Many years ago, my dear friend Kristin told me about a British author named Emily Barr and a book called Backpack. Kristin has smashing taste in prose, so I bought it. And I read every page of that thing so hard it should’ve turned to pulp. Since then, I’ve ravaged every novel that Ms. Barr, a former travel columnist, has ever written. I just finished her latest work, The First Wife, in less than three days1. When I read a Barr Book, the world basically (and gloriously) stops, and I basically (and gloriously) can’t do anything else until I complete it. As with books by Isabel Allende, Laura Esquivel, David Sedaris, and Laurie Notaro, I scribble the release date of every forthcoming Barr treasure in my planner and pre-order it. Her books are only available in the United Kingdom, so I always have to ship them across the pond. If you like pithy thrillers about strong (or soon-to-be-strong) women, have an obsession with Europe, Asian, and/or Australian travel, and love learning new British catchphrases, you just might enjoy Emily Barr half as much as I do.