All posts tagged: secrets

Stunning literary fiction about race, class, family, secrets, injustice, more in Anissa Gray’s gorgeously rendered debut, THE CARE AND FEEDING OF RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY GIRLS, now in paperback

By Leslie Lindsay Everybody’s hungry in THE CARE AND FEEDING OF RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY GIRLS…daughters who yearn for mothers, sisters who need sisters… ~FICTION SPOTLIGHT|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~  NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!  One of the most anticipated reads of 2019 Vogue, Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Essence, Bustle, HelloGiggles and Cosmo! The poignant and emotionally affecting debut novel by CNN journalist Anissa Gray, THE CARE AND FEEDING OF RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY GIRLS (Berkley Trade Paperback, January 2020) is such an exquisite read about class, family, love, and more. Embraced by booksellers and librarians and endorsed by authors like Terry McMillan and Delia Owens, the novel is a powerful exploration of what it means to be middle class in today’s America—and what it feels like to be an outsider in your family and community. “If you enjoyed An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, read The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls…an absorbing commentary on love, family and forgiveness.” —The Washington Post  Gray grew up a pastor’s daughter in a small western Michigan town and drew from her experiences to create the intimately familiar world of the Butler family. Told from the alternating perspectives of sisters Althea,Viola, and Lillian, THE CARE AND FEEDING OF RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY …

Marriages in the 1950s–and before–might have been more about the wedding, not the relationship, plus drawing inspiration from Reno, an abandoned house, Sofia Grant talks about LIES IN WHITE DRESSES

By Leslie Lindsay  Historical women’s fiction set in the early 1950s when women were expected to fall in love, slip into a white dress and live happily-ever-after…but what if they don’t? I’ve heard of the ‘Reno Cure’ before–that is, back in the 1940s and 1950s, women requiring a speedy divorce headed to ‘ranches’ where they were await the six-week residency requirement to file for a divorce. That’s exactly what transpires in Sofia Grant’s LIES IN WHITE DRESSES (William Morrow, September 2019). It’s 1952 and San Francisco society matrons, Vi Carothers and Francine Meeker board a train for Reno, NV, where they will spend six weeks at the plush Holiday Ranch to contemplate their future. On the train, the bump into another woman, June Samples, traveling with her 4 year old daughter, Patty, also en route to Reno. “More than a skillfully woven novel, Lies in White Dresses reads like a black-and-white film that pulls you in from the very first scene…A memorable, atmospheric tale to savor with a friend and a rum-ginger fizz.” – Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of The Edge …

John McCarthy talks about the power of poetry, emotional response, the intuitive process of writing, the haunting landscape of the Midwest, an amazing reading list, and so much more in SCARED VIOLENT LIKE HORSES

By Leslie Lindsay  Gorgeously stark and stunning collection of prose poetry that is at once mysterious, raw, and evocative.  Selected by Victoria Chang (Pushcart Prize among many other accolades), as winner of the Jake Adam York Prize, John McCarthy’s SCARED VIOLENT LIKE HORSES is an examination of growing up–of masculinity–but there’s more. Buried beneath these complicated, yet tender words is a yearning. Maybe it’s to be seen, to be heard, for greater compassion. SCARED VIOLENT LIKE HORSES takes place in the Midwest–mostly Illinois–and this is something I completely ‘got.’ There’s a working-class grit, but also a sentimentality, a deep attention to detail, a nostalgia for simpler things. This work, I am guessing, is deeply personal about drunk fathers and unwell mothers, it’s about instability, and resilience, and isolation. And yet, it’s inspiring. I read SCARED VIOLET LIKE HORSES fairly quickly–a day or two–but it’s not meant to be rushed. I want to go back and savor the pages, fall into the folds of these glimmering metaphors, revel in the observations. This work deserves that. McCarthy’s tendency is storytelling–a narrative approach to …

Astonishingly Gripping, Hugely compelling, and so good–Shari Lapena is back with a new thriller set in an upper middle class neighborhood about teenage boys breaking into homes, plus the rhythm of writing, not plotting, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Suburban noir, paranoia, and murder. No one does it better than Shari Lapena in her fourth book, SOMEONE WE KNOW. INSTANT UK SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER NOTABLE BARNES & NOBLE JULY 2019 PICK Shari Lapena is among a rare breed of prolific women thriller writers. Each book is fabulous, hitting the New York Times bestseller list. In fact, her first thriller, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (2015) was on the list for twenty-three consecutive weeks. Her second book, A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE, sealed her fate. She knows what readers want. And last year’s summer hit, AN UNWANTED GUEST was a nod to Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, which had me re-thinking whether I should bring that book with me to a little inn on the coast of Michigan. I did, anyway. Clear your calendar for about 18-24 hours, because this book will be wholly consuming. It could easily be read in one sitting, but those of us who feel obligated to sleep or let the dog out, go to work, or …

Best-selling author Sally Hepworth is back with her best yet, THE MOTHER-IN-LAW. It’s a fragile bond, but could you kill her?

By Leslie Lindsay  A twisty, compelling novel about the fragile bonds of women–particularly the wife and mother-in-law dynamic–ending, or rather, beginning, in a mysterious death.  I am so intrigued with Sally Hepworth’s ‘darker’ women’s fiction and I think THE MOTHER-IN-LAW (St. Martin’s Press, April 23 2019) might be her best yet. From the moment Lucy met her mother-in-law, Diana, things had been rocky at best. Diana told her friends (and son) after that first meeting that Lucy was “just fine,” and well…Lucy wasn’t all that taken with Diane, either. She was polite and properly friendly, but guarded, cold. Having lost her own mother at a young age, Lucy was expecting a bit more…still, she wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law. That was a few years ago. Now, Lucy is mother to three and a stay-at-home mom. Things with Diana haven’t exactly been unicorns and rainbows, but Lucy has managed just fine. But, now, Diana is found dead in her home. There’s a suicide note near her body. Diana claimed she no longer wanted to live because she …

NYT Bestselling author Dani Shapiro talks about her sublime new memoir–finding herself, DNA, paternity, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  Wildly thought-provoking medical, ethical, and genetic mystery, Dani Shapiro opens up about her journey of identity in INHERITANCE.  A Washington Post, Vulture, Bustle, Real Simple, PopSugar, and LitHub  Most Anticipated Book of 2019  A New York Times Bestseller Dani Shapiro is the best-selling author of four memoirs, HOURGLASS, STILL WRITING, DEVOTION, and SLOW MOTION, and five novels including BLACK AND WHITE and FAMILY HISTORY. Her books span diverse subjects from her tumultuous upbringing in an Orthodox Jewish community and the tragic death of her father to her explorations of spirituality and the nature of our deepest relationships. Praise for INHERITANCE call it ‘important and timely,’ ‘beautiful but heartbreaking,’ and an ‘introspective mystery’ that is both ‘captivating and traumatic.’ I finished INHERITANCE (Knopf, January 15 2019) in just two sittings (but it could have been one if I had been more disciplined). Here, she begins with a lovely childhood memory of waking in the morning hours and scurrying to the bathroom where she perches on the sink to gaze at her reflection in the mirror. Who is this girl?  Seems this question has pierced …

Menacing, Melancholic debut from Emma Rous, THE AU PAIR, captures the English countryside, identity, and family secrets sublimely

By Leslie Lindsay Entrancing, melancholic and atmospheric narrative alternating between two female perspectives about identity, family, and secrets.  Dark family secrets prevail in this debut from Emma Rous (Berkley Trade Paperback original, January 8 2019). There’s scandal, infidelity, a seaside estate, a nanny, and suicide. Plus, what about those mysterious twins? I fell in love with the setting–the Summerbourne Estate captured my heart because I absolutely adore homes in general. And what stories those walls may tell–or in this case, the nanny. It’s 1991/92 and The Mayes family have hired Laura Silveira to help care for young Edwin, opening their lives up to some scrutiny. Laura is eighteen and needing a bit of respite from her failed A levels, taking a gap year to ‘sort herself out.’ Alternating perspectives dive into Seraphine’s present-day story in which she is struggling with the after-effects of her father’s recent death. When Seraphine–a twin–discovers an old photograph of her mother just after her birth, holding just one baby–who or where is the other twin? And why did her mother jump to her death just …

What if you stole someone’s identity then lied about it? Thomas Christopher Greene explores this, madness & despair in his stunning new novel, THE PERFECT LIAR

By Leslie Lindsay Gorgeously written, all-consuming, literary thriller had me flying through the pages to its disconcerting and haunting conclusion.  Thomas Christopher Greene has been a go-to for me for years. He has a seemingly effortless way with words, poignant insights into the human psyche, and his stories just naturally consume and propel. THE PERFECT LIAR (January 15, 2019 St. Martin’s Press), is no exception; I loved every minute. Max W. is a charismatic imposter living in Vermont. He recently accepted an appointment as an art professor at a local college and they ‘give them a house.’ What’s not to love? All along, Max W. (who was born Phil Wilbur) has carefully shrouded his meager origins in fraud–easily ‘borrowing’ the identity of a wealthy, unsuspecting art school graduate. He insinuates himself into Max W’s world and before you know it, he’s in too deep. But his wife, Susannah, has deep secrets of her own. She’s a young widow and a single mother who has married well, but then, disconcerting things start happening–menacing letters delivered to the home: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE and …

Behind the walls of an old house, lie secrets that generations have kept hidden from one another. Helen Klein Ross talks about obsessions, motherhood, and more in THE LATECOMERS

By Leslie Lindsay  Spellbinding historical fiction spanning five generations, plenty of secrets, richly researched, and highly detailed, THE LATECOMERS is perfect for fans of J. Courtney Sullivan, Christina Baker Klein, and even Jenny Worth of CALL THE MIDWIFE. Helen Klein Ross has outdone herself. Several years ago, I read her stunning and compelling WHAT WAS MINE and immediately fell in love; that story stuck with me and I raced to the climatic ending. THE LATECOMERS (Little, Brown November 2018) is a completely different kind of tale–but it’s just as good and showcases Klein-Ross’s historical writing–which absolutely shimmers. The author’s research is evident as much of the book features experiences of America and beyond through the years 1908-2018–and isn’t overdone. We start off in 1908 Ireland–Bridey is 16 years old when she runs off with her beau, Thom to America. Thom dies suddenly of ship fever on their ocean crossing and Bridey finds herself alone and pregnant in NYC. Forced to give the baby up for adoption, Bridey then takes a job as a housekeeper at a lavish estate, Hollingwood. But that child continues to haunt …

Wednesdays with Writers: Master of suspense and eerie ghost tales, Simone St. James tackles her most suspenseful tale to date about friendship, secrets, cold cases, the Holocaust, decaying boarding schools, and so much more in THE BROKEN GIRLS

By Leslie Lindsay  A chilling and disturbing tale of secrets, friendship, justice and…a ghost at an abandoned boarding school for girls… I tore through THE BROKEN GIRLS. It has all the elements I absolutely adore in a book: great, atmospheric writing, a gutsy protagonist, an old decaying building, secrets, mysteries and a ghostly haunt. Told in alternating POVs–and time periods–(1950s and 2014), THE BROKEN GIRLS is a break-out suspense novel from the award-winning author of THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE. If you’ve read that one, you’ll see how the style is similar, yet different. This  one is more suspenseful, more action-driven, but the writing is just as good . I love how St. James resurrects the history of the land where the old boarding house sits. The story is definitely eerie and unsettling, but handled in such a realistic and believable way. What if ghosts were really just manifestations of things that haunt you and not something beyond your control? THE BROKEN GIRLS touches on just that. Throw in a cold murder case from 1994, …