Fiction and Non-Fiction

5-Stars. Martyrs and Traitors: A Tale of 1916 by Marina Julia Neary

Historical Fiction
November 28, 2012

A Literary and Historical Treasure

Martyrs and Traitors“My lifelong quest is to dig up lost treasures, literary and historical, and bring into light those figures that have remained in the shadow for whatever reason …this novel is my hymn for all prematurely extinguished stars.”

This quote from Marina Julia Neary’s bio, although placed at the end of the novel, is a perfect place to begin my thoughts on it. `Martyrs and Traitors’ is a complex and character driven historical fiction that goes below the textbook surface of historic events and the people involved in them, and highlights the clash of cultures and motives, foolishness and courage that so often underlie them. Its theatrical, dialogue-rich style employs a multitude of players in the lead up to the Irish Easter Rebellion of 1916, its dramatic and bloody realization, and the subsequent building of the new Irish state, weaving their stories into that of the Quaker Ulsterman and atypical revolutionary, Bulmer Hobson. Too often a mere footnote in history, Hobson was somewhat of an anti-hero, awkward in himself yet (often unrealistically) determined in his beliefs, at times his own worst enemy, brought up to avoid violence but at one point earning the British government’s label of “The most dangerous man in Ireland”.

Ms. Neary cleverly and unsentimentally develops Hobson’s relationships, especially with the women who come and go in his life, including his mother, sister, various lovers, wife, and finally his daughter. Although the novel focuses on Hobson, Ms. Neary leaves us in no doubt that she meant to bring these women to the forefront of the social and political story of Ireland as well as Hobson’s, making each of them significant characters in their own right, and offering, for me, some of the most compelling reading in the novel.

Ms. Neary nimbly makes you think and dream, believe and question, smile and cower, rise and fall right along with the company of `Martyrs and Traitors’. As if directing a movie or play, and with literary agility, she manages a large cast that is initially (and purposefully) disconnected but slowly through integrated historical detail, absorbing conversations, layered characterizations, and plot dexterity, tells a hypnotizing story.

This was a challenging novel to read, for its length and intersecting plots and their many accomplices, but very satisfying, engaging me more and more with each chapter. In the end it proved entertaining and energizing, rewarding my intellect and stirring my sense of the powerful ambiguity and subjectivity of life and its causes. A highly recommended read!
Available in Paperback, Kindle and Audio Book Editions (also as a NOOK Book)

3-Stars. Rebel Puritan (A Scandalous Life) by Jo Ann Butler

Historical Fiction
January 14, 2013

Well-researched and Interesting Story

A Rebel PuritanThe opening scenes of ‘Rebel Puritan’ are a powerful reminder of how life teeters on the edge of change. This was even truer for our ancestors, especially those on the lower levels of society who were so dependent on the land, their health, and the stability of each other for survival.

In the first chapters, Ms. Butler engagingly introduces us to Herodias Long at the age of twelve as a headstrong, impulsive, even precocious girl whose childhood ends as her family is dealt a tragic–but not uncommon for the times–blow. Despite her willfulness and resourcefulness, Herod is unwillingly swept from country to city life and into the control of strangers who hardly have the time or inclination to protect her and, in fact, see her more as a commodity than a vital and vulnerable young person.

Then a fateful meeting seems to offer her a chance for escape from servitude, as well as adventure and even some happiness. Of course there are many dangers inherent in desperate choices, and Herod soon realizes that the challenges she faces as an inexperienced and optimistic young woman are as old as new.

Ms. Butler’s writing is clear and fluid; her knowledge of the political, religious and superstitious backdrop, physical locations, social mores, and even everyday objects and activities of 17th century England and Colonial America offer a believable and interesting narration. Ms. Butler makes a commendable statement of how strength and vulnerability run parallel, and that women, long before feminism and the encouragement and support for legal redress, could have a strong sense of themselves and their human rights to take a stand against physical and emotional abuse.

The novel was, for me, more moving at the beginning than the end, even though the `final’ events are dramatic I didn’t feel their impact and wasn’t as invested in the continuation of the heroine’s story as I should have been. For me it lacked subjectivity, a lingering on moments (so often a casualty of stories that travel an extended period of time) and deepening of characters especially the main ones. I wanted to feel Herod’s enticing beauty more, really get `inside’ her growing from a child into a woman and be more affected by her relationships to her children and with her husband and lover.

Saying that, I enjoyed this novel and recommend it for its well-researched and interesting story, very able writing and important statement about the struggle of and prejudices against women that are, amazingly, still at issue today.
Available in Kindle Edition

4-Stars. Orphan of the Olive Tree by Mirella Patzer

Historical Fiction
January 14, 2013
Bonds, Rivalries, Superstitions, and Consequences

Orphan of the Olive TreeThis saga of two 13th century Italian families is authentic and dramatic from the opening. Adept at weaving a more and more intricate web of bonds, rivalries, superstitions, and inevitable consequences, Ms. Patzer is a wonderful storyteller. She incorporates the historical background and physical particulars with descriptive ease to transport the reader into beautiful Tuscan exteriors and interiors, the dangerous urban world of Sienna, and the naïve seclusion of a cloister. The novel is well balanced between interesting and believable dialogue that reveals much about its characters while moving the story along, and its lyrical depictions of the countryside, weather, clothes, food, festivals, even the utensils and tools used in cooking and farming. Ms. Patzer’s attention to detail as well as her innate understanding of the novel’s pious and paganistic context, are what, for me, give her writing its distinction.

Although at times predictable, it never lacks in anticipation, and proved an enjoyable and affecting read.
Available in Paperback and Kindle editions

4-Stars. The Cross and the Dragon by Kim Rendfeld

Historical Fiction
June 8, 2013

Ms. Rendfeld’s Fascination with Legends and Fairy Tales Shines Through

The Cross and the DragonA trip to Germany, a story about castle ruins and an eleventh century French epic planted the seeds that grew into this heroic but very human tale about political maneuvering, love, honor, betrayal and courage. Set amidst castles, priories, the countryside and battlefields of France, Germany and Spain in the time of Charlemagne, this well-researched-and-structured work is an interesting and affecting read.

Essentially a love story, the novel revolves around Alda, a willful young woman who believes – insists! – she can gratify her heart’s desire and filial duty. Her beloved Hroudland is a brave, sensitive but sometimes erratic man whose loyalty to her is tested and threatened by a volatile rival, family objections, questions about Alda’s fidelity, a long separation and recovery from near fatal wounds, and even the prospect of him having to relinquish his rightful inheritance.

Ms. Rendfeld adeptly meets the challenge she set for herself: `to portray history and politics without bogging down the story.’ The narrative never loses its way or feels laden with historical particulars. It is enriched by how seamlessly Ms. Rendfeld shares her in-depth knowledge of the political environment’s alliances and enmities, as well as the food, clothing, customs, mores, religious and paganistic habits of the period. The descriptions of the aftermath of warfare, especially regarding its human toll, are particularly effective and heart-wrenching.

Written with an understanding that in the early medieval world privilege didn’t shield one from the harsh realities of physical hardships, war, shifting fortunes or human frailties, this is a story about endurance of the body and spirit, moving from the hopes of innocence to the resilience of maturity, and concluding with a sense that the head cannot go wrong when guided by the heart.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

Historical Fiction
January 11, 2014

A Transformational Journey on Many Levels

A River that is CongoIt’s wonderful when a novel proves a transformational journey, externally to a geographical location not encountered before and, also, internally to places in the heart and mind that insist on conscience and compassion. ‘A River That Is Congo, of Rulers and Ruled’, set in the early years of the 20th century, is such a voyage. Through rich revealing descriptions and characterizations, informational and disturbing lessons in history, and the experiences of a rather naïve (at first), pragmatic but high-minded individual, it shows how greed and corruption lead to injustice and abhorrent suffering.

Like the novel’s protagonist, Pierre d’Entremont, who thought he had taken up his commission in the Force Publique merely to pass a little of his youth and, hopefully, share in some of the fortune to be made in the Belgium Congo, I found myself on a slowly evolving and unexpected passage into a sense of moral and humanistic outrage at the brutality of colonialism from which there was no return.

This is a narrative that is very well-constructive with movement and quietness, too; shocking but also delicate so it’s never extraneously or manipulatively violent. Intensely adventurous, it’s also romantic and speaks to loyalty and respect for life on many levels. It is the story of men made monstrous by their need for power and self-indulgence, those who weakly cower and wait, others who proudly stand and fall, and a cautious rebel until circumstances demand that he act in a way he never imagined he would and somehow has to come to terms with. Perhaps he’s an accidental hero—or not by chance at all. The ending was very surprising until it wasn’t, full of the sad understanding that the innocent too often become victims of the crimes of the guilty over and over again.
Available in Paperback, Kindle and Audio Book Editions

 

4-Stars. Swift Currents of Change by Janet Ashworth

Historical Fiction
February 7, 2014
Historical Fiction That Lets the Past Live and Breathe

Swift Currents of Change imageSwift Currents of Change is an excellent historical fiction that lets the past live and breathe through the lives of ordinary folk in extraordinary times. This is storytelling that matters, because it fills out the often dry facts we learned at school. The novel unfolds through the folksy vernacular of the grandmother in a kind of Tom Sawyer narrative about the restlessness of innocence, which has yet to learn the old adage: be careful what you wish for. I love this line of dialogue from near the end of chapter one: “While I was looking to change myself back in 1859, my world was about to be changed forever.”

The novel progresses very well from the simplicity of a childhood that, while far from being idyllic, is fairly happy and predictable, to the complications of an adult world full of uncertainty, conflict, inhumanity and heartbreak along with hopes, ideals and heroism. It is about growing and learning, and understanding if not always with acceptance. All the characters are very dimensional and engaging; they are like pieces to a puzzle: some fit into the scheme of things easier than others. I felt the emotions, including anticipation, love, fear disappointment and frustration—all that the characters were going through, which proves the effectiveness of the writing. The descriptions of the environment were beautifully blended around the action, at times seeming to participate in it.

I was impressed that Ms. Ashworth didn’t make the story melodramatic, that she recognized how somehow life goes on for those who survive terrible yet transforming events, that the everyday things still matter and will continue to for generations to come. If you love history, especially concerning everyday people experiencing it in the making, I highly recommend Swift Currents of Change.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

 

5-Stars. White Horse Regressions by Steve Lindahl

Paranormal Fiction
March 3, 2014

A Karmic Dance of Twists and Turns

Whitehorse Regressions imageWhat begins as a murder mystery evolves into a hypnotic investigation that uncovers the centuries-old connections between a cast of characters fated to repeat the circumstances, intrigues and tragedies of their past lives. Through a series of sessions in which the participants regress to Victorian London and ancient China, stories within the story unfold, relationships are defined and rituals revealed, more questions raised than answered until a disturbing and seemingly unbreakable pattern emerges.

Mr. Lindhal’s suspenseful novel moves backwards and forwards in a karmic dance that also twists and turns; a profound and poignant narrative about reincarnation as it relates to love and friendship, vulnerability and power, the myth of inevitability and the possibilities for better times to come.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

 

5-Stars. Tally: An Intuitive Life by Mary Clark

Memoir
May 31, 2014

Mary Clark’s memoir underscores the miracle of unexpected relationships in transforming lives.

Tally imageTally: An Intuitive Life celebrates questioning and follows the thread of discourse to illustrate how self-discovery is made by way of life’s journey passing through many destinations.

Wandering along a narrative rich with compelling philosophical conversations and very personal events, this remembrance of Bohemian artist, Paul Johnson (PJ), transports the reader to avant-garde Greenwich Village in the 1970’s and 80’s and further back through his earlier history. Much of the book allows the reader to have a `fly-on-the-wall’ look into the solitary, collaborative and transformational experiences of the creative, eccentric, needy yet detached `intuitively conscious’ PJ; and the absorbing, if often ambiguous, connection he makes with the sensitive, curious, compassionate and intelligent young poet and community organizer, Erin.

I was especially drawn in by the novel’s main storyline of youth intersecting with old age on a basis of shared pursuits and exploration of ideas. In today’s society, there is often separation of the young and the elderly, as if one is offensive or even a threat to the other. It’s usually assumed they have nothing in common or to cultivate with each other.

The young can put a lot of time and energy into longing and looking for external experiences to shape their lives; even those who are creative tend to expect inspiration, knowledge and fulfillment to come from somewhere outside of their own abilities, feelings and instincts. In its best scenario, aging makes us weary of life’s pursuits, necessitating reflection over action; so we become less frantic and more self-realized and consciously alive at eighty than we were at twenty.

PJ can `speak’ for himself on this: “Let it cease. I have created many new identities. I have found new reasons to live. I have lived through phases of bliss, of romantic love, phases of death of consciousness, of depression and aspirations beyond achieving, and the fullness of the joy of being alive.”

As a writer and artist, I fully related and engaged with this continuous cycle of conclusions making new beginnings.

In itself an evolutionary work, Tally: An Intuitive Life focuses on the development of the artist into something much more than a man or woman undertaking some kind of creative venture. Like anyone else, he/she is layered by life; the difference is that his/her experiences aren’t a means to an end but a compulsion of becoming, even after death.

Unexpectedly, I found myself very moved by the book’s ending, feeling the question: how can we be sure we have influenced someone as significantly as they have influenced us? I was deeply affected by the sense that for all left unsaid and undone, so much was understood. Erin–Mary–will never forget PJ, the artist and man, and now neither will those who, through the brilliant delicacy and honesty of her writing, can have the fascinating experience of knowing something of him, too.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

 

5-Stars. Ghost Writings: A Ghost Story Guide – Deborah Bennison (Editor) and Neil Wilson (Introduction)

Non-Fiction/Reference
July 26, 2014

Ghost Writings: Beyond the Obvious.

Ghost WritingsThere is much to learn about the essence and evolution of the ghost story in the pages of the unique, precisely conceived and satisfyingly constructed ‘Ghost Writings’. It is not merely a listing of ghost stories and their authors, in this case British. It is rich in information about the genre, with introductory in-depth essays by the ghost story bibliographer, Neil Wilson, who offers fascinating insights into its fairy-tale, folk, religious and occult origins, its variations reflective of fashions and obsessions, and its development through the `golden age’ of spiritualism, artistic movements, and physiological, scientific and technological advancements such as radio and film.

Included are brief but tantalizing biographies. Ms. Bennison honors the obvious–masters of the craft like Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker–but, also, reveals “the double life” of literary figures not necessarily associated with the supernatural; one of the most surprising for me being E. Nesbitt, author of ‘The Railway Children’. There are others, great mainstream writers like L.P Hartley and D.H. Lawrence who ventured into other-worldly territory. Ghost Writings clears away the cobwebs from the lives and works of more obscure writers. The long list of female writers, a few well-known to me like Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell and Agatha Christie, insists–as do all the other categories–on being investigated further.

Traveling the ghost story’s journey through time, I felt some regret that its traditional and subtle nature, which inspired “a pleasing terror” (to quote ghost story writer, M.R. James, 1862-1936), has been lost to a pessimistic and continuously violent post WWII world, the modern appetite for speed and sensationalism, and absence of fundamental moral consideration. Contributor, Neil Wilson, admits that in order for the genre to remain vital it must continue to embrace the changes that retain its relevance to the world in which its current readers live. He also acknowledges that the need to “exceed previous levels of sensationalism” drains, depresses and certainly desensitizes perhaps more than is healthy for the genre or its followers–not so unlike what happened towards the end of the Gothic era; after all, the beginning of yet another metamorphosis.

As a writer who has just incorporated a ghostly presence into a novel’s story line, I know how difficult it is to achieve with finesse and credibility. All the more reason I found this book engrossing and important. Ms. Bennison’s obvious passion for the subject and skilled editing and compilation effortlessly achieves her aim of enticing readers into exploring the ghost story through all its stages, possibilities and impossibilities; and, most importantly, far beyond the obvious.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

 

5-Stars. Conversations Among Ruin by Matthew Peters

Fiction
August 13, 2014

A Self-Destructive Path Leads to New Possibilities Out of the Old.

Conversations among ruinsMatthew Peters’ raw and yet lyrical novel, Conversations Among Ruins, centers on college professor, Daniel Stavros: a man of intellect, imagination and deep experience with a complicated capacity for love—qualities that have been thwarted and manipulated, leaving him unable to live healthily and productively. At war with himself and his personal and professional circumstances, he is caught in the muddy trenches of the past and cross-fire of the present; unlikely to survive let alone believe in and fight for a better future. Through—as the title suggests—a dialogue with all that haunts him, he enables and challenges his debilitating lifestyle and self-hatred in an emotional, psychological and spiritual journey through addiction, denial, obsession, regret and grief. Over and over he fails to make the most of opportunities to recover and renew and it seems he may never get off the rollercoaster ride of compulsive behavior that blurs his perception of where he is, has come from and is going.

“There’s no worse cellmate than yourself.” For me, much of Conversations Among Ruins is about escape, especially from healing. This is not a read for the faint-hearted; but an important one that reaches out beyond Stavros’ story, speaking to addictions of all kinds that too often paralyze our emotions, talents and potential for peace and fulfillment. Unapologetically and hypnotically, the novel shows how Stavros’ masochistic sense of comfort and companionship in alcoholism, drug abuse and overall obsessiveness, erodes and excludes important human relationships; sabotages his career; separates him from the simpler pleasures, as with a beloved pet; and overall distorts his view of the truth and significance of his life.

Mr. Peters’ writing is effortlessly prosaic and poetic—”The cramped psychiatrist’s office, near the nursing station.” “A banal, middle-aged man sits stiffly in a roller-chair behind a pressboard desk, eying Stavros like an interesting insect” … and one of my favorites … “he cries and bleeds until the stars come out, and then the darkness.” The novel presents a stark sometimes cold reality, but has heart and soul and even a mystical perspective. The ending is suspenseful, surprising and relieving, as Stavros unwillingly (at first) and fortuitously detours from his self-destructive path and begins to move through doors that open on new possibilities out of the old; encapsulated in an important message he receives that, hopefully, will allow him to heal after all.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

 

5-Stars. Montpelier Tomorrow by Marylee MacDonald

Fiction
November 11, 2014

An Important Story about Coping with Adversity

Montpelier TomorrowAt its most obvious, Montpelier Tomorrow is about a family’s struggle with one of their own being diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and the demanding caregiving and improvised coping that ensues. Even with all the publicity this incurable progressive disorder has recently received, this book’s ability to reach out might have been limited in its appeal to those who had specific experience of ALS or some other chronic neurological condition such as MS. However, it has so much more to offer than a discourse on the ravages of ALS. Written from the heart with intelligence and honesty, a touch of the everyday on almost every page, wit tempering the harshness of the subject, vulnerability and frustration given as much attention as the call to strength and sacrifice; this very readable book speaks to the reality and challenges of sustaining relationships with family and friends despite—to borrow a concept from Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath—life’s jerks.


Through lithe storytelling Ms. MacDonald’s narrative tackles the feelings and behavior that rise out of the sense of powerlessness illness can evoke, as well as conflicts that may never have a chance for complete resolution. It addresses the material, emotional and even conscionable resources that affect each one’s ability to cope with adversity—how some grit their teeth and do things that have to be done and others avoid the nitty-gritty of the situation. No judging going on, though. By her own admission (in an interview with the Literary Fiction Book Review), Ms. MacDonald says she writes to be a “storyteller not a preacher” and throughout the book she remains true to that objective. She handles all aspects of the story without pretension or sentimentality and offers a compellingly sincere personal perspective.

The book’s narrator, Colleen, mother-in-law of the ALS sufferer, is independent, forthright, loyal and forgiving. For anyone who has ever had to relinquish their own routine or goals as a caregiver, she is relieving to identify with because she doesn’t play the martyr or mask her grief, desire and irritation, or hide her human frailties from others and herself. However, she is honorable and strives to love unconditionally and pragmatically, to give herself over to caring for and understanding her daughter, sons, son-in-law, grandchildren, students and even strangers such as a young unwed mother, while realizing she has to honor her own needs and forge ahead with fulfilling them in whatever way is still viable.
The ending offers the unexpected in terms of what is about to be lost: the end of life looming for us all at every moment, but, also, the possibilities for how it will go on.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

5-Stars. Never Be at Peace by Marina Julia Neary

Fiction
January 3, 2015

Nothing is what it seems–especially not history or heroism, loyalty or love

Never Be At PeaceOnce more Marina Julia Neary has proven she is an expansive writer, adept at handling a multitude of characters with honesty and imagination, intelligence and wit, engagement but also objectivity. Ms. Neary is ambitious and alert like a spider spinning a sticky web connecting many storylines into a saga spanning nearly forty years replete with twists of fate, theatrical egos, sexual maneuverings, impetuous love affairs, misbegotten off-spring, and impassioned if ambiguous conflicts in the protracted fight for Ireland’s independence that made history for textbooks and neglect.

As large as Ms. Neary’s storytelling is, it remains intimate and nuanced throughout with enjoyable and often insightful descriptions of the characters’ appearance and dress, what and even how they eat, their mannerisms and quirks, the places they haunt, and all kinds of details that make them real, ridiculous, amusing, talented and tragic but never larger than life. Yeats, Maud Gonne, Countess Constance Marckiewicz, James Connolly and any number of legendary individuals are drawn irresistibly conscionable and culpable, but not more so than the novel’s lesser-known figures–such as the feminist, activist, journalist and actress, Helena Molony.

Never Be At Peace pauses and moves along with verbose dialogue and distinct staging, unfolding with various personal and public dramas as though they are equally significant (and insignificant?); at least with the sense that they may be separated in dry facts but not in the human context of historic events. The informational aspect to Ms. Neary’s approach to historical fiction is more about style than didacticism. If it teaches anything, it is that nothing is what it seems–especially not history or heroism, loyalty or love.

Although writing about a similar progression of events as in her previous novel, “Martyrs and Traitors”, Ms. Neary has skillfully created a newly compelling story that has the reader forgetting they have been there before. Just as in life, so much is in the eye of the beholder. “Never Be At Peace”, despite its distractions and detours, is Helena Molony’s story: a testament to her courage and stumbling on her personal and civic passage through life, allowing the reader to breathe with relief for her vulnerability, forgive her “mistakes” and hope for a renewal of the vitality of her purpose. Yet, even as the novel represents Helena’s specific journey it highlights the experience of many women born or somehow persuaded to take outstanding roles in society, in relationships and even revolutions.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

5-Stars. The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar by Kim Rendfeld

Fiction
April 24, 2015

A Story of Enslavement, Endurance, Forgiveness, Faith and Indestructible Devotion

perf6.000x9.000.inddFrom the opening of “The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar”, the ideals of loyalty, love, and honor are challenged by the harsh reality of survival for Leova and her son and daughter. Tragically jolted out of their poor but contented Saxon way of life, the violent interruption to the rhythms and routines of this loving family creates a heartbreaking and harrowing story of bodily, emotional, and spiritual enslavement; but also one of endurance—especially regarding the heart and spirit of Leova. For me, her gentle but consistent strength is the essence of this novel. Her selflessness and faithfulness to the cause of caring for her children and, even when forced to submit sexually to their captor, preserving her own integrity as an example to them, offer a powerful contrast to the selfishness and wickedness of those who would do anything, no matter how malicious, for power and greed. Even as she seems to give in, Leova never gives up, never stops hoping for some acceptable manner of healing and recovery, and is able to move past her grief and longing for what has been and might have been to what is still possible. Her expediency is as admirable as her resilience. Her husband died defending his family, but it is Leova who lives to see it survive with dignity and promise.

Once again, out of her dedicated in-depth research and passion for the early medieval period, Kim Rendfeld offers a unique perspective of the political, religious and social intricacies of 8th century Saxony and Francia. Her style is almost folky at times, which off-sets the heaviness of some of the events, and offers interesting characterizations while effectively portraying this long ago world of walled cities and wild landscapes to the senses as well as the intellect. She takes the reader on an engaging voyage of small lives growing larger in order to navigate the stormy seas that threaten over and over to capsize their way forward.

In the end it is a timeless story about forgiveness and faith—of how circumstances can force behavior, enemies can become allies, conscience can break down barriers, and devotion, like the Irminsul, Heaven’s Pillar in the title, cannot be destroyed when held fast in the heart.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Fiction and Non-Fiction

  1. Diane,
    Reading A House Near Luccoli got me to thinking about historical fiction. As a result I have started working on a historical novel of my own based roughly on my mother’s life. It’s totally unlike your novel, but still has its genesis in the idea of you doing research in a musty old library that you turned into a vibrant story. I thought I’d let you know and thank you. Tom

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    • Hi, Tom. I had posted my reply (back in January) to your lovely comment in the new comment field – was just updating this page, wasn’t sure you saw it and was concerned to think you thought I had ignored your message. Just reposted it in the right spot! So happy that my novel got your working on a novel of your own. I think you are another writer who is not so much about sticking to a particular genre, but just writing what you feel you need to/want to write. And, anyway, every genre has infinite possibilities for variation. The two short stories I’ve had published on Kindle recently were born out of stories my mother has shared with me about her young life. I’m excited by your project and look forward to the book. In the meantime, enjoy those ‘musty old’ libraries and wherever information and imagination take you!

      Like

  2. Pingback: New and Recent Reviews for Others | bardessdmdenton - prose, poetry and painting

  3. Thanks for including Tally. I haven’t yet read Steve Lindahl’s White Horse Regressions, but enjoyed and was impressed by the other two in the series: Motherless Soul, and Hopatcong Vision Quest. Also my reading was influenced in the direction of Africa by Paul Stam’s first book, so I look forward to Of Rulers and Ruled.

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