McDaniel’s strength lies in her lyrical prose and character development. I cared for the twins and their ragtag family of friends, but I also despaired for their future, and raged at a world where the women were not considered victims, but somehow implicated in their own demise. Women in abusive relationships are often told they deserve to be mistreated and women who use drugs and prostitute themselves to make a living are told they are asking for it. ON THE SAVAGE SIDE is a testimony to missing women everywhere. Bravo to McDaniel for lifting up these silenced voices.
THE WHALEBONE THEATRE is a stunning debut – full of adventure and intrigue, Dickensian characters, and a mildewed mansion on the seaside. Joanna Quinn sets the stage for an immersive read, an escape from the doldrums of winter.
Geye writes with a musicality that soars above the complex plot of The Ski Jumpers. The novel moves back and forth in time and place – moving from Duluth, where Jon and his wife currently live, to the North Woods of Minnesota where he visits his daughter and her partner, and to Minneapolis, where Jon and his brother Anton grew up skiing in Theodore Wirth Park and jumping from the Highland Ski Jump in Bloomington. If you’re a fan of arresting family dramas with a bit of a twist, complex and provocative characters, breathtaking landscapes wrapped in luminous prose, The Ski Jumpers is your next read.
Whether Dani Shapiro is writing fiction or memoir, her writing is always reflective and wise. Signal Fires, her first novel in fifteen years, follows on the heels of her poignant memoir Inheritance, and, like that memoir, examines the complexities of family relationships and the secrets that bind them together and tear them apart. Signal Fires …
Lee is one of a handful of American journalists who have been granted a visa to North Korea since the Korean War. Her book is carefully researched and the sections on Yungman’s early life in Korea, as well as his return, are layered with historical truths and emotional impact. It isn’t an easy thing to sustain momentum in a four hundred plus page book, but Lee’s ending is pitch-perfect and will resonate with readers for a long time.
O’Farrell follows Agnes into the woods, into the field, and into the depths of her despair. Her writing is lyrical and layered, her characters are complex, and their relationships are complicated. There will be no easy passageway through this grief, and dear reader, you should be forewarned to have a tissue within reach, but you will be carried along by a mother’s love and a father’s remorse. “There will be no going back,” O’Farrell writes, “Time only runs in one direction.”
Dunbar’s writing is evocative and as lush as the forest. Structured in four segments: Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer, we watch Elsa flail and falter and then grow in strength and confidence as each season passes. THE NET BENEATH US is about the promises we make and keep – to ourselves and to others – and the profound work of grief – how it cleaves us in two and yet, we live, allowing the days and months and years that pass bind us back together, the two halves of a split trunk like the before times and the after times, joined in the middle by the heartwood.
During a time when laws protecting a woman’s body autonomy are being threatened, reading Allende’s book reminds me that throughout history, women have exhibited great strength and resolve, and when banded together, are a force to be reckoned with.
THE OTHER EINSTEIN is a sad commentary on love and marriage in the early nineteenth century. In this age of two steps forward one step back in equal rights for women, THE OTHER EINSTEIN is a reminder of how quickly gains can become losses.
WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS is an evocative tale about gender, gender roles, and the politicization of history. Barnhill has written a cautionary tale about what happens when women are silenced and their human right to make their own choices is taken from them.