"Irena's Children" by Tilar J. Mazzeo.

"Irena's Children" by Tilar J. Mazzeo. Credit: Gallery Books

MERCURY, by Margot Livesey. An enigmatic, unhappy marriage is at the center of Livesey’s ninth novel. Donald is a Boston optometrist by way of Scotland, emotionally cut off and grieving his father’s death from Parkinson’s disease. His wife, Viv, manages a stable and is obsessed with Mercury, a thoroughbred she fiercely wants to make a champion. Secrets and lies lurk in the background. (Harper, $26.99)

IRENA’S CHILDREN: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto, by Tilar J. Mazzeo. Called the “female Oskar Schindler,” Irena Sendler was a public health worker who began smuggling Jewish children of Poland past the Nazis with fake documents — while keeping hidden records of the children’s real names and families in hopes of reuniting them after the war. (Gallery, $26)

SHIRLEY JACKSON: A Rather Haunted Life, by Ruth Franklin. The author of the classic story “The Lottery” and the sophisticated horror novels “The Haunting of Hill House” and “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” is finally being recognized as a great American writer. This biography shows how the Vermont-based mother of four and wife of a prominent critic created a literary career of her own. (Liveright, $35)

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