LONE WOMEN – Victor LaValle

Larry McMurtry meets Stephen King in Victor LaValle’s genre-bending Lone Women (One World 2023), and I couldn’t put it down. The novel opens with 31-year-old Adelaide Henry fleeing her family’s farm and heading to Montana.  She has a travel bag, a locked steamer trunk, and plans for a fresh start under the Homestead Act.  She’llContinue reading “LONE WOMEN – Victor LaValle”

CHAIN-GANG ALL-STARS – Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

“There’s blood on every piece of here.” Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Chain-Gang All-Stars (Pantheon Books 2023) has been compared to The Hunger Games meets Gladiator meets Squid Games, and it will fuck you up.  It’s a gory, bloodbath to the bitter end with a piercing sneer of a look at the US penal system that doesContinue reading “CHAIN-GANG ALL-STARS – Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah”

THE DAVENPORTS – Krystal Marquis

Inspired by the real-life Patterson family, Krystal Marquis’s The Davenports (Dial Books, 2023) is a young adult, Bridgerton-esque romance set in Chicago in 1910.  The Davenports are an extremely wealthy Black family, and that fortune has placed them in a very small section of the American population.  William Davenport, a former slave, built his empireContinue reading “THE DAVENPORTS – Krystal Marquis”

THE NEW LIFE – Tom Crewe

Tom Crewe’s debut novel, The New Life (Scribner 2023), is historical fiction based on actual events.  Crewe plays a little bit with the timeline and reimagines documented relationships as well as creates new ones.  In the Afterword, he writes “Truths needn’t always depend on facts for their expression.” Crewe is a novelist; he’s not aContinue reading “THE NEW LIFE – Tom Crewe”

AGE OF VICE – Deepti Kapoor

Billed as India’s response to The Godfather, Deepti Kapoor’s Age of Vice (Riverhead Books 2023)  is a gangster novel meets political commentary kissed with a romance wrapped in a family saga.  In short, it’s a muddled, confusing thrill ride of extreme violence and unlikeable characters.  Even though a bit sloppy at times and in seriousContinue reading “AGE OF VICE – Deepti Kapoor”


“I am trying to carve out a story between the macabre and the fairy tale, so that a glimmer of truth can appear.” “There are the goodbyes and then the fishing out of the bodies – everything in between is speculation.” Following the end of the Vietnam War, over 1,000,000 refugees fled Vietnam seeking refugeContinue reading “WANDERING SOULS – Cecile Pin”


Rowena Miller’s The Fairy Bargains of Prospect Hill (Redhook/Orbit, publication date 3/28/2023) is a bit The Once and Future Witches meets Practical Magic, but with fae instead of witches.  It’s a cozy fantasy of sisters, mothers, and womanhood woven with brilliant bits of family, society, and legends.  (A huge thanks to the publisher for thisContinue reading “THE FAIRY BARGAINS OF PROSPECT HILL – Rowenna Miller”

THE CRANE HUSBAND – Kelly Barnhill

The Crane Wife is a Japanese folktale wherein a man saves a wounded crane, and the crane returns as a beautiful woman. The man is poor, and the crane weaves her own feathers into beautiful garments that are sold for large sums. The woman is becoming increasingly ill as she is using her own feathersContinue reading “THE CRANE HUSBAND – Kelly Barnhill”

THE DOG OF THE NORTH – Elizabeth McKenzie

“They were the whimper rather than the bang at the end of my world, but I could not move forward if I were to permit myself the full brunt of my feelings.” In continuing with the 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist, I recently read Elizabeth McKenzie’s The Dog of the North (Penguin Press 2023).Continue reading “THE DOG OF THE NORTH – Elizabeth McKenzie”


The average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. Jane Roper’s upcoming release, The Society of Shame (Anchor Books, anticipated release date 4/4/2023) primarily takes place over the course of 28 days, and opens with a perimenopausal woman, Kathleen Held, finding her husband, who is running for US Senate, on the front lawn in his underwear, withContinue reading “THE SOCIETY OF SHAME – Jane Roper”