THE GUEST BOOK, by Sarah Blake. (Flatiron, 512 pp., $17.99.) “Welcome to old money, new heartbreak, big secrets and the kind of mouthwatering picnics nobody packs in real life,” was how Elisabeth Egan began her review of this novel set on the Maine island where the Milton family summers. After a tragedy Egan “did not see coming,” a granddaughter makes a shocking discovery.
COVENTRY: Essays, by Rachel Cusk. (Picador, 256 pp., $17.) Having completed her self-imposed exile from autobiographical writing, Cusk is back with personal essays that verge on the political, and “rigorous and uncompromising” cultural criticism. “Like the best artists,” our reviewer, Meghan O’Gieblyn, proclaimed, she has succeeded in “transforming her private crises into an expansive aesthetic vision.”
THE SECOND FOUNDING: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution, by Eric Foner. (Norton, 304 pp., $17.95.) In this “disciplined, powerful and moving” work of scholarship — according to our reviewer, Lincoln Caplan — Foner makes “a surprisingly optimistic argument”: that the Civil War era’s “most tangible legacies” are the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, each “with a clause empowering Congress to enforce their provisions, guaranteeing that Reconstruction would be an ongoing process” continuing through the present day.
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 TREES, by Jonathan Drori. Illustrations by Lucille Clerc. (Laurence King, 240 pp., $19.99.) Our reviewer, Dominique Browning, called this study of “the ways humans and trees interact,” by a former trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, “exquisite.”