Our favorite books coming out this week include new titles from Laura Lee Guhrke, Linda Kao, and Sarah Stewart Taylor.

Bookshop Cinderella

Laura Lee Guhrke. Forever, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-5387-2262-6
A bet thrusts a lonely spinster into society in this enchanting Victorian London–set mash-up of Pygmalion and “Cinderella” from bestseller Guhrke (the Guilty series). Max Shaw, Duke of Westbourne, drunkenly bets his friends that he can transform “plain, unremarkable” bookstore owner Evie Harlow into a much sought-after beauty. When Evie learns of this wager she is of course appalled—but then a burst boiler displaces her from her home. Not wanting to stay with her condescending cousin, Evie agrees to let Max make her over, a deal that comes with a room at the Savoy hotel, a new wardrobe, and an introduction into society. As Evie worries she’ll embarrass them both, Max grows increasingly intrigued. He likes Evie’s straightforwardness and sees the beauty beneath her matronly hairstyles and adorable overbite. Evie, meanwhile, is taken by Max’s thoughtfulness and flustered by his interest. Evie is opposed to marrying a peer and Max has been burned by a failed marriage, so he plans a slow courtship. When scandal breaks, however, their fragile budding relationship may be doomed. Guhrke makes the pair’s romance utterly believable and easy to root for. Packed with chemistry and fun, this is a fairy tale treat. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marshal Lyon Literary. (June)

A Stolen Child: A Maggie D’Arcy Mystery

Sarah Stewart Taylor. Minotaur, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-2508-2668-8
The opening to Stewart Taylor’s stellar fourth Maggie D’Arcy adventure (after 2022’s The Drowning Sea) finds the former Long Island detective back in uniform, having joined the Dublin police force so she can begin a new life in Ireland with her boyfriend and daughter. While responding to the murder of a reality TV star, Maggie and her new partner realize they’d responded to a call at the same location a few days earlier, only to have the victim send them away. Wracked with guilt and questioning whether she should have pressed further during her first call, Maggie learns that the victim also has a young child who’s gone missing. With most of Maggie’s colleagues consumed by another high-profile murder, Maggie heads up both the homicide and missing child investigations, eventually leading an extensive—and increasingly dangerous—nationwide hunt for the killer. Stewart Taylor keeps the plot tight and makes satisfying links between the two major cases, but her particular skill lies in the psychological depth with which she draws Maggie and her home life. Readers will be eager to follow the detective’s future Irish exploits. Agent: Esmond Harmsworth, Aevitas Creative Management. (June)

A Crooked Mark

Linda Kao. Razorbill, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-52757-3
Kao deftly blends chilling, slow-burn psychological horror with supernatural elements and moving relationships in this intense debut. Seventeen-year-old Matt Watts works with his father as members of Second Sweep, a covert organization dedicated to identifying and executing people marked by Lucifer. The Marked, those who have escaped certain death, are considered very dangerous, especially because of their rapidly developing abilities that allow them to psychically manipulate their surroundings. Matt’s first solo mission is to befriend and, if necessary, execute 16-year-old Rae Winter, the sole survivor of a multi-fatality car accident. Matt inserts himself into Rae’s mundane life, moving to the charming suburb of Mills Creek and enrolling in school for the first time after being homeschooled by his father. But as the two teens grow closer, Matt struggles to reconcile kind and beautiful Rae with the treacherous Marked he’s been forced to annihilate, and confront horrifying truths about his profession. Through Matt’s snarky first-person narration, Kao weaves a captivating tale laced with aptly fatalistic humor that closely examines the unraveling of one teen’s entire worldview and the overwhelming stress of living a double life. Matt is half Chinese, half white; Rae has light brown hair and hazel eyes. Ages 14–up. (June)

Where Echoes Die

Courtney Gould. Wednesday, $20 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-82579-7
A mysterious letter impels two sisters to investigate the circumstances behind their mother’s death in this supernatural thrill ride by Gould (The Dead and the Dark). A few weeks after their mother’s death, 17-year-old Beck Birsching and her 15-year-old sister Riley travel from Everett, Wash., to the unincorporated community of Backravel, Ariz., the scene of the unfinished investigation that consumed their reporter mother’s final years. The siblings find that Backravel is an idyllic yet unnaturally empty town filled with a mishmash of gleaming new construction and rusting old military structures. Hoping to complete her mother’s life’s work, Beck obsessively delves into the mystery surrounding charismatic town leader Ricky Carnes, his daughter Avery, and the enigmatic treatment center looming over the streets. Beck is a smart and tough-as-nails heroine whose personal journal entries and careful observations drive the central mystery. Touching explorations of her relationships with her mother, Riley, and Avery bring the emotional core to the fore as Gould, via a close third-person perspective, carefully weaves together a powerful portrait of grief and healing that’s equal parts unnerving and heartbreaking. Most characters cue as white. Ages 14–up. (June)

Business or Pleasure

Rachel Lynn Solomon. Berkley, $17.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-54853-0
Solomon (Weather Girl) delights with this hot and heartfelt rom-com. Ghostwriter Chandler Cohen heads straight to the bar after suffering through a book party for the celebrity memoir bestseller that no one knows she wrote. She feels an instant zing of attraction with the stranger who plops down next to her and decides a quick hookup is just what she needs—leading to some truly awkward and uncomfortable sex (“This man has no idea where the clitoris is”). At least she’ll never have to see him again, right? Unfortunately, her inept lover turns out to be washed-up heartthrob actor Finn Walsh, her new client. They’re going to collaborate on Finn’s memoir and agree to keep things professional—until Chandler lets slip that their night together wasn’t as mind-blowing as Finn seems to believe. She thinks she’s going to be fired, but instead Finn asks Chandler to coach him into being a better lover through a series of steamy “intimacy lessons.” While it’s no surprise that Finn and Chandler get a happy ending, Solomon fills the journey there with clever twists and turns and supportive, realistically drawn family and friends, who offer advice and encouragement along the way. This is a joy. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary. (July)

National Dish: Around the World in Search of Food, History, and the Meaning of Home

Anya von Bremzen. Penguin Press, $29 (352p) ISBN 978-0-735-22316-5
“Never have we been more cosmopolitan about what we eat—and yet never more essentialist,” declares James Beard Award–winning food writer von Bremzen (Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking) in this revealing and richly detailed exploration of six national cuisines. The culinary tour begins in France, which became the site of the “first explicitly national discourse about food” as its cuisine was deemed a “uniquely French cultural product.” However, von Bremzen points out, “Gallic culinary exceptionalism has taken a terrific beating” over the last few decades, thanks to a “cascade of crises” including the “global fast-food invasion.” In Naples, she uncovers pizza’s 18th-century roots as a “dirt-cheap, palatable street food,” and discovers that the origin story of the city’s popularly touted pizza Margherita, which involves a charismatic queen of the same name who favored the “patriotic tricolore pie,” may be a nationalist fiction. Von Bremzen, who emigrated from the U.S.S.R. in the 1970s, concludes with a moving epilogue about borscht—a dish with Ukrainian roots that Russia has claimed as its own—that, in light of the war in Ukraine, vividly illustrates how food “carries the emotional charge of a flag and an anthem” and often belies a more complicated story than meets the eye. Fans of food and travel writing will want to sink their teeth into this. (June)

Adult Drama and Other Essays

Natalie Beach. Hanover Square, $32.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-335-91402-6
Beach, who is best known for her viral 2019 essay documenting her fraught relationship with social media starlet Caroline Calloway, debuts with an elegant memoir-in-essays that mixes gossipy anecdotes about that friendship with gorgeously rendered reflections on her own life. “Distressed Denim” explores the sexual politics of Abercrombie and Fitch’s low-rise jeans (“There are no atheists in an Abercrombie dressing room,” it begins, “so I prayed... please fit, please look good for one goddamn time”) from Beach’s perspective as an insecure 14-year-old; “Self-Centered” recounts Beach’s sophomore year in college, when she met Calloway, with whom she ghostwrote a book proposal and countless social media posts; “Abortion Abortion” deals with Beach’s experiences as a volunteer at an abortion clinic in spring 2017; “Wifeliness” examines in painful detail the swift death of Beach’s mother-in-law, Mary Ellen, due to pancreatic cancer. Throughout, Beach’s wide-eyed honesty and utter lack of pretense (“There’s no good way to end a memoir, short of elegantly dropping dead after you write the final sentence,” she muses at one point) contribute to the sense that she’s mined every inch of her experience for these pieces. Incisive and candid, this is a must-read. Agent: Cait Hoyt and Mollie Glick, CAA. (June)

Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam

Thien Pham. First Second, $25.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-80971-1; $17.99 paper ISBN 978-1-2508-0972-8
Pham employs food as a vehicle to chronicle his and his family’s treacherous experience as Vietnamese refugees in this arresting graphic novel memoir, a debut. In the book’s first chapter, a bespectacled adult Pham recalls “my very first memory... from when I was five.” A spread rendered in inky line and muted color washes depicts an overcrowded boat carrying Vietnamese evacuees suffering from thirst, hunger, and fear. When their vessel is beset by pirates, Pham’s parents instruct him to close his eyes; pages of void-like darkness interspersed by red-toned scenes of the pirates’ violent acts follow as Pham’s parents assure him that they’re “right here. It will be okay.” Upon surviving the siege, Pham is given a rice ball, the last of the family’s food: “To this day,” Pham writes, “I can still taste that rice ball.” Subsequent chapters recount the family’s travels from Songkhla refugee camp to San Jose, Calif. Pham reflects the push-pull conflict of assimilation and cultural loss as explored through food in digitally illustrated panels portraying visual feasts and expressive emotion, making for a vivid and insightful telling that offers joy and hope amid the terror. Ages 14–up. (June)