Superior Reads

A PLACE FOR READERS AND WRITERS

In her profoundly moving first novel, THE SEED KEEPER, Diane Wilson tells the story of Rosalie Iron Wing and her family’s struggle to preserve their cultural heritage. Flashing back and forth in time from Rosalie’s present day, to her early childhood, to the lives of her ancestors, Wilson reveals the devastation wreaked by white settlers …

Continue reading

Mary Casanova is the author of thirty-nine books — most of which have been written for young readers. Waterfall is her third adult novel set on Rainy Lake in northern Minnesota. Waterfall is the story of Trinity Baird who has recently returned to the family’s summer home after nearly two years at Oak Hills Asylum, …

Continue reading

It’s hard to write about the Dust Bowl without tipping over into melodrama, and at times it felt as if the only thing moving the story forward was the next disaster. The relationships between the women in THE FOUR WINDS kept me invested. Elsa is a bit of a sad-sack, but her daughter Loreda is fierce and as she ages, she challenges Elsa to overcome her fears.

One of the things I struggled with was the pacing; at times, the narrative dragged. And, because Addie never enjoys real intimacy in most of her relationships, some of the characters lacked depth; they read like character sketches and weren’t fully formed within the pages of the story. I would have liked to see more of Addie in the key historical moments the author only touches on – the French Revolution and World War II for instance. Instead of focusing so entirely on Addie’s love life, a plot that wends her through America’s turbulent 60’s or the Velvet Revolution or any number of culturally significant moments in history would have been more interesting to me.

THE GREAT CIRCLE is a big book – not just because it is nearly 600 pages long – but because of the breadth of the subject matter – art, aviation, prohibition, noncomformity, war, isolation, connection – and the period it spans 1909-2014 – give or take a few decade gaps. There will be So. Much. To. Discuss. with your book group! Maggie Shipstead has a keen understanding of longing and what it means to be human.

McMorris’s novel flags at times, and some of the backstory feels unrealistic, but as the reporters close in on a dark underworld of mobsters, unscrupulous children’s homes, and characters broken by loss, the novel becomes compulsively readable. You’ll find yourself flying through the last third of the book, as desperate as Lilly and Ellis to find the lost children. Though the novel lacks the depth of other books on the era and at times tips into resolutions that border on magical thinking, the welfare of the children kept me reading till the end.

Powerfully conveyed through shifting narratives, SEND FOR ME is not a lament, but rather an ode to family and a love that transcends time and place. I recommend SEND FOR ME for fans of Kristin Hannah and Geraldine Brooks. Listen to my interview with Lauren Fox on Superior Reads, May 27 at 7:00 pm.

A stark reminder that grief knows no color, that loss transcends class, but that man’s inhumanity to man even in the midst of a natural disaster remains constant. Minrose Gwin’s strength is in developing characters that we come to care about, in spite of their flaws.