THE HOUSE IN THE ORCHARD – Elizabeth Brooks

“On closer inspection it’s obvious that every single one of the apples is rotten, whether they’re brown and speckled with mould, or green-gold and riddled with holes.” October is the perfect month for a slow burning gothic, and Elizabeth Brooks’s The House in the Orchard (Tin House 2022) is a quick read that hits theContinue reading “THE HOUSE IN THE ORCHARD – Elizabeth Brooks”

BRONZE DRUM – Phong Nguyen

“Gather around, children of Chu Diên, and be brave.  For even to listen to the story of the Tru’ng Sisters is, in these troubled times, a dangerous act.” The bones of Phong Nguyen’s Bronze Drum (Grand Central Publishing 2022) were exhilarating; it was an easy BOTM pick for me.  Historical fiction, cloaked in myth andContinue reading “BRONZE DRUM – Phong Nguyen”

WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS – Kelly Barnhill

“Beatrice and I walked home in the snow, pulling the weight of my mother’s memories behind us.” “There is a limit to how much we can hold, and how much we can keep in this world. It’s not a good idea to cling to the things you can’t bear to lose. That’s how we break,Continue reading “WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS – Kelly Barnhill”

BOOTH – Karen Joy Fowler

My third read of the 2022 Booker Prize longlist was Karen Joy Fowler’s Booth (Putnam 2022).  While Fowler is no stranger to the Booker Prize (she was shortlisted in 2014), this is my first novel by her.  While reviews are relatively mixed, I found it a fascinating, well researched and executed historical saga about theContinue reading “BOOTH – Karen Joy Fowler”

THE LOST QUEEN – Signe Pike

Signe Pike’s The Lost Queen (Touchstone 2018) is the first in a trilogy following Languoreth, twin of the man who’d inspire the legends of Merlin and forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland.  The first of series opens when she is 10, just after the death of her mother and ends when she’s 32 and standing deadContinue reading “THE LOST QUEEN – Signe Pike”

WOMAN OF LIGHT – Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s Woman of Light (One World, Penguin Random House 2022) was a highly anticipated read and yet another example of where my expectations for a book are unrealized.  One could argue that it was over-hyped and that’s why it fell short, but I’d argue that its failings are due to not providing enough fleshContinue reading “WOMAN OF LIGHT – Kali Fajardo-Anstine”

TAKE MY HAND – Dolen Perkins-Valdez

In 1973 Montgomery, Alabama, Minnie Lee and Mary Alice Relf, sisters both under the age of fifteen, were sterilized without their consent. The procedure was ordered and performed by a federally funded agency. Their social worker reported it to a local attorney, who filed a lawsuit.  Relf v. Weinberger brought to light the thousands ofContinue reading “TAKE MY HAND – Dolen Perkins-Valdez”

THE CHERRY ROBBERS – Sarai Walker

Sarai Walker’s The Cherry Robbers (Harper 2022) is a slow burn of a classic Gothic ghost story that just misses the mark.  I wanted to love it, and there are some fantastically crafted sections, but the overall feeling I was left with was “meh.”  That is due in large part to the lackluster and unsatisfactoryContinue reading “THE CHERRY ROBBERS – Sarai Walker”

LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY – Bonnie Garmus

Bonnie Garmus’s Lessons in Chemistry (Doubleday 2022) proved to be quite a timely read considering the recent SCOTUS leak – not because it features an abortion, but because it is wrapped in the confines of discrimination that have long held women hostage.  I work in a male-dominated field.  I frequently have clients assume I’m theContinue reading “LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY – Bonnie Garmus”

PEACH BLOSSOM SPRING – Melissa Fu

Family sagas are one of my most favorite genres. They tend to be epic, chunky novels that hit that sweet spot for me. When I saw Melissa Fu’s Peach Blossom Spring (Little, Brown and Company 2022), I knew I had to have it. It boasts a stunning cover, and it follows a time in ChinaContinue reading “PEACH BLOSSOM SPRING – Melissa Fu”