An engrossing thriller

A mother’s life is shattered in an instant when a speeding car runs down her five-year-old son. In  I Let You Go, by Clare Mackintosh, the story alternates between the police search for the driver and the stunned and heartbroken Jenna. She leaves everything behind as she escapes to a remote Welsh town by the […]

Fun, snarky, and enlightening

Combining juicy bits of Victorian history and custom with some delightfully scathing social commentary, Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners, by  Therese Oneill, will delight and infuriate you. The author wishes to not-so-gently disabuse the reader of any romantic notions of a simpler and more gracious time by detailing the rigors of the […]

Mischling

  There is a lot I could  say about Mischling, Affinity Konar’s new Holocaust novel; it’s heartbreaking and beautiful and horrific. Twelve-year-old twin sisters Stasha and Pearl are sent to Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather, and come to the attention of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele, who specialized in grotesque experiments on twins,  subjecting […]

Girl Waits with Gun

Inspired by  a true historical episode, Girl Waits with Gun, by Amy Stewart, starts with an automobile crashing into a buggy carrying the Kopp sisters.  It’s 1914 in Paterson, New Jersey, and the villainous Henry Kaufman, drunken and erratic son of a rich factory owner, refuses to pay for the damages.  He and his thugs soon begin […]

The Boy in the Suitcase

Nina Borg was doing a favor for a friend, just retrieving a suitcase from a Copenhagen train station.  “You’re always so keen on saving people, aren’t you? Well, here’s your chance.”    Inside the suitcase was a small, drugged, naked boy, and Nina panics.  Soon she’s on the run with the boy, being pursued by the thugs […]

The Do-Right

In The Do-Right, by Lisa Sandlin, it’s  1973 in Beaumont, Texas, and Delpha Wade is out of prison after 14 years.  She was in because she killed one of  the men who was raping her. She’d have killed the other one, too, but he got away.  She’s out now, and all she needs is a quiet […]

Happy birthday, Beverly Cleary!

Did you know that today is my favorite children’s author Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday? Famous and beloved for her Beezus and Ramona (and Henry Huggins and Ribsy) books, Cleary wrote about real kids and their everyday lives and struggles with a comic touch.  Never preachy, always lively and engaging, she wanted to write about ordinary […]

Everything She Forgot

In Everything She Forgot, Margaret Holloway’s life is literally cracked up when she is in a multi-car pileup one winter evening.  Trapped in her burning car, she is rescued by a disfigured man who breaks the window and pulls her out of the car right before it explodes.  Although she is not hurt seriously, the […]

Still creepy after all these years

Published in 1963,  The Collector,  by John Fowles, gives readers one of the first, and still one of the best, psychological thrillers.  Frederick Clegg is a dull and colorless nobody whose only passion is for the butterflies he captures and mounts. That is, until he sees a beautiful girl. Miranda Grey, an art student, dazzling and full […]

Beloved by Toni Morrison – Challenged!

The past is a fearsome ghost hanging over Sethe’s life. It is 1873, slavery has been abolished, and while she now lives a safe and seemingly peaceful life, she remains haunted by a dark act she committed 20 years ago. She has stayed sane by “beating back the past” , but the horrendous legacy of […]