RaveHistorical Novel Society...a new tour de force ...earthy and ethereal ... I loved Ms. Hegi’s vivid portrayals; and her women, whether conniving, tender, or briskly competent, will draw you into their welcoming arms. Thoroughly recommended.
C Pam Zhang
RaveThe Historical Novel SocietyThis fascinating historical novel is a fever-dream trek from one worked-out California gold field to another while Ms. Zhang deftly unspools the family’s past ... This book grabbed me on many levels – Ms. Zhang’s puzzle-box adventure and her jagged, yet lyrical prose, while Lucy and Sam’s trek struck bright echoes from my own travels in arid gold country. The love-anger relationship between sisters and parents will ring clearly with anyone who ever had a fraught relationship with a family member. I can’t recommend How Much of These Hills Is Gold more highly.
Sofia Segovia, Trans. by Simon Bruni
RaveHistorical Novel SocietyThe Murmur of Bees...intrigues from the start. Ms. Segovia combines a subtly magical atmosphere and unique, yet believable characters with kinetic narration to craft a story with broad appeal. I particularly loved Ms. Segovia’s vivid depiction of northeastern Mexico, letting this reader explore the area’s pastoral farms and rocky hillsides with Simonopio and his murmuring bees. You will enjoy The Murmur of Bees too!
RaveHistorical Novel SocietyPresents fortunate readers with a fascinating look at the itinerant troupe and their hardscrabble world ... Ms. Allen’s performers narrate chapters in turn, providing cross-hatched character studies which I particularly enjoyed. However, we never hear from Doc Bell himself, that charlatan who knowingly sells useless remedies and exploits the desperation of his poverty-stricken minions, and I would have enjoyed that too. However, Ms. Allen’s cast of performers is so diverse and complex that I don’t mind the omission—let Doc Bell keep his secrets. Highly recommended.
PositiveThe Historical Novel SocietyPaula Saunders taps her Midwestern family history in her wrenching debut novel The Distance Home, and her career in ballet gives realism and passion to the siblings’ dance classes. Ms. Saunders’ story is both easy and difficult to read – I love her fluid prose, but her saddest family scenes ring true. So do René’s hopeful, cynical introspections. Though The Distance Home is a dark story, it is a fair omen for Ms. Saunders’ future literary career.