Here’s what’s new in bookstores this week:
▪ A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (Knopf, $25.95) — The Pulitzer Prize-winning author (1988’s Breathing Lessons) is back with her 20th novel (said to be her last). Set in Baltimore, it focuses on the nuances of an everyday family, the Whitshanks — mother Abby, father Red and their four grown children. The quirky group faces the usual family situations: sibling rivalry, skeletons in the closet, marital secrets, loss, drama and lots of love. The audiobook (Random House Audio, $45) is narrated by actress Kimberly Farr.
▪ Golden State by Stephanie Kegan (Simon & Schuster, $25) — Twenty-five years after her first novel, The Baby, the author returns with this family drama. Natalie Askedahl grew up in a prominent political family in California. Now, she’s a suburban wife, mom and third-grade teacher, whose beloved brother, Bobby, has gone way off the grid (shades of the Unabomber). When Bobby is implicated in a string of deadly bombings on college campuses, Natalie is driven by love and loyalty to help him, disrupting her life in the process.
▪ The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki (Howard Books, $26) — The bestselling author follows her debut novel, 2014’s The Traitor’s Wife, with a sweeping tale about the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph. It’s set in Austria in the mid-1800s with the Habsburg Empire, which stretched from Russia to Italy, as the backdrop. At age 15, Elisabeth (“Sisi”), the duchess of Bavaria, steals the young emperor’s heart (he was supposed to marry her sister!) and takes her place in the Habsburg Court despite challenges from Franz Joseph’s meddling, domineering mother.
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— Celeste Williams