Reba Melinda Leiding

12 Articles

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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.

PREMIUM

The Mercies

The latest from Hargrave (The Deathless Girls) is slow paced and deliberate, as if dreading its own unhappy denouement. It’s strength lies in the richly researched details of primitive Norwegian village life, which illustrate how the women scrape a livelihood from the barren subarctic. [See Prepub Alert, 8/1/19.]
PREMIUM

The Cheffe: A Cook’s Novel

Despite its holes, this is a finely constructed work with a surprising and satisfying ending, like a fine meal leading up to a delicious dessert. [See Prepub Alert, 3/25/19.]
PREMIUM

The Sacrament

Olafsson deftly braids present and past events as Sister Marie Joseph grapples with her recollections of Halla while ensnaring herself in the investigation. The sister’s first-person voice seems dry and dispassionate, but the novel confounds our expectations, sifting through memory, as it evolves into a low-simmering psychological thriller. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 6/10/19.]

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