The Trial of True Love

William Nicholson, Author . Doubleday/Talese $18.95 (287p) ISBN 978-0-385-51625-9

Screenwriter, playwright and novelist Nicholson (Shadowlands ; Gladiator ; The Society of Others ) offers up talky, philosophical characters in "a story about falling in love" set in 1977, the year the narrator Bron turns 30. When his friend (and ex-girlfriend) Anna kicks him out of their shared London flat, Bron retreats to the countryside home of his friend Bernard. He plans to write a book about true love, focusing on the case history of French postimpressionist painter Paul Marotte, who was smitten during a chance meeting with the woman who became his lover and muse. Bron—who has always been commitment-shy—finds his life echoing the painter's when he meets and instantly falls for Bernard's cousin, the beautiful, mysterious Flora. When he tells her of his feelings, she flees—setting Bron on a journey to Amsterdam, where he meets the eccentric art dealer Freddy Christiansen, who owns some of Marotte's letters and paintings and also knows Flora. Bron's continual musings on true love grow trite and repetitive, and the outcome of his romantic quest is less of a surprise than what he learns about Marotte. Still, Nicholson pulls off an ending that resounds with the echoes of romance that his narrator has been pondering. (Mar. 21)

PW EDITORS’ PICKS FOR
THE BEST NEW BOOKS
PW EDITORS’ PICKS FOR THE BEST NEW BOOKS