The Nun

This sensuous Italian historical novel, set in the early and mid-1800s, follows headstrong Agata Padellani, whose family falls on hard times after the death of her father. Agata is compelled to join a convent, dashing her hopes for marriage. There, she passes the time reading novels sent to her by an English sea captain for whom she eventually discovers she has feelings that threaten to unsettle her life inside the convent. Readers will be seduced by Simonetta Agnelo Hornby's lush romance.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

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…