RaveThe Dallas Morning NewsAlong with her trademark barbed humor, surprising twists and penetrating observations on human nature, Atkinson gives her readers a sharp, glittering portrait of a mostly forgotten slice of London social history. Much of her depiction is based on the life of Kate Meyrick, who was the real Nellie Coker of Soho. Atkinson also provides satisfying codas on what happens afterward to most of her characters, which may be an old-fashioned fillip of storytelling, but it’s one that some of us can’t help but wish we got a little more often.
PositiveThe Dallas Morning News... intimate ... Harrigan’s tale rings true; it engagingly draws upon family lore ... While the leopard is the elusive MacGuffin here, the story really is about the McClartys and Brennans at a turning point in their close-knit family life. Harrigan deftly catches the flavorful sense of a place and time as witnessed by a child: Grady watches and overhears much more than his family realizes, even if he doesn’t understand everything yet ... This story...was the one he really needed to tell.
PositiveThe Dallas News... a tender and clear-eyed recollection of the best and worst of times. In it, Greg Curtis returns to the city that he and Tracy loved together and learns to embrace its bounteous life on his own.
RaveDallas Morning NewsUnder its prosaic, placid surface, there are troubling layers in his Plano, a place haunted by the unspoken tragedies of its past. Han knows this territory intimately ... Simon Han’s creation of the Chengs is remarkable for his refusal to make them into heroic figures. He is bold enough to portray them, with great understanding and tenderness, as no one other than the striving, anxious, imperfect humans that they are.
RaveThe Dallas Morning NewsJenny Bhatt’s debut book is a revelation ... in every way, these narratives are very far from conventional. They are brilliant without showiness, heartbreaking without sentimentality and their insight into human nature is incisive, shrewd and compassionate ... Though many of Bhatt’s stories portray difficult lives and the consequences of bad decisions, \'Separation Notice\' is a bright dash of flash-fiction humor ... With this powerful, complex work, Bhatt should be launched into a wider readership that is fully deserved, and the literary world should rejoice in discovering a bright new star.
RaveThe Dallas Morning NewsHeaberlin... has the sort of amused but unsentimental affection for Texas that natives can readily recognize as the real thing. You can hear it in her characters’ voices ... Though the novel’s narrator shifts, the focus of Heaberlin’s story never moves far from the scarred but strong women who are its core. They can pick locks, shoot a gun, cuddle a toddler, love, lie and flat-out surprise you. Heaberlin knows how to build to a truly shocking twist, how to break a reader’s heart and then begin mending it.
PositiveThe Dallas Morning News... an affirming mixture of pathos and zingers, memories and regrets, all told in the wiseacre voice of Duffy Sinclair ... Fossey paints a vividly affecting and melancholy portrait of how we age in today’s America ... both warms and breaks our hearts.
Emily St. John Mandel
RaveDallas Morning NewsMandel’s absorbing, finely wrought new novel...paints an intricately plotted, haunting portrait of heartbreak, abandonment, betrayal, riches, corruption and reinvention in a contemporary world both strange and weirdly recognizable ... One of Station Eleven’s peripheral characters becomes part of The Glass Hotel’s plot, and a more central character in the earlier book appears here as a peripheral one. Mandel is having a bit of fun there, creating a world where her Georgia flu pandemic never happened, where these two—along with billions of other fictional people—lived on, blithely unaware of the fates the author’s imagination had visited upon them.
RaveThe Dallas Morning NewsThe...trail of clues is complicated and messy, involving a Tory government minister and his family, blackmail, murder, PTSD, British class distinctions, disintegrating marriages, crumbling fortunes—and the fatal temptation of a fortune to be regained. Galbraith is good at sprinkling distractions while also playing fair with the reader. Although this is the longest Strike novel at a hefty, Potteresque 647 pages, Robert Galbraith knows how to tell a story every bit as deftly as does J.K. Rowling. Cormoran Strike, who lost a leg in Afghanistan, may limp painfully through much of the book, but the tale being told never misses a step.
RaveThe Dallas Morning News\"Little is quirky, eccentric, offbeat, Gothic and all the other descriptives fondly applied to Carey\'s peculiarly elegant prose. Yes, there\'s history, and artistic license taken with it — but this is Carey, so a certain amount of embellished creepiness is part of the game ... With Little, Carey transforms the incredible tales that Marie told about herself into a chiaroscuro portrait every bit as haunting, and as seemingly true, as the likenesses she created ... Thanks to Edward Carey\'s gift for celebrating the bizarre, Madame Tussaud\'s story is at last in the right hands.\
RaveThe Dallas Morning NewsNovelist Sofia Grant is not a Texan— she lives in Oakland, Calif.—but she became so fascinated with the story of New London that she visited and researched diligently. The result is a novel containing believable characters and plenty of authentic Texas flavor, plus the author\'s own fictional twist on New London\'s factual history ... Grant meticulously unpacks her mysteries within a timeline that alternates between past and present. Not until Chapter 26 do we get a riveting eyewitness account from Katie\'s great-grandmother Caroline of exactly what happened on the day of the disaster—and there are yet more well-kept secrets to be revealed, even then. All the while, Grant spins a complex, 400-page family saga, combined with enough sassy humor and emotional energy to make The Daisy Children an engaging summertime tale, one based on truly heartbreaking Texas history.
PositiveThe Dallas Morning News\"Dietland is, not to put too fine a point on it, subversive and even shocking. It is discomforting to read, exploring as it does unsettling themes of body shaming, misogyny and hypersexualized mores. This is an unflinching look at a society that is very much our own, although it feels as if the novel is set perhaps 15 minutes in the future.\
RaveThe Dallas Morning NewsJessie Burton’s debut novel, The Miniaturist, begins like many a Gothic mystery before it: An 18-year-old virgin arrives in a strange place, on the doorstep of a great house where she has been invited but does not feel welcomed. However, the time is not the 19th century, and the place is not a British lord’s brooding manor on the moor. Instead, it’s the autumn of 1686 in Amsterdam … In The Miniaturist, Burton uses a historical object — the real Petronella Oortman’s cabinet house in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum — as the springboard for a fantastically spun tale of love and mystery. It’s a story that astutely reflects our own age’s obsessions and prejudices.
PositiveThe Dallas Morning News\"Alexandra Oliva\'s debut novel, The Last One, is the perfect postapocalit novel for people who watch reality TV. But even if you don\'t follow those shows, you\'ll be able to appreciate Oliva\'s cleverness ... The Last One is psychological suspense skillfully played out for modern electronic media, and it just might keep you glued to your e-reader all night.\
PositiveThe Dallas Morning NewsNot a great deal happens in The Sunlight Pilgrims, but Fagan draws an unsentimental, bleakly realistic picture of ordinary people refusing to believe the worst actually is at hand. Instead, they persist in living their everyday lives, worrying more about sex than about planetary doom, as they wait for the springtime that has always come before ... Fagan is good at capturing the delusions allowing her characters to fool themselves that everything will be just fine.
RaveThe Dallas Morning NewsThe Passage’s ambitious arc of time leaped first a century and then a millennium. In The City of Mirrors, Cronin gives readers the deep satisfaction of taking us to that far future, where Amy and her friends left their imprints on the world, both with words and through the blood and memories passed generation to generation ... It’s not easy to successfully wind up a beloved trilogy. But with The City of Mirrors, Cronin has produced a rarity: a great, beautifully fulfilling ending for a huge story about mankind’s failure, imperfection and redemption. There aren’t too many series whose endings make me perfectly happy. But this one did.
RaveThe Dallas Morning News...quickly engages the reader’s imagination with its deep perspective, rich historical authenticity and a lively cast of striving, imperfect humans.
Mary Louise Parker
PositiveDallas Morning NewsIn a way, Parker’s writing reminds me a bit of Anne Lamott’s, even to its offbeat, unconventionally spiritual aspects. Her most affecting chapter is her last one, 'Dear Oyster Picker,' which is about her beloved father’s death. Upon finishing it, not only did I understand the meaning of the oyster shell pictured on the book’s dust cover, but I also understood exactly why Parker felt compelled to become a writer.