RaveThe Seattle Book Review... unsurprisingly well-crafted essays. Indeed, they feel a bit like sharing coffee with an old friend on a long, rainy afternoon. It is not always clear where the conversation may go, but it will be comfortable and lead someplace interesting ... For those who enjoyed Patchett’s earlier work, including The Patron Saint of Liars, The Magician’s Assistant, and more recently, The Dutch House, or those simply looking for thought-provoking essays, this collection will more than satisfy.
RaveBookPageIn this intriguing novel, Laura Zigman doesn’t sugarcoat but instead lays bare Judy’s feelings with heartbreaking honesty. Every middle-aged woman who has ever felt invisible, lost or depressed will connect with some aspect of Judy’s life. Indeed, Zigman labels her work \'semi-autobiographical fiction,\' which may explain its devastating authenticity. At the same time, Zigman cleverly wraps her story in genuine hilarity. Judy’s continuous, cynical commentary is priceless, especially when discussing Teddy’s Montessori school ...What at first might seem like a depressing premise is in fact both refreshingly truthful and highly entertaining. As a result of this unique mix, this novel is both unpredictable and delightfully original. For those seeking a good laugh and a good cry, look no further than Separation Anxiety.
Isabel Allende, Trans. by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson
PositiveBookPageStoryteller par excellence Isabel Allende brings to life an epic saga ... Against a backdrop of violent political and social upheaval, the lives of Allende’s characters quietly unfold in unexpected ways that prove both riveting and satisfying ... subtle touches of magical realism add richness to the story. Although Allende writes of political events and personalities from distant lands and decades in the past, readers may feel a very real sense that these events have much to say about the world today. Some may find hope in Victor’s and Roser’s abilities not just to survive such dark times but also to eventually heal and thrive ... For those familiar with Allende’s earlier work, this novel will not disappoint. For those new to Allende’s writing, A Long Petal of the Sea will prove a captivating introduction.
PositiveBookPage... an exceptional novel about choosing how to live amid powerful grief and true love. Iona Grey has written a moving story that makes readers feel bereft to leave Selena and Lawrence behind at the book’s end in the way that only the best novels can do. Grey’s eye for descriptive detail gives a sumptuousness to almost every scene, and the delicious recklessness of 1920s London comes alive on the page. She is also masterful at using flashbacks and letters to slowly tease out the influences and motivations of her characters—and those of an entire postwar generation ... For readers looking for a tremendously entertaining, emotionally charged story, look no further. The Glittering Hour is just the ticket.
PositiveBookPageMarta McDowell’s Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life may prove a perfect choice [as a gift] ... Although no photographs of Dickinson’s garden taken during her lifetime have been discovered, McDowell includes lovely hand-drawn botanical illustrations by Dickinson’s contemporaries and colorful, present-day photos of some of the plants in question, as well as vintage and modern photographs of significant buildings and landscapes ... Taken as a whole, Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life gives readers the real sense that they can almost slip back in time and survey Dickinson’s garden with her.
PositiveBookPage... a wonderful novel ... Moyes’ research is evident, as her writing completely immerses readers in the world of a small, Depression-era coal-mining town—the class structure, the ignorance and the violence, as well as the overwhelming beauty of the surroundings and the strength of character required to survive. Moyes has written unforgettable characters who come alive on the page. All five women, but especially Alice and Margery, are written with such depth that readers may wish they, too, could join this tight circle of remarkable women ... A heartwarming page turner, The Giver of Stars is certain to be Moyes’ next bestseller and should not be missed.
Alix E. Harrow
RaveBookPagePart-time historian Alix E. Harrow has written a stunning debut novel with inventive worlds, sumptuous language and impeccably crafted details. Several of Harrow’s characters challenge traditional stereotypes in interesting ways, and January in particular is a refreshingly fierce female protagonist. Harrow paces this action-packed novel beautifully, slowly revealing the truth as the reader races through the pages to discover the ultimate conclusion. Readers seeking a fresh fantasy with an enduring love story need look no further, and they’ll be left wistfully hoping to stumble upon doors of their own.
PositiveBookPage...Susan Wiggs tackles the painful subject of domestic violence in a life-affirming way. While Wiggs doesn’t shy away from addressing abuse in its myriad forms through the stories of the women in the sewing circle, a central theme of this novel is the healing power of family and community, and especially women supporting one another. Furthermore, as a resident of one of the Puget Sound islands, Wiggs writes with an intimate knowledge of the area, which makes her fictional town of Oysterville come alive on the page ... Wiggs has written another compelling novel that will grab readers’ hearts, hold their attention and leave them with a sense of hope.
PositiveBookPageThis creative retelling of Bishop’s life provides an intriguing look at a complicated woman and writer. Moreover, Wieland’s choice to write in the eternal present with a limited third-person point of view to reveal Bishop’s thoughts and keen perceptions of those around her lends a particular freshness to the novel ... Although those already familiar with Elizabeth Bishop may appreciate seeing this famous American writer in her youth through Wieland’s eyes, enjoyment of this novel does not require prior knowledge of Bishop. However, readers should not be surprised if, on finishing Paris, 7 A.M., they discover a new curiosity to learn even more about Bishop’s compelling life and work.
RaveBookPage...brilliantly inventive ... However, Orange World and Other Stories is so much more than fresh plots. Russell ties these seemingly disparate tales together with a pervading theme of alienation ... Underlying all of this is the exquisite beauty of Russell’s sentences, which will repeatedly surprise readers with their imagery and masterful language ... For lovers of excellent writing, this book should not be missed.
RaveBookPage\"Already a winner of several literary prizes in Australia and short-listed for the Australian Literary Society’s 2017 Gold Medal, The Museum of Modern Love is an engaging, multifaceted meditation on the meaning of life and art ... This is a brilliant find for any reader who enjoys grappling with the larger questions of life and literature, and it is an excellent choice for book clubs seeking thought-provoking discussion.\
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Trans. by Lucia Graves
RaveBookPageBarcelona after the Spanish Civil War provides the perfect setting for Zafón’s novel, with its shadowed, misty labyrinth of streets, foreboding buildings and sinister sense of corruption. The plot is exquisitely intricate, like an elaborate steampunk timepiece. Alicia, a fragile but ferociously formidable, vampire-like seductress, is unforgettable. The pacing is exceptional, with its incessant, rolling waves of tension. Even the dialogue is remarkably sharp and fresh ... The Labyrinth of the Spirits is a masterpiece more than worthy of sharing a shelf with its bestselling predecessors ... For those who have read Zafón’s earlier novels, some loose ends are finally resolved. Readers’ one regret will be that Labyrinth is the last in this ingenious cycle.
RaveBookPageLouise Candlish proceeds to masterfully spool out the complicated series of events ... Candlish tells a large part of the story through a podcast called \'The Victim,\' which Fiona narrates, and through a Word document written by Bram, both in retrospect ... This narrative structure also allows the reader to feel the full weight of the characters’ emotions ... Allowing the reader to plumb these depths gives the plot real plausibility. What seems outlandishly far-fetched at first slowly becomes uncomfortably conceivable and makes this novel nearly impossible to put aside ... The novel is a clear demonstration of Candlish’s considerable skill as a writer.
RaveBookPageMasterfully set in a tumultuous time with well-crafted characters, The King’s Witch is a wonderful first novel that is difficult to put aside. Borman makes historical figures, such as the insecure King James and the intelligent, honorable Tom Wintour come to life on the page. Readers will root for the fictional Frances, who faces impossible odds at times but never loses her sense of self. The first book of a trilogy, The King’s Witch will have its readers waiting impatiently for the next two volumes.