RaveNew York Journal of BooksCullen’s well-researched novel painstakingly humanizes the behind-the-scenes intricacies of the urgent search to create a global vaccine against the poliovirus ... Lynn Cullen does an extraordinary job of fluidly taking the reader from 1940 to 1963 by including significant historical moments and sensitive social concerns in the story’s evenly paced momentum ... The balance of historic fact and scientific detail is beautifully tempered by Dorothy Horstmann’s personal story. She’s a woman we champion from the start, enthusiastically follow, and come to recognize as one of history’s great heroines.
Daisy Alpert Florin
RaveNew York Journal of BooksAn intimate, insightful novel ... My Last Innocent Year is written with confessional intimacy verging on stream-of-consciousness storytelling. It’s softly delivered coming-of-age themes pertain to such questions as individuality versus conformity, desire versus boundaries, and passion versus practicality along the road of growing into one’s own. Sure to please YA readers and well beyond, it’s a poignant tale that doesn’t shy from sharp edges, a universal story both timeless and timely.
Simon Van Booy
RaveNew York Journal of BooksIn Simon Van Booy’s extraordinary novel, The Presence of Absence, each well-wrought sentence builds upon the next, taking us deeper into Max Little’s life with staggering lucidity ... Part Two is theatrically introduced as a quick, black scene change ... A mind-bending, affecting story that breaks the heart open with startling clarity, this book makes the reader want to take pen in hand to underline The Presence of Absences’ passages. That author Simon Van Booy has taken a universal subject most prefer to shy away from and creatively crafted an accessible work of high art is an unparalleled literary feat. The deft use of language in this tour de force fulfills its own mission.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksCallahan unfurls the story through the eyes of siblings in two timeframes, maintaining a sense of awestruck wonder, while revealing the inner workings of the man behind the magic ... There are myriad mysterious influences that spawn a novelist’s inspiration, and Callahan suggests many with a gentle hand and deep wisdom through Once Upon a Wardrobe’s characters ... written in enchanting language apropos to the setting’s time and place and regales the reader with little known tidbits pertaining to the inspiration behind The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. With elegant prose, Callahan invites the reader to intuit creativity’s source. Once Upon a Wardrobe is a captivating story for all ages; a standalone book combining fact, and fantasy, and its peek behind the curtain crafting is an important adjunct to C. S. Lewis’s Narnia chronicles.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksHome Stretch by Graham Norton is a vibrantly written, delightful story ... Author Graham Norton is a masterful storyteller. The layered crafting of Home Stretch is rife with pithy innuendo and story-driving personality. His sharp eye captures the nuance of small-town Ireland in the process of evolution as he unfurls this interconnected story with spellbinding verve and finesse.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksA lively, heartwarming story with eccentric characters depicting the lengths a small community will go to in support of one of its own ... delightful, fast-paced novel is written in au currant language full of quirky personality. With a tight lens on a captivating premise, she unfurls the dynamic of an island community going along with Piper’s delusion that her husband isn’t dead. As Piper walks about town talking to the ghost of Tom, the locals go along with it, and it makes for spectacular literary theater.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books... lures you into engaging with the story lest you miss a moment of its well-wrought beats. This is a haunting, intelligent novel for the discerning reader; the thinking man’s page-turner; a riveting crime-detective story ... wonderfully paced ... McClain is at her finest when depicting the woods ... an enthralling foray into the step-by-step mechanics behind the hunt for a child abductor that grows with surprising linkages into the search for a serial killer hiding in plain sight ... painstaking detail and knowledge of the criminal mind’s minutiae ... an intriguing, harrowing story that suggests we should never grow comfortable in a false sense of security even as it praises the merits of small-town community life. It’s a masterfully written story of resolution and reconciliation that operates on multiple levels of time, mind, and spirit. As for the poetic title, McClain hits a high note,.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books... engaging ... In an intimate, first-person voice as confessional as a private journal, author Pamela Terry lulls the reader with descriptive passages both atmospheric and introspective in such a subtextual manner as to significantly assist a story built on a family dynamic predicated on secrets forcing their way to the light ... Lovely, lyrical, and often profound, The Sweet Taste of Muscadines is women’s fiction at its finest and then something more. Written in two parts while weaving familial loyalty with the meaning of home, the search for truth on the backdrops of Wesleyan and a remote island off the coast of Scotland is breathtakingly visceral, in an emotionally evocative story with a strong sense of place. Deep-seated fear pertaining to keeping up appearances in the face of societal judgement against homosexuality, Terry writes with a warm-hearted, equitable hand ... a satisfying, heart and soul read with resonance, sure to make you a fan of author Pamela Terry.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksIn Judithe Little’s beguiling The Chanel Sisters, the road to personal fulfillment starts with a dream ... The Chanel Sisters is a multi-layered, elegantly crafted story with enthralling attention to historic detail. It is a lovely, gorgeously set romantic story sure to charm lovers of historical fiction with its joie de vivre and savoir faire; a rags-to-riches adventure that adds depth of field to a woman who became a household name.
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... compelling, compact ... Carofiglio’s precise, economic language is insightful to the point that this poignant story’s setting is secondary, save for the unfamiliar sense that dodgy parts of Marseilles are not intended for tourists, and therefore, father and son have the impression they’re up against the secrets of this French, coastal town together ... profound in its simple delivery.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksA gorgeous, deep probing treatise on the myriad manifestations of love, envy, privilege, and longing ... The Fortunate Ones is a fathoms-deep exploration of love, loyalty, and the ties that bind, written masterfully from all angles. It’s a laser-sharp look at the underbelly of power and privilege’s repercussions as told through the power of story.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksA Crooked Tree is a sonorous ode to youth with all its innocence, angst, disillusionment, and unfiltered honesty. Author Una Mannion tells a coming-of-age story in its full expression ... with Mannion’s deft handling, we experience the family as normal; we accept as plausible the frame of reference in this heart-tugging cause and effect story ... A Crooked Tree is a wise, deep-probing exploration of the complexities of youth as seen from a shaky family dynamic they defend because it’s all they know. Coming-of-age concerns such as loyalty, trust, loss, self-esteem, and a place to call home are sensitively depicted in a rural, Pennsylvania setting so poetically drawn you feel it viscerally.
Michael Farris Smith
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksReferred to as MFS by those who take his work personally because his stories do the talking for a certain strata of a particular region, in some ways Farris Smith’s clear, direct, and economic voice is an acquired taste even as his career prospers. But the publication of Nick will change all that, and wider readership will understand the attraction of this fearless writer who transcends literary limits and boundaries and plays by his own rules ... He gives us Nick Carraway’s backstory with an unvarnished depth of experience because the reader deserves it, and it’s what Farris Smith does best ... Its impact is profound, its resonance subterranean ... Once you dive into Nick, you’ll be held captive. Once you attune yourself to the rhythm of Farris Smith’s voice, you’ll follow him anywhere.