A quick introduction to some new arrivals, and we'll begin with Sort Of Books' new edition of Maria Edgeworth's Patronage: A Novel in Four Parts, first published in 1814, which will be out early next month.
This was one of the most eagerly anticipated novels of Jane Austen's day and it sold out within hours of publication; it also earned its author the highest advance of its time: £2,000! An entertaining page-turner, it's "a bright and mischievous critique of the way young men [in Regency England] gained careers and young women gained husbands."
Next, a book I've had my eye on since it was released a couple of months ago, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman. Here's the gist: "In her endlessly giving, funny and thoughtful book, Elif Batuman travels through California, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Hungary and Russia itself, finding everywhere echoes of the lives and work of the great Russian writers. And proving on her way that writing about writing can be as beautiful, truthful and engaging as the best novel - and that a life filled with books can be stranger than a Gogol short story."
"In 2009, six years after her mother's death, Gully Wells returns to La Migoua, the house in Provence which belonged to her mother - the glamorous, funny, unpredictable and furiously rude American journalist, Dee Wells. Surrounded by the clutter of decades, Gully is taken back to her childhood, to her mother, her adored stepfather - the celebrated, brilliant, womanising Oxford philosopher, A.J. Ayer - and to the rich memories that the house evokes. [...] Unsentimental and gloriously witty, The House in France is a vivid and moving love letter to a beloved mother, and a celebration of family, of growing up and of the spirit of a cherished house."