Lynnanne Pearson

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Eyes Turned Skyward

Readers seeking a nuanced portrayal of mother-daughter dynamics as well as a soaring portrait of courageous women during wartime will find much to love in Dillon’s (The Happiest Girl in the World) latest.

These Impossible Things

El-Wardany’s highly recommended debut sensitively handles rape, domestic abuse, and the pressure of familial obligation. The book’s particular strength is in its treatment of the women’s Islamic faith as each grapples with what it means to be devout. There are no easy answers here, and readers will be thinking about Malak, Kees, and Jenna long after they close the book.


Readers seeking a sci-fi action romp will be disappointed. Wuehle mixes folklore, philosophy, and the occult in this examination of memory, feminism, self, and identity. Gen X readers will appreciate the cultural milestones and infamous celebrities of the 1990s featured throughout. A circular narrative and slow plotting, however, will limit the appeal to the most adventurous literary readers. For larger fiction collections.

Scarlet in Blue

While the twists at the end are not needed and somewhat spoil what comes before it, this novel from Murphy (I Love You More) is ultimately a love story between a mother and a daughter as well as an examination of how trauma shapes our lives and choices. Recommended for larger fiction collections.

The Heights

In the vein of William Landay’s Defending Jacob, this title is a good choice for readers who enjoy twisting narratives.

What Comes After

Tompkins has written a stirring and excellent story of loss, silence, forgiveness, Quakerism, and faith. Each of her characters are fully realized, and though their actions may at times disappoint readers, their motivations are understandable. Book discussion groups, as well as fans of Annie Dillard, Ann Patchett, and Marilynne Robinson, will love this debut novel about humankind’s connections to one another and to the divine.


Sharp as a dog’s teeth and twice as ferocious, Yoder’s novel is a searing indictment of the way mothers are undervalued and ignored and expected to conform to one way of being. Not for the faint of heart (but then again, neither is motherhood), this debut’s prose pulses with energy and wit. Highly recommended for all literary fiction collections.

Under the Whispering Door

The latest by Lambda Literary Award winner Klune (Wolfsong) is a winning story (slow-paced and heartwarming) about grief, loss, and moving on. Readers will cry and be charmed by his wonderful characters.

The Commune

While white heteronormative second-wave feminism of the 1970s is ripe for critique, Abeel’s (Wild Girls) satire falls short; any valid insights are lost in the repetitive writing and characters who fail to engage readers’ interest. Nonetheless, those who lived through this era might enjoy the gossipy feel of this tell-all novel. For larger fiction collections.

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