Author Archive


I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
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How do you put into words the anguish and ecstasy of first love? Dodie Smith managed that and much more in her 1948 novel, I Capture the Castle, a YA (young adult) novel of the first rate, written long before the term was coined. It’s 1930’s England. Teenaged Cassandra Mortmain lives with her impoverished though […]

Classic Ray Bradbury

Classic Ray Bradbury

It’s too early to tell if the works of Ray Bradbury will last far into the future, but since his death in 2012 the idea has been tossed around, and not just by me. Certainly Bradbury was not considered a classic by the person who bought his home of 50 years and destroyed it last […]

Orphan Train

Orphan Train

Christina Baker Kline‘s novel Orphan Train was published in 2013. Still selling strong, it’s a favorite with book clubs and readers of historical fiction. When my book club decided to take it on, I was excited. Between 1854 and 1929, more than 200,00 East Coast orphans were sent to the Midwest by train to find […]

Royal Tea Party

Royal Tea Party

Is your little girl into being a princess? Maybe she’d like to meet some real ones… Future kings, queens, princes, and princesses, come dressed in your finery for a very special visit from the 2015 Tournament of Roses Royal Court, who will share their favorite princess stories and recent Tournament experiences. Bring a camera, your […]

The Grand Duchess of Nowhere

The Grand Duchess of Nowhere

When a novel opens with a two-page diagram showing generations of the Romanov family tree, I admit to being daunted. Yet The Grand Duchess of Nowhere by Laurie Graham is not daunting at all. Told in the chatty, first-person voice of the Grand Duchess Victoria (Melita) Feodorovna, it’s brisk and lively. I quickly came to […]

Primal Scene

Primal Scene

The church my family attended in our medium-sized, Midwestern town held an annual mother/daughter banquet. Every woman was expected to volunteer. My mother was a teacher and breadwinner before the feminist movement gave her permission; it wasn’t like her to make a casserole or decorate the church basement. She was a writer and had studied […]

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas

“Being a Jane Austen Mystery,” I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this derivative work by Stephanie Barron. Baron’s Jane, a character based on her historical counterpart, solves murder mysteries. (No zombies.) Barron has captured Austen’s tone, if not Austen herself, with early 19th century humor and gentile snark. The story takes place in an English country […]

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells

Early in Andrew Sean Greer’s The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, Greta walks with her beloved twin brother, Felix, near their childhood home, a brownstone in Patchin Place, Manhattan. It’s their 31st birthday and they’ve just left the party, happy in each other’s company. When a neighbor is outwardly unkind to them Felix asks her, […]

Out Stealing Horses

Out Stealing Horses

Per Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses shimmers with blue: the bright blue of a Norwegian summer sky, the dark blue of a moonless night, the blue-black of a flowing river, even the faded blue flowers on the cloth of a woman’s dress. From his perspectives as a 67-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy, Trond Sander tells […]

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” The opening sentence of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar reflects the ambivalence of her main character, a young and talented woman who’s discovering that what she wants (to be a great writer) […]

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