You Are the Love of My Life

by Susan Richards Shreve |

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People PICK

REVIEWED BY JOANNA POWELL

NOVEL

Don't be put off by the sappy title: This finely crafted novel about a woman haunted by family secrets packs a smart punch. In 1973 Lucy Painter, a freewheeling children's book illustrator, musters the courage to leave her married lover, who's also the father of her two children. Smart move—except that she and the kids relocate to the Washington, D.C., home where she discovered the body of her own father after he committed suicide 22 years earlier. Told by her mother to keep the truth about that death secret, Lucy has lived plagued by shame, and the return reopens old wounds. With another cover-up-Watergate-unraveling across town, Lucy's tangled web frays to breaking as her 11-year-old daughter lashes out at her mother's "lies" and goes dangerously off the deep end. Spare, elegant and absolutely riveting, Shreve's fascinating look at our human longing for love and security unfolds like a thriller. So cancel those dinner plans-you'll want to keep reading.

When It Happens to You

by Molly Ringwald |

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REVIEWED BY MEREDITH MARAN

STORIES

Actress Molly Ringwald displays true literary talent in this collection of linked stories exploring infertility, infidelity, estrangement and divorce. "You will try everything to heal yourself," a woman silently tells the girl who stole her husband, only to be cheated upon in turn. "You will take drugs prescribed by doctors. You'll take drugs not prescribed by doctors...." In another story a couple desperately longing to have a child "would wait in the doctor's waiting room like weary warriors on the sidelines of a battle that already seemed to be lost." Ringwald's craft and keen insights make her debut shine.

Winter Journal

by Paul Auster |

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REVIEWED BY KIM HUBBARD

MEMOIR

"You think ... you are the only person in the world to whom none of these things will ever happen," begins Auster's intensely moving meditation on aging, "and then, one by one, they all begin to." Faced with his own inevitable decline, the acclaimed author, 65, looks back at his life through the prism of his body's experiences, from early sexual stirrings to the visceral shock of losing his parents to the comfort of sharing a bed with his wife of 30 years, writer Siri Hustvedt. "You have entered the winter of your life," he tells himself. The warmth of memory will see him through.

COMMENTS? Write to the books editor: books@peoplemag.com

HEADING OUT TO WONDERFUL

by Robert Goolrick

From the author of A Reliable Wife, a suspenseful tale of obsessive love set in the Blue Ridge Mountains circa 1948.

GUILT BY DEGREES

by Marcia Clark

Yes, that Marcia Clark. The former O.J. Simpson prosecutor's assured second thriller features a D.A. on the trail of a murderous psychopath.

MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND

by Matthew Dicks

When 8-year-old Max gets kidnapped by his troubled teacher, the true-blue pal he's dreamed up comes to his rescue.

Three months after Pedro Hernandez was arrested for the '79 murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz, Lisa Cohen, whose After Etan is out with a new chapter, discusses how Etan's parents are doing.

DO THEY BELIEVE HERNANDEZ WAS THE KILLER?

Stan-who twice yearly sends a note asking convicted pedophile Jose Ramos, the former lead suspect, "What did you do to my little boy?"-won't say. Reports Cohen: "He told me, 'I'm not talking about it.'"

HOW DID THEY HEAR ABOUT THE BREAK IN THE CASE?

In Boston for their daughter-in-law's graduation from Harvard, "Stan got the heads-up," Cohen says. "I think it was hard; they had been celebrating. In 33 years they've had to become adept at compartmentalizing."

HOW HAVE THEY LIVED WITH THEIR LOSS?

"They've raised their other kids [Ari, 36, and Shira, 42]. Stan says, 'Most of the time this is background noise. Life takes the foreground.' They've been able to see the good in the world, despite what happened to them."

JIMMY FALLON

"I've read Great Expectations four times. I just get immersed in that world.... In a weird way, it's like meditation. I love it."

NORAH JONES

"Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, about a circus family. The mom takes drugs to [give birth to] circus freaks, which is very strange-sounding. But it's beautifully written!"

SALMAN RUSHDIE

"I read Ulysses every 10 years, so I've read it four or five times. Here's what people don't know about Ulysses: It's really funny!"

THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING

by Kristin Harmel

In PEOPLE contributor Harmel's seventh novel, a divorcee travels to Paris and uncovers surprising family secrets.