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“In my view, The Human Comedy is the best restaurant guide you could ask for, for the era,” suggests Anka Muhlstein, author of Balzac’s Omelette. “Balzac was a regular at some forty restaurants, and he sent his characters off into the most refined establishments, as well as into the lowliest ones. The result is both an ideal Michelin Guide of gastronomical delights (and disasters) in nineteenth-century Paris, and an enchanting introduction to the work of one of the greatest French novelists.”

Lamb traces the self-discovery of David Lamb, a narcissistic middle aged man with a tendency toward dishonesty, in the weeks following the disintegration of his marriage and the death of his father. Hoping to regain some faith in his own goodness, he turns his attention to Tommie, an awkward and unpopular eleven-year-old girl. Lamb is convinced that he can help her avoid a destiny of apathy and emptiness, and even comes to believe that his devotion to Tommie is in her best interest.

“My novel The Reservoir began forming in my mind shortly after I read a paragraph in a book on Richmond history,” explains John Milliken Thompson. “The paragraph mentioned a criminal court case that took place in 1885 after the body of a young woman was found floating in the old city reservoir. I started doing some research, investigating the case and the period like a historian and journalist. I also began writing.”