Think romance novels aren’t worth taking seriously? The Romance Writers of America’s annual convention brings together thousands of smart, self-aware readers and writers ready and able to prove you wrong.
Anthony Powell’s name is synonymous with his twelve-volume behemoth “A Dance to the Music of Time.” But he had a long and varied writing career, and his early novel Venusberg, Levi Stahl contends, is well worth searching out in the shade of “Dance.”
At the beginning of the 19th century, a small trove of elaboratedly carved chess pieces was uncovered on a remote beach – a lively new book traces the history and strange charisma of the Lewis chessmen.
For the protagonist of Jim Shepard’s heartbreaking novel The Book of Aron it is terrible to be a poor Jew in anti-Semitic prewar Poland – but it is hardest of all to be a child, at the mercy of everyone else.
What are literary biographies good for, anyway? Do they provide insight into the work or just tittle-tattle about the life? Scott Donaldson’s The Impossible Craft offers a brief on this endlessly alluring genre.
Poet Alex Caldiero’s Some Love is tangled in the poetic complexities of love, and yet, as reviewer Scott Abbott discovers, the poems here can be every bit as fleshy and uncomplicated as the real thing.
A mystery trio: Louise Penny’s 11th Gamache novel is a stellar addition to the series; Elsa Hart’s debut is a fine historical murder mystery set in 18th-century China; Bernhard Aichner’s first appearance in English is spine-chilling.
Is there more to romance fiction than perfect people meeting cute and living happily ever after? Sarah Wendell thinks so, but her arguments in defense of this most reviled of genres may themselves sell it short.