The Annotated Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. As with many of her fans, P&P is my favorite Austen novel, one which I revisit almost every year for the sheer reading pleasure she provides. Picking up this sumptuous version, however, made me feel like I was getting an entirely new reading experience! The color plates, the annotated text, the heavy acid-free paper, and beautiful design all contrive to make this book a must-have for every Austen fan. And at $35 for a coffee-table sized format, this book really is an affordable luxury. Take a look at this gorgeous new offering from Harvard University Press/Belknap, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks. I bought a copy of this book for myself.
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. This lush novel interweaves three separate stories which span most of the 20th century. All of the factors for a great English mood novel are present: a castle, a family whose creative streak is matched only by its madness, three spinster sisters, a quaint village, mysterious disappearances, ancient secrets, tragic misunderstandings, and a young publisher trying to sort fact from fiction in the local lore. The stories meander at a deliberate (other readers might say slow) pace, converging all in the last chapter in a very satisfying way. This book is perfect for those readers who want to sink their teeth into an atmospheric novel that will make them want to curl up for hours with a pot o' tea. Published by Atria, a division of Simon & Schuster. My terrific sales rep, John Muse, provided me with the ARC of this book to read.