Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand
Hilderbrand leaves the beach for this Christmas novel—though it's still set on her beloved Nantucket.
Increasingly, best-selling authors are producing Christmas novels, family dramas in which the Christmas Spirit prevails. They often seem like rushed marketing ploys, though occasionally they hold up to the author's own standards. Hilderbrand's falls somewhere in between; her skill at creating character is present, but the plot feels constrained and a little predictable. A quick read to get you in the holiday mood, but not as strong as Hilderbrand's best.
Over the course of his career, William Gibson has correctly predicted a broad range of real-life technological advances—from the Web to virtual Japanese pop stars, like the one that just appeared on Letterman—and how human life would change to adapt to them. (Grade: A)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
The Handsome Man's DeLuxe Café (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series #15) by Alexander McCall Smith
The official case, as so often, involves no obvious crime. When an amnesiac Indian lady carrying no identification wanders into the home of Mr. Sengupta and his widowed sister, “Miss Rose” Chattopadhyay, they naturally take her in but tell Precious Ramotswe that they’d feel better if they knew who their uninvited tenant was and where she’d come from. … The Handsome Man’s DeLuxe Café, runs into sadly predictable problems. … Thanks to that sturdy deus ex machina, Orphan Farm matron Mma Potokwane, all’s well that ends well in perhaps the most tranquil and unruffled entry in this renowned series.