RaveShelf AwarenessOctogenarian Jane Campbell may be \'new\' to the publishing industry, but her first book is refreshingly accomplished. The 13 exquisitely drawn short stories in the collection are woven with wit and bold enlightenment. Each meticulously crafted gem focuses on the lives of aging women who grapple with their shrinking places in the world while coming to terms with feelings and failings, choices and losses ... Aspects of regret, mourning, fantasies and lost love infuse these eloquently rendered, skillfully plotted stories that pack a wallop ... in Campbell\'s wholly original, late-in-life stories, the limitations compelled by age become surprising sources of wisdom and empowered liberation.
E B Bartels
PositiveShelf Awareness... impeccably researched ... offers deeply personal stories about the many ways companion animals enrich lives and how animal lovers must ultimately cope with the pain of their loss ... This in-depth, splendidly informative narrative is replete with down-to-earth stories from Bartels herself and those of ordinary pet owners, pet care professionals, celebrities and historians ... Bartels thoroughly examines these and many other topics, including euthanasia, taxidermy, ideas about reincarnation and pet cemeteries ... Readers, like Bartels, who long to consciously comprehend the pet-human bond--why people care so much for their pets, in life and in death, and what makes the bond so worthwhile and why--will be well educated and find much to reflect upon.
PositiveShelf Awareness... brings readers an exciting, multi-plotted, genre-bending drama ... Plotlines about scandalous affairs, extortion, assault and sordid pasts enliven Hilderbrand\'s obvious appreciation for the ins and outs of the hotel industry and for Nantucket culture. Readers in search of page-turning escapist fiction will be immensely intrigued by checking into The Hotel Nantucket and seeing all it has to offer.
PositiveShelf AwarenessPooley brings people together--strangers--in such a fun, spirited way that it\'s bound to spark readers to expand their worldview ... This endearing novel, told from the points of view of an ensemble cast of vividly drawn characters, starts on a London commuter train ... Pooley\'s grasp on the constraints and longings of the human condition proves immensely entertaining. Readers will be charmed by this uplifting, hopeful story rife with tender insights. Traveling with Iona Iverson is a literary journey well worth taking.
RaveShelf AwarenessAlice Hattrick bears fascinating witness to the arduous burden of sickness and chronic infirmity. It is a deeply personal, thoroughly researched, philosophical memoir ... Hattrick\'s mother\'s story is remarkable in itself. However, when Hattrick starts to manifest chillingly similar symptoms, their stories entwine and tangle: sick, heartbroken mother and daughter are both forced to battle a cold, impersonal medical bureaucracy ... Hattrick draws on journal entries, sifts information gathered from medical consultations and case notes, and mines the lives of other notable women who also struggled with mysterious illnesses that isolated and marginalized them from society ... Hattrick\'s multi-faceted, poetically drawn account elevates the traditional illness narrative ... Moving.
PositiveShelf Awareness... deeply moving ... Maum\'s journey of healing and salvation in reconnecting to equine culture--including riding lessons and pursuing competitive polo--is wittily engaging and uncompromisingly forthright. In surmounting personal obstacles and fears, she confronts the past, while also braiding in delightful flourishes regarding the metaphorical meanings of horses and the universal role they have played throughout history and in the arts.
RaveShelf AwarenessWith a spellbinding, thriller-like presentation supported by painstaking research, Fischer puts forth evidence to try to unravel the mystery of Le Prince\'s life and death. Deftly organized facts, coupled with the technical minutiae of filmmaking, reveal fascinating details of Le Prince\'s life and the challenges faced in his work, while also exposing the mysterious circumstances surrounding his disappearance. Fischer\'s stellar, suspenseful narrative is a work of art unto itself that finally gives Le Prince--and the impact of his often overlooked, cut-short creative genius--his due.
RaveShelf AwarenessA multi-faceted love story, a candid and touching memoir by Molly Shannon ... [A] beautiful father-daughter story is woven throughout the memoir, which includes many funny anecdotes about Shannon\'s hard work, dedication, resilience and sacrifice on her road to stardom ... Shannon expresses sincere gratitude for those who believed in and boosted her career. However, the story of her enduring love for her absent mother and sister—as well as the bond she shared with her bighearted father—casts Shannon in a new light, one that radiates with heartfelt sensitivity.
RaveShelf AwarenessThe snags, sorrows, secrets and estrangements of familial connections are ripe themes explored in the fiction of British author Katy Regan. In How to Find Your Way Home, she astutely...plumbs the depths of one family torn apart by a simple moment in time that upends lives and fates ... Deeply moving ... Tender-hearted ... Regan is a meticulous, graceful writer whose insight on the human condition makes for a completely absorbing story ... She presents a full, well-balanced picture ... Absorbing.
RaveShelf Awareness... a chilling, moving memoir ... Through a sensitively drawn, stream-of-conscious narrative...she stitches together remembered fragments and pivotal scenes from the life she, her mother and father shared with Kait ... Leddy\'s raw search for understanding, meaning and peace grants readers a rare personal glimpse into the universal mysteries of mental illness and the long-lasting traumatic effects it has on those afflicted, as well as those in its orbit.
RaveShelf AwarenessIntensity marks Thomas\'s beautiful memoir, which is a meticulously detailed, often darkly funny account of her hot pursuit of a dream deferred ... The wins and losses...add up to a smart, clever and very suspenseful point-by-point re-enactment. Readers—especially the competitively inclined—will root for Thomas to go the distance and emerge a victor both on and off the court ... Thomas\'s body of writing consistently features sharp, likable and captivating heroines who often riff incisively on the perils and glories of contemporary living and modernity with sarcastic wit and self-deprecation. With Thomas serving as narrator for the multi-layered, no-holds-barred odyssey of her ascent into middle age, she emerges as a top seed and the very best of them all.
PositiveShelf AwarenessMacDougall\'s fun, brisk storytelling and cleverly rendered details largely focus on growing, improving upon and sustaining her business. However, philosophical undercurrents profoundly define how work--and canine companionship--can enrich the soul and spirit, ultimately giving shape and form to living a more meaningful existence.
Caterina Bonvicini, Trans. by Antony Shugaar
RaveShelf Awareness... a big, bold, all-encompassing novel ... Through short, perfectly selected and astutely crafted scenes, Bonvicini depicts episodes from the lives of Olivia and Valerio over the next four decades in an Italy where corruption--in both personal lives and the society at large--is endemic ... High drama and moments of great wisdom flesh out themes centered on the perils of upward mobility, appearances for appearance\'s sake and allegiance to marriage and family. Chilling, stark realities force some characters--including a very strong, vividly rendered supporting cast--to become victims of the dark era in which they live. In stunning prose, translated by Antony Shugaar, Bonvicini renders an intricately plotted contemporary Italian epic where the fate of her star-crossed lovers is magnified by the crushing influence of familial and societal forces.
PositiveShelf Awareness... a beautifully rendered, spellbinding saga about family secrets and taboos ... The journey Shorto takes to trace his grandfather\'s life is eventful, entertaining and enlightening ... In pursuing recollections of the past and unearthing long-buried family secrets, Shorto and his father reconcile and deepen their own relationship on the way to crafting a thorough, immensely moving and empathetic portrait of Shorto\'s namesake, and how his Sicilian American immigrant experiences shaped the course of history.
RaveShelf-AwarenessTichenor\'s courageous memoir is an exquisitely crafted, painfully beautiful chronicle of loss. She articulates the immensity of her feelings and emotions with unbridled candor that, at times, is difficult to read, but ultimately evokes hard-fought rebirth, resurrection and the presence of God. For five years, Tichenor travels a rocky path toward perspective and healing, until the ravaging devastation of loss ultimately fuses into the landscape of her life. Navigating as a bereft wife and mother, a pastor, a friend and a daughter orphaned because of her mother\'s helplessness, Tichenor discovers that pain, joy and sadness can prove enlightening, buoying her with hope and eloquent moments of grace.
RaveShelf AwarenessHarkup leaves no stone unturned in her immensely thorough and compelling distillation of the Bard\'s work ... Through an intricate dissection of Shakespearean plays, Harkup breaks down and analyzes methods of death, destruction and peril, and delves into how Elizabethan actors might have been bloodied up for battles of war using lye or slow coagulating sheep\'s blood ... Harkup\'s expertise leans toward the scientific. Her riveting storytelling, however, is refreshingly accessible. Her narrative will attract and intrigue readers who appreciate the macabre, eager for the enriching wisdom offered by two masters in their fields.
PositiveShelf AwarenessStrong, well-drawn women anchor Brown\'s deeply thought-provoking, feminist novel. The spellbinding dual stories complement each other, raising themes of self-discovery, self-preservation and liberation for two women living eras apart.
PositiveShelf Awareness... lyrically written, delightfully charming ... By telling the story from two intimate points of view, debut novelist Hazel Prior allows readers simultaneously to discover startling truths right along with her well-drawn characters. This approach heightens the narrative tension and allows this beautiful, tender story about the harmonious meaning of true friendship and love to reverberate with many unexpected surprises.
PositiveShelf Awareness... ripe with amusing wit and charm, skillfully explores regret and longing, friendship, love and forgiveness, and the challenges posed by reinvention. Strong characterizations and short, well-plotted scenes are filled with clever banter. Holmes has a firm grasp on the realities of everyday life and the difficulties of carving out happiness in the modern world. She understands what makes people hurt and pine, and the forces that ultimately conspire to encourage them to pick up, dust off and start again. Readers will cheer for this richly drawn cast as they swing, sometimes miss and even manage to hit a few home runs off the curveballs of life.
PositiveShelf AwarenessVivid, profound and visually imaginative. Throughout the story, Knisley adds levity by presenting illustrated factoids, myths and research about women\'s reproductive health ... Knisley is a lively storyteller, and the encapsulated charm of her graphics holds equal appeal. In both arenas, her inimitable style builds suspense and ultimately oozes with hopeful optimism.
PositiveShelf AwarenessJoe-the great man he was, what he stood for and his lasting influence upon a large circle of family and friends--anchors a narrative that noticeably maintains and preserves the privacy of Sharri and Devon and the depth of their personal feelings of grief and loss. Schefter, instead, chooses to focus on paying thoughtful homage to Joe Maio and all whose lives he touched, acknowledging his great admiration and respect for--and gratitude to--an absent man who is and will forever remain an active part in all of their lives.
Simon Van Booy
PositiveShelf- AwarenessIn The Sadness of Beautiful Things, a collection of short fiction, British-born and Brooklyn, N.Y., resident Van Booy mines similar terrain and themes. This time he gathers eight short works that focus on a host of ordinary people who suffer devastating life losses, but find ways to go on--dramatically changed. Each of these haunting, at times mystical, fictions are, at their core, love stories in every conceivable sense of the word ... Van Booy is a wise, philosophical writer. His spare prose is...illuminating and is further enhanced by unexpected resolutions that allow graceful themes to expand and flourish ... The dark, sad circumstances that germinate each of these poignant, unpredictable gems will lead readers to refreshing glimpses of transcendence and hope.
RaveShelf AwarenessIn The Friend, she takes readers on a reflective journey through a labyrinth of grief, loss and loneliness. This meditative, beautifully written novel reads as intimately as a memoir ... Humans, however, can reckon with death. This is evidenced by the narrator\'s intriguing stream-of-consciousness monologue that winds through the past and present, offering ruminations about the sacrifices of a truly creative life, while referencing great writers and thinkers like Flaubert, Hemingway, Coetzee et al. ... The pain of the narrator\'s bereavement is dealt with through remembering and writing. But the bond she forms with the dog – how they acclimate to each other and a world darkened by an aching void – forges this thought-provoking, philosophical story. Ultimately, The Friend ponders the meanings of loyalty, love, friendship and a buoyant creative spirit.