PositiveWashington Independent Review of Books\"[The book is] the kind of historical fiction that launches a thousand Ancestry.com searches and sends readers to their favorite search engine mid-paragraph to find out who is and isn’t an actual historical figure. It’s also something of a feminist tome set in an era before its time, belying its title in a good way ... It’s a gut-wrenching drama with all too real human consequences, a true tale that sits at the heart of this novel ... Overall, the novel could have been streamlined to a wonderful 300 pages, instead of a sometimes tedious 400-plus.\
PositiveThe Washington Post\"Moriarty’s latest novel, Nine Perfect Strangers, is a locked-door mystery, but the mystery itself remains a mystery for much of the book. There’s a general sense of foreboding that builds, but what it’s building to and which of the nine is and isn’t a victim is a perplexing puzzle ... Alternating narrators usher us through brisk chapters providing glimpses into the inner thoughts of each character ... whether you enjoy this novel or find it confounding will largely come down to whether you feel you’re in on the joke or that it’s being made at your expense.\
MixedThe Washington Independent Review of BooksOverall, the women are imperfect in that very real way that we all are. Some are more finely rendered than others, and somewhat intentionally so, as they’re all hiding some kind of secret meant to keep us guessing ... we get a front-row seat as the other parents cope with the tragedy, the pressure, and the suspicion that follow Midas’ disappearance. We do hear directly from the person whodunit, but their identity is revealed in the denouement ... It’s marginally satisfying in the way that tough endings always are. Some things are cleared up, other red herrings are left to rot.
Lesley Nneka Arimah
RaveThe Washington Post...mothers and daughters, aunts and sisters are central to this collection. In some stories, their relationships will break your heart. 'Windfalls,' a story about women just getting by in America with a mix of deception and desperation, feels raw and true. It’s difficult to read and yet impossible to turn away. This is a slim, rare volume that left me compelled to press it into the hands of friends, saying, 'You must read this.' But resist the urge to make your way through its pages at a rapid clip. Each story here benefits from reflection before you tackle the next.
PositiveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksWill Schwalbe’s latest, Books for Living, is a love letter to the works that have informed and enriched his life … Will’s thoughts on the books I haven’t read were easier to consider. These essays bring to mind the best conversations with fellow avid readers. Will’s thoughts on Wonder did more to make me want to read this blockbuster novel than anything else has. His meditations on how that work of fiction subliminally encourages readers to choose kindness is a welcome reminder for us all … This is a charming collection, one that reminds us of the value in reading. It opens new and creative ways of thinking about beloved works, and serves to introduce lesser-known stories that are equally deserving.