Leaving Rock Harbor (Scribner)
Set in a Massachusetts mill town, Chace’s story takes us from World War I through the Jazz Age into the Depression. The jacket copy calls it a coming-of-age story, but that label doesn’t do justice to the book’s emotional range, which is wedded to its historical reach. Frankie Ross grows from a perky and perceptive teenager in a working-class family into a frisky young woman who climbs the social ladder at a time of worker unrest and suffragette movements. Those cultural tensions, coupled with Frankie’s love for two men—one rich, one poor—catapult her into a roaring ’20s adulthood and haunt her Depression-era comedown and flight towards a murky future. Like the offspring of some Anne Tyler/John Updike union, Chace writes crisply and poetically and imbues Frankie with just enough flaws to make her both lovable and entirely believable.
Rebecca Chace reads from Leaving Rock Harbor at Salisbury University on October 14.
I’d Know You Anywhere (Morrow)
Lippman’s new novel is—like 2009’s Life Sentences and 2007’s What the Dead Know—a standalone, Tess-less affair. And when Lippman shelves her beloved P.I., Tess Monaghan, she tends to wade into more psychologically complex waters. That’s certainly the case here, as 38-year-old-mother-of-two Eliza Benedict grapples with the fallout from being kidnapped by a serial killer, Walter Bowman, when she was a teen. Eliza does her best to distance herself from the trauma, but that space rapidly closes when Bowman contacts her from Death Row, forcing Eliza to confront her past and Bowman in a variety of ways. Lippman does an excellent job injecting ambiguity into the proceedings, crafting a nuanced gem, for longtime fans and newbies alike.