cover image THE WHITE ROSE


Jean Hanff Korelitz, . . Miramax, $24.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-1-4013-5231-8

Korelitz, known for her intelligent thrillers (The Sabbathday River, etc.), strikes off in a new direction with this mordant story of aging, love and self-discovery, a reimagining of the Strauss opera Der Rosenkavalier set in upper-class Jewish New York City. Marian Kahn, gracefully aging at 48, is a respected history professor at Columbia, author of a bestselling book of popular history and solidly ensconced in a satisfactory if not brilliant marriage when suddenly she's swept away by the wild but dangerous joy of an affair with the son of her oldest friend. Twenty-six-year-old Oliver, owner of a flower shop called the White Rose, is truly in love, but when he meets graduate student and heiress Sophie Klein, the fiancée of Marian's pompous cousin, Barton Ochstein, he's blindsided and must question his still strong love for Marian. Sophie is swept away, too, by the knowledge that she may want something more out of life than the academic satisfaction she derives from the study of her own White Rose, a group of German dissidents who agitated against the Nazis. The belief that love always involves sacrifice and is worth the sacrifice it demands drives this warm, worldly novel. Even when their own comfort is at stake, Korelitz's characters succumb to generous impulses, making this a satisfying, emotionally rich read. Agent, Suzanne Gluck. (Jan.)