BookPage Fiction Top Pick, June 2014
The best historical fiction offers readers a new look at a well-known subject, or illuminates an episode or individual that has been lost to history. Playwright Kimberly Elkins achieves the latter in What Is Visible, a strikingly original debut novel about Laura Bridgman, the first deaf and blind person to communicate through finger spelling.
Richard Haddon has screwed up royally with his wife, and he’ll do anything to get her back.
Richard, a British contemporary artist, met his near-perfect French wife while enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design. From the moment he spotted Anne-Laure de Bourigeaud, Richard was convinced that she was the woman for him.
With daily news headlines detailing the tragedies that can unfold when a battle-weary soldier returns home from war, Las Vegas author Laura McBride’s first novel, We Are Called to Rise, is hauntingly timely.
Literature is replete with unreliable narrators, but you’ve never encountered an unreliable narrator like the one in Emma Healey’s mournful and luminous debut novel, Elizabeth Is Missing. Maud Horsham isn’t remotely evil. She’s not pathologically dishonest, nor does she have some deep, dark secret to hide. Her unreliability comes simply from the fact that she’s elderly and her memory is failing fast. On top of this, she’s absolutely sure that her friend Elizabeth is missing.
British author Emma Healey may be only 29 years old, but she has created a poignant portrait of a woman with dementia in her luminous debut novel, which contains a double mystery.
Was there a specific inspiration for the character of Maud?
Although my father’s mother, Nancy, has dementia and her experiences gave me ideas for some of the scenes in the book, it was my mother’s mother, Vera, who most influenced the character of Maud.
“Am I really going to tell a story from a dead-and-buried baby’s point of view?” Courtney Collins asked herself, early in the writing of her stunning debut novel, The Untold.
The author was a year into a fictionalized portrait of real-life Australian female outlaw Jessie Hickman. And to be perfectly honest, the story just wasn’t working.