Reba Melinda Leiding

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The Book of Mother

In this touching tribute to her eccentric mother’s life and death, which also offers a wild view of swinging Paris during the 1960s and 1970s, Huisman is sardonic, furious, and sometimes humorous but always affectionate toward her mother. Her prose seems urgent, pulling the reader along, as if she’s trying to outrun her grief. Highly recommended.
PREMIUM

The Vixen

Prose’s (Lovers at the Chameleon Club) exuberant, lighthearted novel immerses the reader in 1950s ambience, yet it’s full of winks and nods to the current political climate. Simon, our overheated narrator, pulls us along as he stumbles into Cold War intrigue, and we’re never sure which way the plot will turn until literally the last sentence. What a delightful read!
PREMIUM

Antiquities

Ozick’s 30th published work (she is in her 90s) gently evokes the loneliness, helplessness, and regrets of old age. The novel initially seems a wisp of a story, but scattered within are clues that add layers of meaning to Petrie’s faded memories, as well as the impact of his own barely acknowledged anti-Semitism on his life’s trajectory.
PREMIUM

Betty

In McDaniel’s telling, members of this hardscrabble family stride through their Ohio community like minor gods, leaving amazement in their wake. Highly recommended; a coming-of-age novel that is a treat for lovers of stylistic prose. [See Prepub Alert, 1/15/20.]

American Follies

Besides playing with historical figures and themes, Lock’s novels stretch the limits of literary conventions. Those unfamiliar with the series may expect more reality with their history, but once you accept that the novel is a wild ride, hang on for the fun. Highly recommended, especially for readers of the series.

PREMIUM

Tea by the Sea

A light read, despite the book’s serious-sounding themes.
PREMIUM

Private Means

LeFavour, author of the memoir Lights On, Rats Out, is an award-winning cookbook writer, but don’t expect a foodie novel. Fans of Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s Fleishman Is in Trouble or Ann Beattie’s short stories will enjoy this wry, sophisticated, and intelligent rendering of modern, privileged city life. [See Prepub Alert, 12/9/19.]

The Glass Hotel

Highly recommended; with superb writing and an intricately connected plot that ticks along like clockwork, Mandel offers an unnerving critique of the twinned modern plagues of income inequality and cynical opportunism. [See Prepub Alert, 9/9/19.]

The Great Unknown

With its Victorian setting, elaborate plot, and score of quirky characters, this work is delightfully Dickensian yet maintains a modern sensibility. Kingman (Not Yet Drown’d) taps into an astounding breadth of knowledge, from stonemasonry and paleontology to Scottish history and politics, plus religion and metaphysics. Highly recommended.

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