Simon’s Family ($24.00; Oct.; 336 pp.; 0-345-43459-5). Another highly readable saga from the Swedish author of the popular Hanna’s Daughters (1998), this literate romance traces with warm empathy the friendship between the eponymous Simon (Larsson), the son of a family threatened by its own secrets, as well as by the approaching (Second World) War, and Isak Lentov, whose German-Jewish family finds both sanctuary and psychic disintegration in its adopted country. At her best (that is, when not gently lecturing the reader), Fredriksson seems almost a Scandinavian R.F. Delderfield: a chronicler of ordinary lives whose judicious mingling of sentimentality and realism makes for absorbing and satisfying reading.