Book Reviews

“The Lantern” by Deborah Lawrenson

Eve, a young translator only a few years out of college, already feels trapped in the turn her life had taken. Everything changes when she meets Dom. She leaves her life in England behind as they set out on an extended, dream-like vacation that includes buying an estate in Provence.

“All There Is” by Dave Isay

The period of time between Christmas and Valentine’s Day is the worst. You can’t swing a cat without hitting some diamond ad. (Sorry, Kizmet.) It would appear that it’s not love if he didn’t go to Jared, and it won’t last forever if it wasn’t designed by Jane Seymour. Let’s not even talk about eHarmony.

“Faith” by Jennifer Haigh

Late in life—long after their tumultuous childhoods—Art Breen and Sheila McGann became friends. As half-siblings, they were separated by more than a decade, and their different paths in life sometimes seemed like an unbridgeable gulf.

“Unnatural Selection” by Mara Hvistendahl

Mara Hvistendahl’s Unnatural Selection examines the issue of sex selective abortion. The book outlines how a combination of the increasing availability of abortions and ultrasound technology and a strong cultural and individual preference for boys has contributed to a staggering deficit of 160 million women and girls.

“Before They Are Hanged” by Joe Abercrombie

Before They Are Hanged, the second book in Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, takes off right where The Blade Itself left off. Glokta, the crippled torturer with a sense of humor as sharp as his tools, has been promoted within the Inquisition. His new post in the besieged city of Dagoska brings him dangerously close to his old friends, the Gurkish—the enemies to the South who introduced Glokta to the torturing biz years before.

“The Blade Itself” by Joe Abercrombie

The Northmen have invaded Angland. The northernmost territory of the Union, a kingdom similar to Europe (or perhaps just a larger England), Angland has served as a tenuous barrier between the civilized Union and the wild tribes of the North, now held loosely under the control of Bethod, their self-proclaimed King.

“American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld

Alice Blackwell can’t stop thinking about the man camped outside the White House. He won’t leave, he pledges, until he can convince Charlie Blackwell, to end the war in Iraq. For the first time in many years, Alice begins to agree with the man: her husband, the President of the United States, is wrong.

“Delirium” by Lauren Oliver

“It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientist perfected a cure.” So begins Lauren Oliver’s electrifying book, Delirium, the first in a trilogy of the same name.

“The Heroine’s Bookshelf” by Erin Blakemore

Recently I’ve been looking back on some of my favorite books from childhood–especially old and new stories about smart, strong women. It’s good to know that I’m not alone in my reminiscing; Erin Blakemore, for one, often returns to her well-worn copies of girlhood classics.

“The Personal History of Rachel DuPree” by Ann Weisgarber

Rachel DuPree is tired. Her five living children are hungry and thirsty, and the baby due any day will add another weight to Rachel’s already overburdened shoulders. The DuPrees have scraped through the long summer drought with dreams of cool drinking water and full bellies, and Rachel is sick with a feeling of failure; she has failed to provide for her family, and she has failed to tame the wild lands that she and her husband, Isaac, claimed fourteen years ago.

“The Chicktionary” by Anna Lefler

Anna Lefler, stand-up comedian and writer at Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder, has a fresh, intelligent sense of humor that shines in The Chicktionary. Meant as a reference book to the sometimes mystifying and always evolving language of women, Lefler’s satirical book is a barrel of laughs.

“The Printmaker’s Daughter” by Katherine Govier

Oei is a painter in her father’s studio, his oldest and most faithful disciple. Her father, Hokusai, is a famed artist throughout Edo, and his influence is reaching other parts of Japan as well. Despite the shogun’s censorship of art and free speech, Hokusai’s work only grows in popularity, and he even sells his art to the Dutch traders who are allowed limited engagement with Japan.

“A Train in Winter” by Caroline Moorehead

In January 1943, two hundred and thirty women of the French Resistance were sent to the death camps by the Nazis who had invaded and occupied their country.

In 1941, Nazi Germany easily defeated France and struck a deal with a well-loved World War I hero, Marshal Philippe Pétain, who would lead the occupied country. In return, the Vichy government would collaborate with the occupiers.