Jennifer McMahon's The Winter People is a pleasurable and cerebral tale of witchcraft, deadites, and resurrection. In 1908, Sarah Harrison Shea's daughter, Gertie, was killed. Shortly after, Shea's completely skinned body was found- and so was her diary. In the present, Alice and her daughters, Ruthie and Fawn, live in the house Shea once inhabited. When Alice goes missing, Ruthie and Fawn begin to unravel the secrets of Sara Harrison Shea, her diary, and Woodhall, Vermont. This novel is intensely spooky and un-put-down-able. Several times, I shivered in reaction to the ghosts, emotional and paranormal, that haunted Sara Harrison Shea. This novel will make you ignore your spouse and check your closets before bedtime.
Nora Ephron was many things: journalist, screenwriter, an Academy Award nominee, a playwright, novelist, blogger, and an advocate for women. Most important, she seemed like your best friend and confidante—your homegirl. Now, finally, some of her best writing is collected in one volume. The Most of Nora Ephron (Knopf, $35) includes journalism, the screenplay of When Harry Met Sally, the novel, Heartburn, posts from Ephron’s food blog, and more. Reading this book gave me goose bumps and made me sad for a world where Nora is no longer; her films remain some of my favorites, and reading this collection felt like a parting gift from one of the funniest ladies in showbiz. Before her death, Nora stipulated that this collection never be turned into an e-book—making her not only a girl’s best friend, but a bookseller’s as well.
In his first novel, Eric Lundgren weaves a tale of a man searching for his missing wife (a well-known opera singer), a town decaying and falling into anarchy as the libraries are forced to close, and an architect long gone, but whose buildings are the bones of the book. At its core, The Facades is a melancholy but suspenseful tale of the small town of Trude (a world powerfully crafted by Lundgren), its structures, and its people, who are, well, something else. The book is a labyrinth of emotion and metaphor- at times whimsical and humorous, and others astoundingly dark and poetic. Like the town motto of Trude suggests, Lundgren’s freshman novel is a book you can get helplessly lost in.