Vikki Valentine

What is lurking beneath Herbert Powyss' house?

That's the question at the center of British author Alix Nathan's novel, The Warlow Experiment. Powyss is a country gentleman. He prefers gardens and books to people; spends his days designing hothouses for his estate, growing exotic seeds, grafting pear trees and submitting minor horticultural findings to the world's preeminent scientific body, the Royal Society.

How far would you go to get away from a narcissistic mother?

If you're 20-year-old Betty Braithwaite, you'd rather face the London Blitz than go back home. But then Betty's mother heads straight for the bombs to fetch her back.