Reimagining a well-trodden fairy tale is tricky business. Rely too much on the tropes of the original story, and the plot becomes wooden, predictable and dull. Drift too far, and it’s easy to lose the point of the exercise. Few writers can pull off this balance, but with While Beauty Slept, Elizabeth Blackwell proves she’s one of them.
Failure and sin, redemption and healing form the backbone of these five novels, much as they do in the Bible that inspires writers of Christian fiction. From thrilling mystery and longed-for relationships to tests of will and heart, these works of fiction highlight God’s grace to man—who desperately needs it.
Ellen Litman gives a new twist to the familiar coming of age/boarding school story (think A Separate Peace, Prep, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) in her second novel, Mannequin Girl. Set in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, it features the precocious daughter of two teachers whose life is radically changed when she receives a diagnosis of scoliosis.
Not unlike Frankenstein, that other Gothic masterwork of the 19th century, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde—originally published in 1886—is a surprisingly slight book whose enduring impact has far outstripped its original ambitions. At barely a hundred pages, it is a quickly read novella, as noteworthy for what is left unsaid as for what is portrayed. This classic good vs. evil fable has provided the template and inspiration for an array of adaptations and interpretations over the last century and a quarter. The latest is Hyde, Daniel Levine’s ambitious and imaginative literary debut.
Louis Bayard blends historical narrative and otherworldly mystery in his reimagining of Theodore and Kermit Roosevelt’s 1914 Amazon expedition.
What was the initial inspiration for Roosevelt’s Beast?
That’s a bit shrouded in mystery.
When Lavender sends out invitations to her 85th birthday bash, it’s more than just a celebration. One of the guests might be lucky enough to inherit the Lavender Honey Farm she has so laboriously carved out of her family land, and in which her nephews are not interested. With that in mind she invites three fellow food bloggers (they call themselves the “Foodie Four”) to visit and celebrate the special occasion, and each responds from the center of a complicated life.
Three of our favorite books of 2013 are now available in paperback, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's astounding third novel. These books are guaranteed to delight and spark discussion in your reading group.
Diana Morgan has focused her career as a philologist (one who engages in the study of literary text and written records), on the Amazons, the legendary warrior women of ancient Greece—and with good reason. They’re rooted in her own family history. Before disappearing without a trace, Diana’s grandmother used to regale her with stories about the lost tribe of warrior women.
There’s nothing more peaceful than a 3 A.M. jog on an ocean boardwalk with waves lapping in the distance and no one around—or is there? In Runner, the debut novel in Patrick Lee’s new thriller series, retired special forces op Sam Dryden finds he’s not jogging alone but running for his life, along with a young stranger—an 11-year-old girl who’s fleeing from some smart, devious pursuers . . .
BookPage Fiction Top Pick, March 2014
Alice Hoffman’s latest novel has the word “extraordinary” in the title for good reason: The best-selling author of The Dovekeepers has served up another historical novel that will dazzle readers until the last page.