Lucky Break

British novelist Esther Freud (Hideous Kinky) turns her unflinching (but not uncaring) gaze on the life of the young actor -- with all its vanity and passion, lofty dreams and crushing blows. The author's talent is such that you'll care more about her three main characters, who meet as drama students and find varying levels of success, than you ever thought possible.

April 21: " 'Pull' includes 'invitations to tea' at which one hears smiling reminders that a better life is available to people who stop talking about massacres..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…