All posts tagged: family secrets

Are we a work-in-progress? Absolutely! Liese O’Halloran Schwarz talks about this, how success is elusive, her childhood in Thailand, the healing power of connection, and more in WHAT COULD BE SAVED

By Leslie Lindsay Enthralling family drama set in two distinct time periods–and places–about the bonds of siblings, a mystery, and more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ APRIL SPOTLIGHT: SIBLINGS A January 2021 Indie Next Pick People Book of the Week Real Simple Best Books of 2021 Starred Publishers Weekly Review…and more Is it possible to be a good person even when you’ve done something reprehensible? This is the overarching question of WHAT COULD BE SAVED (Atria Books, January 12, 2021) by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz. This is an ambitious novel both in scope and length, combining dual-timelines of 1972 and 2019, a large cast of characters, a mystery, a drama, societal class, plus it takes place alternatively in Washington, D.C., and Bangkok. It’s a lot. Laura Preston is a reclusive artist/painter in 2019 who finds herself at odds with her older sister, Bea. Their mother, Genevieve is slowing devolving into dementia. When a stranger connects with Laura via email, saying he’s their long-lost brother, she’s quick to believe it. She ignores Bea’s warnings and travels to Bangkok to learn the truth. …

Eerie and atmospheric, BEFORE THE DEVIL FELL, is a study of violence, buried secrets, and mysterious happenings–witchcraft–in New England

By Leslie Lindsay  The critically acclaimed author of THE BLACK PAINTING returns with a deliciously dark and atmopheric suspense for fans of Dennis Lehane and Gillian Flynn’s SHARP OBJECTS.  SPOTLIGHT! Eerily hypnotic and atmospheric, BEFORE THE DEVIL FELL (Hanover Square Press, October 8, 2019) absolutely calls, ‘October,’ with its skepticism, small New England town, spirituality, and the history of witchcraft.  Just take a look at some of the praise:  “Equal parts engaging and creepy, this twisty tale deftly examines how secrets and regret can continue to reverberate through generations.” —Kirkus “The paranormal elements are subtle, gradually creeping in around the edges with unsettling effect. Both mystery and weird fiction fans will be pleased.” —Publishers Weekly “An appealing, atmospheric yarn.” —Booklist A bit about the story: A reformed flower child, thirty-three-year-old Will Connor’s long-held skepticism has distanced him from his mother and her eccentric collection of friends. While his mother embraced the hippie generation’s exploration of spirituality and withcraft, Will dismissed their fascination with New Age as arcane. But now he must return home to care for his aging …

Laura McHugh talks about her new, Pushcart-nominated novel, THE WOLF WANTS IN, her brother’s mysterious death, ‘genius Apothic Brew,’ living in river towns, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay Set in a small, rural Blackwater Kansas, THE WOLF WANTS IN is stark, startling account of pain, sadness, and poverty. Sadie Keller is determined to discover how her brother died, even if no one else thinks it’s worth investigating. Her brother was married, worked an honest job, there’s no reason he’d just up and die. But the authorities are thinking he died of a heart attack Sadie doesn’t buy it. Plus, his wife, Crystle, is acting strange. Still, others grieve differently and this just may be Crystle’s way. With two previous, highly acclaimed novels, THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD and ARROWOOD, Laura McHugh dives back into her vein of (Spiegel & Grau, August 6 2019). The writing is atmospheric, gritty, and bleak. This is a dark read comprised of a moving study of poverty and rural back-woodsy towns, colorful, often substance-abusing characters with an undercurrent of pain, sadness, and loneliness. The writing is astute; McHugh is a careful observer, which is exactly a skill a good author must possess. The story and the writing is both raw and poetic.  Told in …

Can one ever escape the ‘family roles’ we’re given? Lynda Cohen Loigman explores this and more in her smashing historical family drama set in WWII

By Leslie Lindsay  Captivating and stunning examination of family dysfunction, disharmony, sisterhood, and WWII in Lynda Cohen Loigman’s THE WARTIME SISTERS.    I had such admiration for Ms. Loigman’s debut, THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE (2016), and was delighted to see that she chose to continue her writing journey into historical fiction; she truly shines when exploring complicated familial relationships, and it makes for such authentic writing. Now, Lynda returns with her second novel, THE WARTIME SISTERS (St. Martin’s Press, Jan 22 2019) and it’s every bit as good–if not better–than her first. This is a mesmerizing tale of sisterhood, lies, betrayal, rivalries, motherhood, withheld communication, even religion. Told in alternating POVs with distinct places and time periods (1930s Brooklyn; 1940s Springfield, MA), the voices truly sing.  Ruth and Millie have never been close–not as toddlers sharing a bedroom in their Brooklyn apartment, not as teenagers navigating suitors and school (Ruth was the homely but smart sister and Millie the less-studious gorgeous sister), and certainly not as mothers with young children of their own. Ruth has always been the ‘responsible older sister’ who had to …

Wednesdays with Writers: Family Secrets, dark mysterious English Forests, Battered Cardigans, ‘The Crown,’ Roman Remains, and so much more in Kate Hamer’s next novel, THE DOLL FUNERAL

By Leslie Lindsay  After reading Hamer’s 2016 bestselling debut, THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT, I was eager to get my hands on her forthcoming title, THE DOLL FUNERAL (due out February 16 2017 by Faber & Faber). Ms. Hamer indicates she’s, “Mostly completely happy, but write dark,” and yes, that’s exactly how THE DOLL FUNERAL reads, a little slice of mirth mixed with darkness. Plus, isn’t that cover (and title!) just deliciously creepy?! There’s a lot going on in THE DOLL FUNERAL, and Hamer’s writing is so poetic, so poised, and yet so imaginative; for that reason, I adored reading her words. She’s truly a gifted writer.  Plot-wise the story is quite simple: 13-year old girl learns she’s adopted and goes on search for her ‘real family.’ Alternating between Ruby in present-day (1983) and also her birth year (1970), the two timelines are braided together in a mostly first-person POV. Note: most of the story is told from 13-year old Ruby’s POV, but she is highly imaginative, mature, and the story telling is not at …

Writers on Wednesday: How characters are like ‘lost souls’ at the airport, ghosts, old farm houses, and more in Elizabeth Brundage’s ALL THINGS CEASE TO APPEAR

By Leslie Lindsay  ALL THINGS CEASE TO APPEAR is like a slow boil, starting out  with tender delicate prose  and reaching a gritty climax. The story is  harrowing. Spooky, even. The characters are cold and stiff (quite literally, and that’s not just for the ones who are dead). ALL THINGS CEASE TO APPEAR is written almost in a frame style, that is, the book opens with a murder, then becomes filled in with a deliciously creepy and unsettling backstory/character study into the mind of sociopath, finishing off with an end-cap to the murder set in the first few pages. It’s at first blush, a ghost story, but there’s so much more to it, combining dark noir with gothic in a story about two families, one farmhouse, all of whom are wrapped in their own unhappiness, with a ribbon of art history, like a river running through connecting the gruesome unsolved murder. I am super-honored to have Elizabeth Brundage sit down and chat with us about her inspiration, her process, and the book. Please, join us. …

Write On, Wednesday: Heather Gudenkauf talks about her new psych thriller/mystery MISSING PIECES, Family secrets, trying something new (writing-wise), and the beauty of Iowa

By Leslie Lindsay  NYT bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf delivers a heart-racing, tightly plotted whodunit mystery which spans the course of about a week with glimpses into the past in her forthcoming MISSING PIECES (Feb 2, 2016). Sarah and Jack Quinlan seem to have the perfect life–married twenty years and having just sent their daughters off to college–they are polite and caring toward one another as any couple in a long-term relationship is. When Jack receives a call that his aunt has taken a fall and is seriously injured, Jack and Sarah travel to his hometown of Penny Gate, IA, a place he’s spent very little time in the last twenty years. And with good reason. I’m thrilled to have Heather join us as we chat about her fifth novel, MISSING PIECES. Leslie Lindsay: Heather, I am honored to have you pop over. I fell in love with your writing with your debut, THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE. I have to say, there seems to be a theme in your novels involving secrets. Can you speak to …