Novels about girlhood friends reuniting as adults and reinventing their relationship are always popular. In The Book Shop at Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry, the “summer sisters” are Bonny and Lainey, now in their fifties, who have kept in touch since their three pre-teen summers at Watersend, South Carolina, in the 1970s. As the story opens, Bonny is about to leave her domineering husband and her job as an Emergency Room doctor in Charleston, SC for a better position in Atlanta, GA.
There’s never been a more welcoming time in America than now for irreverent social satire, such as embraced by Ian Woollen’s latest called Muir Woods Or Bust. It winks and grins slyly as you determine to pick it up, a premonition of what you’ll soon be engaged in doing. I certainly welcome Woollen’s earthy, ground-shaking wit on display in its pages and you likely will also.
Adrian Mitchell’s exquisite writing captures the essence of the island in such a way that the reader becomes immersed in the life upon it. And within these wonderful descriptions of a tropical paradise it is easy for the reader to be completely captivated by the imagined life of his subject. The author’s words, spoken through the mind of the beachcomber’s wife, draw us in so that we feel her emotions one after the other.
It’s obvious that Annie Seaton has put great efforts into researching this story and she is well at home with this genre. The characters throughout are all well honed, coming across as credible, and the immaculately portrayed places fully loaded with poisonous snakes, aggressive cassowaries, amusing characters, exotic parrots, random crocodiles, and a selection of assorted frogs. The writing reveals a majestic and ancient rainforest.
Mishra explores the banality of archetypical life in a nimble manner, raising questions about the nature of reality, and perception. Pawan Mishra has accomplished an exceptional, fascinating, and, at times entertaining book which also points the reader toward a moral lesson without doing so in a ‘preachy’ manner.
The novel will interest other writers because of its narrative features. Ms. Gold avoids murky stream-of-consciousness passages by presenting the story in the third person. Flashbacks are signalled by a shift from present tense to past. A writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and a prize-winning author, Ms. Gold knows her craft.
In Brought to Our Senses, Wheeler tackles a very sensitive and personal topic with both compassion and pragmatism. Alzheimer’s has been called “the long goodbye”, and while that is unfortunately true, in the case of the Kraus family, the disease brings about some much-needed healing and new beginnings.
Andrews has two outstanding strengths as an author: character development and attention to detail. She takes readers right to this quiet, beautiful island and gives us a tour of its dwellings, many of which date back to the 1920’s and ‘30’s. Most of her protagonists are strong, funny, Southern women who accept their flaws and own the choices they’ve made, good or bad.
Every story told in the book is written as a past memory and Lucy intertwines her own reflections as she tells her story. The story is told through the narrator’s point of view in the same fashion one would write a memoir about his or her own life. What Elizabeth Strout has done so brilliantly is convinced readers that Lucy’s life is real and we are a part of it.
The A to Z of Normal, by British author Helen Barbour, is a “relationship novel,” but has more to say than a romance, or a “chick lit” book. Readers like to learn while being entertained, and in this novel, Ms. Barbour gently educates us about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and deserves praise for recognizing the dramatic potential in a subject seldom-explored in fiction.