Now & Then

By Jacqueline Sheehan

When her husband leaves her for another woman, Anna O’Shea begins an epic quest for a new life.

First up on the agenda -- a get away from it all trip to Ireland with a sympathetic girlfriend. But even before she arrives -- the plane almost crashes -- things begin to unravel for Anna.

No sooner has she collapsed onto her hotel bed but the phones rings with more bad news -- her brother has been critically injured in a car crash, and to make things worse, he was on his way to pick up his son Joseph, who was cooling his heels in a detention center.

Sheehan, a New York Times bestselling author, has an appetite for magic when it comes to storytelling, and she’s adept at delivering miraculous second chances to people who have been trapped in the hard details of their own lives.

When Sheehan’s character Anna becomes Joseph’s guardian, she gets much more than she bargained for when it comes to resolving the conflicts of the past. With the help of the Irish people she encounters, and with assistance from a particularly intelligent Irish wolfhound, Anna and Joseph come to terms with their own pasts, and find a new path to the future.

Avon, $13.99

All the Dead Voices

By Declan Hughes

When a Dublin revenue inspector is killed the only person who misses him -- his grieving daughter -- goes to Ed Loy, the tough as nails Irish private detective convinced that the wrong man has been convicted of the murder. 

This is the fourth novel in the Loy series by playwright and novelist Hughes, and “All the Dead Voices” gives expression to some of his longstanding obsessions -- Irish history, the Dublin criminal underworld, and the violence that can lurk behind even the most placid city streets.

It’s interesting to note how well Hughes has married the resolutely American wisecracking gumshoe format to the party like there’s no tomorrow aspects of the once mighty Celtic Tiger society. There’s a surprising seamlessness to the two contrasting genres that is the result of Hughes mastery of his form.

In “All the Dead Voices” he’s at the top of his game.

Morrow, $25.99

The Goodness of Guinness

By Tony Corcoran

Some people speak of Guinness with the reverence usually reserved for popular saints.

Because beer lovers, millions of them worldwide, know that a just poured pint of stout is more than just a drink, just a beer. It refreshes the spirit and the soul too, says Tony Corcoran.

Corcoran’s family -- both of his grandfathers and five of his uncles -- worked for Guinness, and he himself spent 38 years at the legendary Dublin brewery.

“The Goodness of Guinness,” the ultimate insider’s account of the company and the people who made it, is filled with insight, humor and evocative illustrations that brings generations of the beer empire to life.

Guinness once existed as a sort of city within the city, providing its employees with medical benefits, housing, social clubs, bank accounts and sports facilities, and brightening the lives of all who worked for it.

Skyhorse, $16.95

The Lace Makers of Glenmara

By Heather Barbieri

There’s more than a hint of Maeve Binchy in “The Lace Makers of Glenmara,” the romantic new novel from Irish-American novelist Heather Barbieri.

When young Kate, the 26-year-old hero of Barbieri’s tale, flees to Ireland -- a more and more popular destination for Irish American women seeking reinvention after heartbreak and personal loss -- she arrives in the picturesque village of Glenmara on the west coast.

Soon she’s practically a local, with all the rights, privileges and sometimes conflicts that come with it.

“You can always start again,” counsels Kate’s mother wisely at the start of her Irish journey, “all it takes is a new thread.”

Soon Kate has brought the forces of modernity, in the shape of a new line of racy lace lingerie that she and the other lace makers are creating, to the sleepy little Irish village. And right away she comes face to face with conservative forces pushing back against her plan.

All she needs now is a handsome and enigmatic man to enter her life and take her side – and before you can say “A Circle of Friends,” he appears.

Harper, $24.99