LEFT AT TENTH: A second chance in life, by Delia Ephron. (Small, Brown, $29.) When her husband of 33 years died, Ephron – author of screenplays, essays and novels – had a new subject to write about: loss. The scope of her subject matter expanded when she was diagnosed with cancer and found love again. Here are his memoirs of those extraordinary events, stitched together with everyday moments that offer their own weight. The book “is less the story of a woman who loses her husband than that of a woman who falls in love again at 72,” writes Joyce Maynard in her review. “Ephron presents a moving and heartfelt portrait of romance – also passion. … If there is such a thing as a feel-good memory, this is it.
HIGH SPIRITS: The Victorians and the birth of modern Britain, by Simon Heffer. (Pegasus, $39.95.) Heffer’s story of Britain in the mid-19th century is the story of a society transformed as the nation moved closer and closer to a humane and civilized social order. Heffer “identifies ideas and feelings as the driving force behind this transformation”, writes Benjamin Schwarz in his review. “Intellectuals, politicians, and largely upper and upper middle class activists,” he explains, “driven by a sense of earnest and selfless moral purpose,” have sought “to improve the condition of the ‘whole of society’. This ambitious effort has manifested itself in “the actions of enlightened government,” actions that have unfolded in a series of historic parliamentary acts and administrative innovations over the nearly 40 years that Heffer examines.”
TELL ME EVERYTHING: The story of a private investigation, by Erika Krouse. (Flatiron, $28.99.) This lyrical, jarring and propulsive memoir of Krouse’s time as a private detective is literary non-fiction at a high level – the author manages the delicate act of balancing a case’s story with a more personal dive. in his past. Plus, according to our reviewer Patrick Hoffman (a PI himself), “she certainly conveys the emotional realities of the job: the narcotic thrill of a good interview, the euphoria of grimy situations, the constant feeling of being a bully , a manipulator, a liar.
LETTERS TO GWEN JOHN, by Celia Paul. (New York Review Books, $29.95.) Paul’s haunting memoir takes the form of correspondence with a fellow painter she never knew: Gwen John, who died in 1939. Drawn to the parallels in their lives, Paul meditates on aging, personality, loneliness, art. “The clarity of the genre’s grammars is compelling and thoroughly contemporary,” writes Drusilla Modjeska in her review. “Truth doesn’t go one way, nor does power and vulnerability.”
CHEVY IN THE HOLE, by Kelsey Ronan. (Holt, $26.99.) Set in Flint, Michigan, this moving debut asks a central question, through a budding romance between a young cook recovering from an opioid addiction and an activist trying to save a town in crisis: a relentless commitment always yield positive results? “They form a relationship based on something subtly beautiful, an unspoken but deep understanding of a particular kind of loneliness they both share,” Dean Bakopoulos writes in his review. “The novel’s primary propellant becomes a question that often applies to relationships as much as it does to stories about America’s forgotten and marginalized landscapes: Can we save them with love, or will they just crumble? “