Love & War
by James Carville & Mary Matalin (Blue Rider, $29)
This “compelling if sometimes disjointed” dual memoir successfully opens a window on a surprisingly durable couple, said Roberta Bernstein in USA Today. James Carville and Mary Matalin were dating when they ran opposing campaigns in the 1992 presidential race, and they married in 1993. Carville has a mostly laid-back tone on the page that doesn’t always mesh with Matalin’s intensity. Still, “their voices are the glue” in this account of their often-harried married life, a union clearly built to last.
It’s Not You
by Sara Eckel (Perigee, $15)
Sara Eckel’s new book “speaks to the insecurities of single ladies at any age,” said Keziah Weir in Elle. Expanding on a popular New York Times article, Eckel debunks clichéd admonitions doled out to singletons of a certain age. Anyone who’s been told that they’re “too picky” or “too independent” can take comfort in her reminder that love keeps its own calendar and isn’t passing judgment on those left waiting. Her “satisfyingly non-goal-oriented” advice: Singles should live with full confidence that they’re worthy.
Under the Wide and Starry Sky
by Nancy Horan (Ballantine, $26)
Robert Louis Stevenson wasn’t a great husband for the long haul, but the 19th-century novelist made a great romantic figure in his youth, said Susann Cokal in The New York Times. Nancy Horan, whose last novel explored Frank Lloyd Wright’s love life, has this time built a deep, detailed history of Stevenson’s marriage to a “dusky-skinned” Californian he meets in Paris, launching a peripatetic courtship whose main constant is his frail health. Though the narrative eventually loses energy, the marriage dynamics feel true.
Pat and Dick
by Will Swift (Threshold, $30)
Few people will revise their opinions of Richard Nixon after reading this “rose-colored” account of his marriage, said Tom Moran in the Chicago Tribune. Though biographer Will Swift paints sympathetic portraits of both husband and wife, reality keeps creeping in. The young Nixon’s courtship tactics might today be considered “grounds for a restraining order,” and Pat seems only to have encouraged his penchant to nurse resentments. Still, the couple had a real bond, and you won’t doubt that Pat’s 1993 death finally did Nixon in.