PositiveThe Christian Science MonitorFollett’s tale proceeds to creep toward that edge via storylines that, at first, seem far-flung and unrelated ... A doorstop of a book at 800 pages, Follett’s story captivates but at times loses emotional steam. This is matter-of-fact writing that’s heavier on plot and pacing than on the characters’ interior lives ... readers may well rub their bulging eyes, sit back, and wholeheartedly agree.
Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton
RaveThe Christian Science MonitorThe high-stakes efforts to find the perpetrators and prevent subsequent violence, including an even larger plot on American soil, make for rapid reading. Ellen deftly proposes, plans, and pivots, while navigating a murky political landscape in Washington and icy relations with her counterparts in Pakistan, Iran, and Russia ... State of Terror pulses with the clever asides and turns of phrase that delight Penny’s fans (and there are surprise appearances to boot). But this is its own story. The writing duo’s well-crafted thriller doesn’t shy from profanity and sharp political stabs as it hurtles to its breathless finale.
RaveThe Christian Science MonitorDoerr delivers in a big way ... In some hands, this could have been a big mess. The good news: Doerr’s creation lifts off quickly, soars, and then, like the various wildfowl wheeling through the story, lands with practiced finesse ... Fueled by deep imagination and insistent compassion, Doerr weaves together his storylines with brisk pacing that never feels rushed. His characters struggle, search, and learn, mirroring the travels and trials of Aethon himself ... One of the joys of the novel is its vivid, energetic language ... Writing in the midst of pandemic and lockdown, Doerr, in the words of Aristophanes, has successfully created \'something big, smacking of the clouds.\'
Amy Belding Brown
RaveThe Christian Science Monitor... bold and terrifically appealing ... This love of place and ear for her characters’ turns of phrase makes for a rich reading experience. Her smartest choice: handing the narrative reins to Margaret herself, whose Tipperary-tinged voice guides—and warms—the story. It’s a perspective rife with honesty, humor, and sharp observations about class, immigration, and relationships ... The novel blends...facts and real-life characters with plausible but fictionalized subplots and settings pulled from the headlines of the era. By the end of this gratifying, intelligent tale, a variety of readers—from Emily Dickinson neophytes to students of her work—will leave with a more nuanced understanding of \'the myth of Amherst,\' as well as a deep appreciation for the \'wild and warm and mighty\' woman who stood by her side in life, enabling a legacy.
RaveChristian Science Monitor... [a] winning new novel ... a frothy sitcom premise...quickly sails into rougher waters ... Gayle shares [characters\'] indignation, sadness, and anger in straightforward, unadorned prose. The simplicity is effective ... A late-story plot twist adds both tragedy and momentum to the tale, morphing it into a page-turner. The cinematic conclusion feels completely earned, leaving characters jubilant and forever changed.
RaveThe Christian Science MonitorThe novel’s deft dialogue produces many of the book’s laughs ... Early Morning Riser closes with a literal cartwheel. It’s an exuberant and fitting finale. Grab the book and get up early, stretch out midday, or stay up late. This laugh-out-loud, good-humored tale is a head-over-heels delight.
Laura Imai Messina, Tr. by Lucy Rand
RaveThe Christian Science Monitor... [an] astonishment. And while Imai Messina’s quiet, contemplative, and gripping tale is fiction, the story ultimately has its feet – and its heart – planted firmly in reality ... Imai Messina’s story – musing on grief, hope, and joy – comes, then, at the perfect moment ... Imai Messina unfolds how Yui and Takeshi form a friendship of shared experience – and then navigate the trickier shoals of a deeper relationship – in lyrical, unrushed prose that avoids sentimentality ... These brief segments add rich detail to the novel without slowing down the storytelling ... Such characters, and such a setting, risk tipping the tale into a depressing bog. Yet Imai Messina, like her story’s powerful wind, pushes these individuals forward. They question, they consider, and they take fresh steps.