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This Just In

Interesting new titles in September

The Lost Pre-Raphaelite: The Secret Lives and Loves of Robert Bateman by Nigel Daly

Wilmington Square Books
The Lost Pre-Raphaelite: The Secret Lives and Loves of Robert Bateman by Nigel Daly

When the author bought a fortified house in Staffordshire, he discovered a mysterious set of relationships revolving round a now almost forgotten artist. Robert Bateman, a prominent Pre-Raphaelite, was the son of a local millionaire and was to marry the granddaughter of the Earl of Carlisle. But he had abandoned his life as a public artist in mid-career to live as a recluse, while his father lost his money, and his glamorous wife-to-be had married the local vicar, already in his sixties and shortly to die. The discovery of two paintings by Bateman, both clearly autobiographical, led to an absorbing forensic investigation into Bateman's life. The story moves from Staffordshire to Lahore in India, to Canada, to Wyoming, and then, via Buffalo Bill to Peru and back to England. En route the author pieces together an astonishing story of love and loss, of art and politics, of morality and hypocrisy, of family secrets, concealed but never quite completely obscured.

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I'll Drink to That: A Life in Style With a Twist by Betty Halbreich

Penguin Press

Eighty-six-year-old Betty Halbreich is a true original who could have stepped straight out of Stephen Sondheim's repertoire. She has spent nearly forty years as the legendary personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman. She has helped many find their true selves through clothes, frank advice, and her own brand of wisdom. She is trusted by the most discriminating persons -- including Hollywood's top stylists -- to tell them what looks best. But Halbreich's personal transformation from cosseted young girl to a fearless truth teller is the greatest makeover of her career.

A Chicago native, Halbreich moved to Manhattan at twenty after marrying the dashing Sonny Halbreich, a sophisticated New Yorker who enjoyed the city's nightlife. On the surface, they were a great match, but looks can be deceiving; an unfaithful Sonny was emotionally distant while Halbriech became increasingly anguished. After two decades, the fraying marriage finally came undone. Bereft without Sonny and her identity as a wife, she hit rock bottom.

After she began the frightening process of reclaiming herself and started therapy, Halbreich was offered a lifeline in the form of a job at the legendary luxury store Bergdorf Goodman. Soon, she was asked to run the store's first personal shopping service. It was a perfect fit. Meticulous, impeccable, hardworking, elegant and -- most of all -- delightfully funny, Halbreich has never been afraid to tell it to her clients straight. She won't sell something just to sell it. If an outfit or shoe or purse is too expensive, she'll dissuade you from buying it. As Helbreich says, "There are two things nobody wants to face: their closet and their mirror." She helps women do both, every day.

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The Dog by Joseph O'Neill

The Dog by Joseph O

The author of the best-selling and award-winning Netherland now gives us his eagerly awaited, stunningly different new novel: a tale of alienation and heartbreak in Dubai.

Distraught by a breakup with his long-term girlfriend, our unnamed hero leaves New York to take an unusual job in a strange desert metropolis. In Dubai at the height of its self-invention as a futuristic Shangri-la, he struggles with his new position as the “family officer” of the capricious and very rich Batros family. And he struggles, even more helplessly, with the “doghouse,” a seemingly inescapable condition of culpability in which he feels himself constantly trapped—even if he’s just going to the bathroom, or reading e-mail, or scuba diving. A comic and philosophically profound exploration of what has become of humankind’s moral progress, The Dog is told with Joseph O’Neill’s hallmark eloquence, empathy, and storytelling mastery. It is a brilliantly original, achingly funny fable for our globalized times.

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Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul by Charles King

W.W. Norton
Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul by Charles King

At midnight, December 31, 1925, citizens of the newly proclaimed Turkish Republic celebrated the New Year. For the first time ever, they had agreed to use a nationally unified calendar and clock.

Yet in Istanbul—an ancient crossroads and Turkey's largest city—people were looking toward an uncertain future. Never purely Turkish, Istanbul was home to generations of Greeks, Armenians, and Jews, as well as Muslims. It welcomed White Russian nobles ousted by the Russian Revolution, Bolshevik assassins on the trail of the exiled Leon Trotsky, German professors, British diplomats, and American entrepreneurs—a multicultural panoply of performers and poets, do-gooders and ne’er-do-wells. During the Second World War, thousands of Jews fleeing occupied Europe found passage through Istanbul, some with the help of the future Pope John XXIII. At the Pera Palace, Istanbul's most luxurious hotel, so many spies mingled in the lobby that the manager posted a sign asking them to relinquish their seats to paying guests.

In beguiling prose and rich character portraits, Charles King brings to life a remarkable era when a storied city stumbled into the modern world and reshaped the meaning of cosmopolitanism.

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