a Tiger Woodsesque sex scandal.