The carnival scene in Gilded Age New York City forms the colorful backdrop of Leslie Parry's remarkable first novel, Church of Marvels. Here, she opens up about the inspiration behind this high-wire act of historical fiction, reveals her dream sideshow act and shares her fail-proof cure for writer's block.
Author Seán Haldane explores the frontier culture of 1869 British Columbia in an award-winning novel that wades through people’s preconceptions and ideas about savagery and civilization, set at a moment when geographic boundaries are expanding and Charles Darwin’s ideas are just beginning to challenge old frames of mind. This singular story offers a lively, up-close look at Victorian manners and views of that time, set in the context of cold-blooded murder.
In Sarah McCoy’s new book, two protagonists tell the little-known history of Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown, the staunch abolitionist who was executed for the attack he led on Harper’s Ferry.
The central characters in The Daylight Marriage, Hannah and Lovell Hall, married young. She wanted stability; He wanted a chance at love. But as the years passed, resentments and unmet desires festered below the surface of their neat facade, creating a rift between the husband and wife that seemed insurmountable.
What if you had everything everyone thought you should want, only to realize it wasn’t what you wanted at all? That’s the dilemma facing Lily Wilder, who is about to marry the perfect man at the beginning of I Take You. However, tying the knot means the end of her romantic freedom—something that fun-loving Lily has always reveled in. Eliza Kennedy answered a few questions about her debut novel and its unconventional heroine.
Three highly-acclaimed novels from 2014 are now in paperback and are sure to make for great group discussion this month.
In his second novel, Christopher Bollen brings a fresh perspective to the tale of a small town that hides secrets beneath its sleepy facade. With Orient, Bollen takes a real place—the North Fork of Long Island—and weaves a mesmerizing fictional web of characters and mysteries into a story that is as viscerally thrilling as it is intellectually precise.
An aspiring writer from an affluent Chicago suburb who never finishes anything he starts, Joshua Levin has never had to suffer much. His life is “a warm blanket,” in contrast to the lives of the immigrants he teaches as an ESL instructor, and his creative endeavors have been as futile and disheartening as the Cubs at nearby Wrigley Field. That is, until Joshua comes up with an idea for a script called Zombie Wars that could be his big break, and the sad but beautiful Bosnian woman in his class, Ana, starts to seduce him.
Screenwriter and author Lisa Lutz is well known for her zany mystery series starring Izzy Spellman, private eye. Here she jumps into mainstream women’s fiction with How to Start a Fire, an engaging portrait of female friendship spanning two decades. In 1993, when all three are students at UC Santa Cruz, freshman roommates Kate and Anna find George passed out on the lawn outside the party they had all attended. The three young women quickly become friends during their undergraduate years and beyond, the bonds between them tightening and loosening over the years.
Teddy Todd, who first appeared in Kate Atkinson’s thrilling Life After Life (2013), served as a British pilot in World War II. As a young man in the throes of a brutal war, he “didn’t expect to see the alchemy of spring, to see the dull brown earth change to bright green and then pale gold.”