My office was filled with ARCs but there was something about the cover and the title that intrigued me to take home Linda Olsson's debut novel, Astrid & Veronika (Penguin, Mar.). I had just finished and loved Lee Smith's On Agate Hill and wondered what would match the intensity of that story and hold me spellbound in my reading journey. Linda's book was perfect. I loved the gentle flow of the story, her ability to draw me into the women's lives and the tension she creates with her hints of their past lives, which are revealed only when the characters are comfortable enough with each other to offer details. Olsson's adroit prose draws the reader carefully and slowly into the story. It will surely be at the top of my list for books to recommend to book groups. As a buyer and bookseller for over 32 years, it is rare that I find a book that brings such joy and reverence. Although simple in scope, it captures the whole realm of women's friendships and their importance in our lives.