Here’s What is New This Month
With mask mandates softening and the threat of Covid decreasing in many communities, now is the time to get out and about, visit your local bookstore and pick out something new for yourself! (Of course if it is snowy you can always order online!) Here are some of the best books out this March and early April. Lots of authors I love have been working hard to bring us something fresh and compelling – historical fiction, thriller, memoir and more! Place your orders today to read about female snipers, musicians, women’s activism, WWII, Talitha Getty, John Wilkes Booth… and travel to Italy, Marrakesh, Cape Cod, North Carolina and Ramapo, New Jersey! Find the time to get absorbed. 21 new books to choose from. It will be worth it!
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
The New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code returns with an unforgettable World War II tale of a quiet librarian who becomes history’s deadliest female sniper. Based on a true story.
In the snowbound city of Kiev, wry and bookish history student Mila Pavlichenko organizes her life around her library job and her young son—but Hitler’s invasion of Russia sends her on a different path. Given a rifle and sent to join the fight, Mila must forge herself from studious girl to deadly sniper—a lethal hunter of Nazis known as Lady Death. When news of her three hundredth kill makes her a national heroine, Mila finds herself torn from the bloody battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America on a goodwill tour.
Still reeling from war wounds and devastated by loss, Mila finds herself isolated and lonely in the glittering world of Washington, DC—until an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and an even more unexpected connection with a silent fellow sniper offer the possibility of happiness. But when an old enemy from Mila’s past joins forces with a deadly new foe lurking in the shadows, Lady Death finds herself battling her own demons and enemy bullets in the deadliest duel of her life.
Based on a true story, The Diamond Eye is a haunting novel of heroism born of desperation, of a mother who became a soldier, of a woman who found her place in the world and changed the course of history forever.
To Boldly Grow by Tamar Haspel
A love-letter to the unexpected delights (and occasional despair) of so-called “first-hand food”–meals we grow, forage, fish, or even hunt from the world around us. To Boldly Grow is “part memoir, part how-to guide and wholly delightful” (Washington Post).
Journalist and self-proclaimed “crappy gardener” Tamar Haspel is on a mission: to show us that raising or gathering our own food is not as hard as it’s often made out to be. When she and her husband move from Manhattan to two acres on Cape Cod, they decide to adopt a more active approach to their diet: raising chickens, growing tomatoes, even foraging for mushrooms and hunting their own meat. They have more ambition than practical know-how, but that’s not about to stop them from trying…even if sometimes their reach exceeds their (often muddy) grasp.
With “first-hand food” as her guiding principle, Haspel embarks on a grand experiment to stop relying on experts to teach her the ropes (after all, they can make anything grow), and start using her own ingenuity and creativity. Some of her experiments are a rousing success (refining her own sea salt). Others are a spectacular failure (the turkey plucker engineered from an old washing machine). Filled with practical tips and hard-won wisdom, To Boldly Grow allows us to journey alongside Haspel as she goes from cluelessness to competence, learning to scrounge dinner from the landscape around her and discovering that a direct connection to what we eat can utterly change the way we think about our food–and ourselves.
The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith
An indie musician reeling from tragedy reconnects with her estranged father on a week-long cruise in this tale of grief, fame, and love from bestselling author Jennifer E. Smith.
Greta James’s meteoric rise to indie stardom was hard-won. Before she graced magazine covers and sold out venues, she spent her girlhood strumming her guitar in the family garage. Her first fan was her mother, Helen, whose face shone bright in the dusty downtown bars where she got her start–but not everyone encouraged Greta to follow her dreams. While many daydream about a crowd chanting their name, her father, Conrad, saw only a precarious life ahead for his daughter.
Greta has spent her life trying to prove him wrong, but three months after Helen’s sudden death, and weeks before the launch of her high-stakes sophomore album, Greta has an onstage meltdown that goes viral. Attempting to outrun the humiliation and heartbreak, she reluctantly agrees to accompany her father on a week-long Alaskan cruise, the very one that her parents had booked to celebrate their fortieth anniversary.
This could be the James family’s last chance to heal old wounds and will prove to be a voyage of discovery for them, as well as for Ben Wilder, a historian also struggling with a major upheaval in his life. Ben is on board to lecture about Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, the adventure story Greta’s mother adored, and he captures Greta’s attention after her streak of dating hanger-ons. As Greta works to build up her confidence and heal, and Ben confronts his uncertain future, they must rely on one another to make sense of life’s difficult choices. In the end, Greta must make the most challenging decision of all: to listen to the song within her or make peace with those who love her.
The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
The next electrifying novel from the #1 New York Timesbestselling author duo behind The Wife Between Us.
Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers.
Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate.
When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
The Next Thing You Know by Jessica Strausser
A musician facing the untimely end of his career. An end-of-life doula with everything, and nothing, to lose. A Star Is Born meets Me Before You in this powerful novel by the author of A Million Reasons Why.
As an end-of-life doula, Nova Huston’s job—her calling, her purpose, her life—is to help terminally ill people make peace with their impending death. Unlike her business partner, who swears by her system of checklists, free-spirited Nova doesn’t shy away from difficult clients: the ones who are heartbreakingly young, or prickly, or desperate for a caregiver or companion.
When Mason Shaylor shows up at her door, Nova doesn’t recognize him as the indie-favorite singer-songwriter who recently vanished from the public eye. She knows only what he’s told her: That life as he knows it is over. His deteriorating condition makes playing his guitar physically impossible—as far as Mason is concerned, he might as well be dead already.
Except he doesn’t know how to say goodbye.
Helping him is Nova’s biggest challenge yet. She knows she should keep clients at arm’s length. But she and Mason have more in common than anyone could guess… and meeting him might turn out to be the hardest, best thing that’s ever happened to them both.
The Next Thing You Know is an emotional, resonant story about the power of human connection, love when you least expect it, hope against the odds, and what it really takes to live life with no regrets.
French Braid by Anne Tyler
From the beloved best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author–a funny, joyful, brilliantly perceptive journey deep into one Baltimore family’s foibles, from a boyfriend with a red Chevy in the 1950s up to a longed-for reunion with a grandchild in our pandemic present.
The Garretts take their first and last family vacation in the summer of 1959. They hardly ever leave home, but in some ways they have never been farther apart. Mercy has trouble resisting the siren call of her aspirations to be a painter, which means less time keeping house for her husband, Robin. Their teenage daughters, steady Alice and boy-crazy Lily, could not have less in common. Their youngest, David, is already intent on escaping his family’s orbit, for reasons none of them understand. Yet, as these lives advance across decades, the Garretts’ influences on one another ripple ineffably but unmistakably through each generation.
Full of heartbreak and hilarity, French Braid is classic Anne Tyler: a stirring, uncannily insightful novel of tremendous warmth and humor that illuminates the kindnesses and cruelties of our daily lives, the impossibility of breaking free from those who love us, and how close–yet how unknowable–every family is to itself.
The Tobacco Wives by Adele Meyers
For the audience of Fiona Davis and Lisa Wingate, a vibrant historical debut set in 1946 North Carolina following a young female seamstress who uncovers dangerous truths about the Big Tobacco empire ruling the American South.
“Myers brilliantly seduces us with her setting—a North Carolina town of beautiful socialites, opulent dresses, and elegant soirees—before revealing a terrible secret that threatens the entire community. This is a story of courage, of women willing to take a stand in the face of corporate greed, and most definitely a tale for our times.” —Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
Maddie Sykes is a burgeoning seamstress who’s just arrived in Bright Leaf, North Carolina—the tobacco capital of the South—where her aunt has a thriving sewing business. After years of war rations and shortages, Bright Leaf is a prosperous wonderland in full technicolor bloom, and Maddie is dazzled by the bustle of the crisply uniformed female factory workers, the palatial homes, and, most of all, her aunt’s glossiest clientele: the wives of the powerful tobacco executives.
When a series of unexpected events thrusts Maddie into the role of lead dressmaker for the town’s most influential women, she scrambles to produce their ornate gowns for the biggest party of the season. But she soon learns that Bright Leaf isn’t quite the carefree paradise that it seems: A trail of misfortune follows many of the women, including substantial health problems. Although Maddie is quick to believe that this is a coincidence, she inadvertently uncovers evidence that suggests otherwise.
Maddie wants to report what she knows, but in a town where everyone depends on Big Tobacco to survive, she doesn’t know who she can trust—and fears that exposing the truth may destroy the lives of the proud, strong women with whom she has forged strong bonds.
Shedding light on the hidden history of women’s activism during the post-war period, at its heart, The Tobacco Wives is a deeply human, emotionally satisfying, and dramatic novel about the power of female connection and the importance of seeking truth.
What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline
From #1 bestselling author Lisa Scottoline comes a pulse-pounding new novel.
Your family has been attacked, never again to be the same.
Now you have to choose between law…and justice.
Jason Bennett is a suburban dad who owns a court-reporting business, but one night, his life takes a horrific turn. He is driving his family home after his daughter’s lacrosse game when a pickup truck begins tailgating them, on a dark stretch of road. Suddenly two men jump from the pickup and pull guns on Jason, demanding the car. A horrific flash of violence changes his life forever.
Later that awful night, Jason and his family receive a visit from the FBI. The agents tell them that the carjackers were members of a dangerous drug-trafficking organization – and now Jason and his family are in their crosshairs. The agents advise the Bennetts to enter the witness protection program right away, and they have no choice but to agree. But WITSEC was designed to protect criminal informants, not law-abiding families. Taken from all they know, trapped in an unfamiliar life, the Bennetts begin to fall apart at the seams. Then Jason learns a shocking truth and realizes that he has to take matters into his own hands.
Until We Meet by Camille Di Maio
A poignant and page-turning story of three women whose lives are forever changed by war.…
New York City, 1943
Can one small act change the course of a life? Margaret’s job at the Navy Yard brings her freedoms she never dared imagine, but she wants to do something more personal to help the war effort. Knitting socks for soldiers is a way to occupy her quiet nights and provide comfort to the boys abroad. But when a note she tucks inside one of her socks sparks a relationship with a long-distance pen pal, she finds herself drawn to a man she’s never even met.
Can a woman hold on to her independence if she gives away her heart? Gladys has been waiting her whole life for the kinds of opportunities available to her now that so many men are fighting overseas. She’s not going to waste a single one. And she’s not going to let her two best friends waste them either. Then she meets someone who values her opinions as much as she likes giving them, and suddenly she is questioning everything she once held dear.
Can an unwed mother survive on her own? Dottie is in a dire situation—she’s pregnant, her fiancé is off fighting the war, and if her parents find out about the baby, they’ll send her away and make her give up her child. Knitting helps take her mind off her uncertain future—until the worst happens and she must lean on her friends like never before.
With their worlds changing in unimaginable ways, Margaret, Gladys, and Dottie will learn that the unbreakable bond of friendship between them is what matters most of all.
Sister Stardust by Jane Green
A PARADE MAGAZINE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR
In her first novel inspired by a true story, Jane Green re-imagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty in this transporting story from a forgotten chapter of the Swinging ’60s
From afar Talitha’s life seemed perfect. In her twenties, and already a famous model and actress, she moved from London to a palace in Marrakesh, with her husband Paul Getty, the famous oil heir. There she presided over a swirling ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and a counterculture taking root across the world.
When Claire arrives in London from her small town, she never expects to cross paths with a woman as magnetic as Talitha Getty. Yearning for the adventure and independence, she’s swept off to Marrakesh, where the two become kindred spirits. But beneath Talitha’s glamourous facade lurks a darkness few can understand. As their friendship blossoms and the two grow closer, the realities of Talitha’s precarious existence set off a chain of dangerous events that could alter Claire’s life forever.
Booth by Karen Joy Fowler
From the Man Booker finalist and bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves comes an epic and intimate novel about the family behind one of the most infamous figures in American history: John Wilkes Booth.
In 1822, a secret family moves into a secret cabin some thirty miles northeast of Baltimore, to farm, to hide, and to bear ten children over the course of the next sixteen years. Junius Booth–breadwinner, celebrated Shakespearean actor, and master of the house in more ways than one–is at once a mesmerizing talent and a man of terrifying instability. One by one the children arrive, as year by year, the country draws frighteningly closer to the boiling point of secession and civil war.
As the tenor of the world shifts, the Booths emerge from their hidden lives to cement their place as one of the country’s leading theatrical families. But behind the curtains of the many stages they have graced, multiple scandals, family triumphs, and criminal disasters begin to take their toll, and the solemn siblings of John Wilkes Booth are left to reckon with the truth behind the destructively specious promise of an early prophecy.
Booth is a startling portrait of a country in the throes of change and a vivid exploration of the ties that make, and break, a family.
In Love by Amy Bloom
This powerful memoir by New York Times bestselling author Amy Bloom is an illuminating story of two people whose love and shared life experiences led them to find a courageous way to part–and of a woman’s struggle to go forward in the face of loss.
“What a book this is–full of everything that matters . . . gripping, moving, and beautifully told.”–Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022–Oprah Daily, BookPage
Amy Bloom began to notice changes in her husband, Brian: He retired early from a new job he loved; he withdrew from close friendships; he talked mostly about the past. Suddenly, it seemed there was a glass wall between them, and their long walks and talks stopped. Their world was altered forever when an MRI confirmed what they could no longer ignore: Brian had Alzheimer’s disease.
Forced to confront the truth of the diagnosis and its impact on the future he had envisioned, Brian was determined to die on his feet, not live on his knees. Supporting each other in their last journey together, Brian and Amy made the unimaginably difficult and painful decision to go to Dignitas, an organization based in Switzerland that empowers a person to end their own life with dignity and peace.
In this heartbreaking and surprising memoir, Bloom sheds light on a part of life we so often shy away from discussing–its ending. Written in Bloom’s captivating, insightful voice and with her trademark wit and candor, In Love is an unforgettable portrait of a beautiful marriage, and a boundary-defying love.
Gallant by V.E. Schwab
Sixteen-year-old Olivia Prior is missing three things: a mother, a father, and a voice. Her mother vanished all at once, and her father by degrees, and her voice was a thing she never had to start with.
She grew up at Merilance School for Girls. Now, nearing the end of her time there, Olivia receives a letter from an uncle she’s never met, her father’s older brother, summoning her to his estate, a place called Gallant. But when she arrives, she discovers that the letter she received was several years old. Her uncle is dead. The estate is empty, save for the servants. Olivia is permitted to remain, but must follow two rules: don’t go out after dusk, and always stay on the right side of a wall that runs along the estate’s western edge.
Beyond it is another realm, ancient and magical, which calls to Olivia through her blood…
From the Sunday Times-bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and A Darker Shade of Magic comes a standalone novel where The Secret Garden meets Stardust.
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.
But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.
And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.
A Girl During the War by Anita Abriel
The author of the “unforgettable story of strength, love, and survival” (Jillian Cantor, USA TODAY bestselling author) The Light After the War returns with a sweeping and evocative story of love and purpose in WWII Italy.
Rome, 1943: University student Marina Tozzi is on her way home when she finds out that her father has been killed for harboring a Jewish artist in their home. Fearful of the consequences, Marina flees to Villa I Tatti, the Florence villa of her father’s American friend Bernard Berenson and his partner Belle da Costa Greene, the famed librarian who once curated J.P. Morgan’s library.
Florence is a hotbed of activity as partisans and Germans fight for control of the city. Marina, an art expert, begins helping Bernard catalog his library as he makes the difficult trek to neutral Switzerland, helping to hide precious cultural artifacts from the Germans. Adding to the tension, their young neighbor Carlos, a partisan, seeks out Marina for both her art expertise and her charm. Marina, swept up in the romance, dreams of a life together after the war.
But when Carlos disappears, all of Marina’s assumptions about her life in Florence are thrown into doubt, and she’ll have to travel halfway around the world to unravel what really happened during the war.
Angels of the Pacific by Elise Hooper
Their survival would depend on sisterhood and service.
Inspired by the extraordinary true stories of World War II’s American Army nurses famously known as the Angels of Bataan and the unsung contributions of Filipinas of the resistance, this novel transports us to a remarkable era of hope, bravery, perseverance, and ultimately–victory.
The Philippines, 1941. Tess Abbott, an American Army nurse, has fled the hardships of the Great Depression at home for the glamour and adventure of Manila, one of the most desirable postings in the world, but everything changes when the Japanese Imperial Army invades with lightning speed and devastating results. Tess and her band of nurses serve on the front lines until captured as prisoners of war and held behind the high stone walls of Manila’s Santo Tomas Internment Camp for four long years.
As the Japanese occupation of her beloved homeland commences, Flor Dalisay, a Filipina university student, will be drawn into the underground network of resistance and discover reserves of courage, resilience, and leadership she never knew she possessed.
The war and its aftermath will lead Tess and Flor to find each other to uncover secrets and reveal relationships they would never have predicted, as they work together to defeat the Japanese.
Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu
A “beautifully rendered” novel about war, migration, and the power of telling our stories, Peach Blossom Spring follows three generations of a Chinese family on their search for a place to call home (Georgia Hunter, New York Times bestselling author).
“Within every misfortune there is a blessing and within every blessing, the seeds of misfortune, and so it goes, until the end of time.”
It is 1938 in China and, as a young wife, Meilin’s future is bright. But with the Japanese army approaching, Meilin and her four year old son, Renshu, are forced to flee their home. Relying on little but their wits and a beautifully illustrated hand scroll, filled with ancient fables that offer solace and wisdom, they must travel through a ravaged country, seeking refuge.
Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. Though his daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down? Yet how can Lily learn who she is if she can never know her family’s story?
Spanning continents and generations, Peach Blossom Spring is a bold and moving look at the history of modern China, told through the story of one family. It’s about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the haunting question: What would it mean to finally be home?
A BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB PICK
“Left me pondering how the stories we choose to pass down have the power not only to define us, but to buoy us.” —Georgia Hunter, author of We Were the Lucky Ones
“I absolutely adored this novel . . . During moments of deep sadness and loss, there is also beauty.” —Christy Lefteri, author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo
“Inspired by her father’s real-life experiences, Melissa Fu has gifted us with a timely, moving, and universal novel.”―Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, author of The Mountains Sing
“Expansive, atmospheric, and affecting. Peach Blossom Springshows just how much the human heart can hold.” —Susie Yang, author of White Ivy
The Mozart Code by Rachel McMillan
From author Rachel McMillan comes a richly researched historical romance that takes place in post-World War II Europe and features espionage and a strong female lead.
Lady Sophia Huntington Villiers is no stranger to intrigue, as her work with Alan Turing’s Bombe Machines at Bletchley Park during the war attests. Her wartime marriage of convenience to Simon Barre, the eighth earl of Camden, granted her the independence she craved and saved his estate. Now, as part of his covert team in postwar Vienna, she uses her charm to uncover a lethal double agent immersed in the world of relics—including the long lost death mask of Mozart.
Simon is determined to gather any information he can to end the Cold War before it becomes as devastating as the war Britain has just won. He has been secretly in love with Sophie Villiers for years, and their work together in Vienna leads him to hope for genuine romance in their marriage. Until a mission in Prague drives Sophie to a decision that will brand her not only a traitor to her country but also to her husband.
With Sophie’s allegiance in question, Simon is torn between his duty to the crown and saving the woman who might have betrayed his cause and his heart.
The Match by Harlan Coben
‘At the age of somewhere between 35 and 45 – he didn’t know exactly how old he was – Wilde found his father …’
Wilde has grown up knowing nothing of his family, and even less about his own identity . All he knows is that, as a young child, he was found living a feral existence in the Ramapo mountains of New Jersey.
He became known simply as Wilde, the boy from the woods.
Now Wilde has had a hit on the DNA website he has been researching. A 100% match. His father. They meet up, and Wilde soon realises that his father doesn’t even know he had a son and is as mystified as Wilde is by his existence.
Undaunted, Wilde continues his research for his family on DNA websites where he becomes caught up in a community of online doxxers, a secret group committed to exposing anonymous trolls.
Then one by one these doxxers start to die, and it soon becomes clear that a serial killer is targeting this secret community – and that his next victim might be Wilde himself …
The Wonders by Elena Medel
Through the vivid interior worlds of two unforgettable characters, Elena Medel brings a half century of the feminist movement to life, revealing how little has really changed for women who work the night shift.
Winner of the prestigious Francisco Umbral Prize for Book of the Year and already a sensation in Spain, The Wonders follows María and Alicia through the streets of Madrid, from job to job and apartment to apartment, as they search for meaning and stability, unknowingly tracing each other’s footfalls across time.
María moved to the city in 1969, leaving her daughter with her family but hoping to save enough to take care of her one day. She worked as a housekeeper, a caregiver, a cleaner—somehow always taking care of someone else. Two generations later, during the Women’s March in 2018, Alicia was working at the snack shop in the Atocha train station when it overflowed with protesters and strikers. Women, so many women, were flooding the streets with their signs and chants. She couldn’t have known María was among them; she was on the clock. And later, she’d be looking for someone else, a man to take her away for a few hours, to make her forget. Anyone but her husband, with his pleas to go on bike rides together, to have children, to act like the other thirtysomething couples they knew.
Medel’s lyrical sensibility reveals her roots as a poet, but her fast-paced and expansive storytelling show she’s a novelist ahead of her time. With grit, texture, and mesmerizing prose, The Wonders launches an inimitable new voice in fiction.
Groundskeeping by Lee Cole
An indelible love story about two very different people navigating the entanglements of class and identity and coming of age in an America coming apart at the seams–this is an extraordinary debut about the ties that bind families together and tear them apart across generations (Ann Patchett, best-selling author of The Dutch House).
In the run-up to the 2016 election, Owen Callahan, an aspiring writer, moves back to Kentucky to live with his Trump-supporting uncle and grandfather. Eager to clean up his act after wasting time and potential in his early twenties, he takes a job as a groundskeeper at a small local college, in exchange for which he is permitted to take a writing course.
Here he meets Alma Hazdic, a writer in residence who seems to have everything that Owen lacks–a prestigious position, an Ivy League education, success as a writer. They begin a secret relationship, and as they grow closer, Alma–who comes from a liberal family of Bosnian immigrants–struggles to understand Owen’s fraught relationship with family and home.
Exquisitely written; expertly crafted; dazzling in its precision, restraint, and depth of feeling, Groundskeeping is a novel of haunting power and grace from a prodigiously gifted young writer.