Barbara Love

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Falling Hour

It is no small thing to spend time inside the troubled mind of this restless man. Read this debut for the author’s poetic sensibility and for his insightful observations on a wide range of interesting topics. Consider it time well spent.

Old God’s Time

Admirers of Claire Keegan and Niall Williams will appreciate the Irish humor that masks deep sorrow. This novel’s words are well chosen, the sentences dazzle, and they all come together in a beautifully told, piercingly sad story.

Elizabeth Finch

With a little too much ado about Julian (the author’s namesake?), Barnes blends fact and fiction as he has done before into an imaginative whole.

The Slowworm’s Song

This novel about a life derailed early and the long shadow cast by the Troubles gathers strength as it unfolds; recommended for readers of serious fiction.

Factory Girls

From the author of Big Girl, Small Town, this novel is a wonder; the heroine is cheeky, the humor dark, the dialect thick, the sorrow palpable. Fans of Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast and television’s Derry Girls will find much to love.


The pandemic provides a lens through which Hildyard’s narrator assembles a pastiche of memories. This quiet, well-written novel, which has a surprise ending, is worth a look.

Companion Piece

As she demonstrated so strikingly in her seasonal quartet, Smith keeps her finger on the pulse of our chaotic times. It’s no surprise that she would take on the current pandemic (with a nod to an earlier one) and handle it, as usual, with aplomb.

The Kingdom of Sand

From a winner of the Publishing Triangle’s Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement, this moody meditation on loneliness and aging offers a picture of a life not lived to the fullest. Read it for the North Florida atmosphere and for the affecting portrait of a friendship.

The Fell

Is it too soon for pandemic-era novels? For anyone who can bear a reminder of lockdowns, masking, isolation, and social distancing while still living through them, this fast-paced gem is worth the novel exposure.

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