3 Novels to Devour Over a Long Weekend (Plus 4 Other Entrancing Reads)

We found the juiciest, most page-turning stories out there, just in time for the beginning of fall. (P.S. They go perfectly with a midnight piece of apple pie.)
Small Blessings

Small Blessings

320 pages; St. Martin's Press
Imagine: A tall, middle-aged, college-dropout bookstore clerk with just the slightest bump in her nose (from an old basketball injury) moves to a university town full of insular, gossiping academics—and bewitches the entire community. Respectable, pompous male professors fall for her. Brilliant but socially maladapted female professors revere her. Why? Because "Here, at this isolated seat of southern learning, where everyone clung to busy-ness as though it were proof of an importance in the larger, more meaningful world, was a person who dared to seem relaxed, as though she had time to draw breath and listen to what someone was saying and even think about it for a moment or two." Although the romance of Rose Callahan and a certain Shakespearean scholar named Tom Putnam drives the story—complicated by the death of his wife and the appearance of his illegitimate young son—it's Rose herself who entrances. You even end up falling in love with her—as if you were a character in the story, seeking her wisdom on, say, what a chaotic childhood can teach you ("change was not only dependable, it was omnivorous"). Like the word "magical," the word "charming" has been used—and misused—so much in book reviews that it sometimes feels as if you can no longer trust it. But this book is a charmer: quirky, clear-hearted and effervescent.
— Leigh Newman