On his way back from a client on the coast, Andrew Snow, a rare book dealer, cuts through the Downs and has an odd experience. After leaving the main road, he gets lost and finds himself inexplicably stopping at a dilapidated mansion. On The White House grounds, he feels the presence of a small hand gripping his … Continue reading Book Review: The Small Hand by Susan Hill
Imagine a ruined house, an inheritance, a mysterious set of feral twins, a topiary garden, a murder, a ghost--these are just some of the Gothic elements that permeate The Thirteenth Tale. Vida Winter, a successful novelist, contacts the bookish narrator, Margaret Lea, because she has one more tale to tell--the titular 13th tale. For years she has created falsehoods … Continue reading Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
When a couple chooses an ancient mansion, Pencraw Hall (aka Black Rabbit Hall) as their wedding venue, strange things come to light. Neither knows the history of the house--the Altons' story--yet Lorna remembers going to the house once while they were on holiday. For an unexplained reason, Lorna is drawn back to this house. In … Continue reading Book Review: Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
Quite possibly there's no worst feeling than be watched, scrutinized or stalked. Mr. Tender's Girl captures the nightmare of being observed by a group of online "fans." At fourteen, Alice Hill is a victim of a horrible crime. Her father's creation, Mr. Tender, the devious hero of the eponymous graphic novel, has inspired two of … Continue reading Book Review of Mr. Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson
Brina, Elizabeth Miki. Speak, Okinawa: a Memoir. Brina struggles to understand her parents and her unique heritage. Brina is a Japanese-American writer who currently lives and teaches in New Orleans. Chang, David. Eat a Peach. Chang writes about his fame as chef at Momofuku and star of Netflix's Ugly Delicious. David Chang is of Korean … Continue reading May is Asian Pacific Heritage Month.
Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen In one of the best novels of 2014, Rebecca Rasmussen describes both the joy and the loneliness of the Minnesota wilderness. Eveline, joins her German husband, Emil, in a hardscrabble existence in Evergreen. Unbeknownst to her, Emil doesn't own the cabin they relocate to. When his father becomes sick, Emil goes to Germany, leaving … Continue reading Book Review: Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen
What looks like an accidental drowning might actually be a suicide. Told in alternating voices, this suspense-saturated drama is Hawkins' second novel. Nel isn't very well liked in her small community. Even her sister bears a grudge against her. The community resents that she's writing a book about the witchcraft trials and other historical events … Continue reading Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Though its hard to believe, in the not too distant past women could be placed in insane asylums by their husbands or families if they refused to conform to norms. Women could be sent to psychiatric institutes indefinitely if a family member said a woman was not behaving as she should. The novel begins by … Continue reading Book Review: The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
This memoir, which is in four parts, is Dani Shapiro's most intimate memoir to date. Shapiro who has always considered herself her father's daughter is devastated to learn that he is not her biological father.Despite clues along the way, nothing clicks until she takes a DNA test. She expected to find that she is 100% … Continue reading Book Review: Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
Most readers know Shirley Jackson’s chilling short story, “The Lottery,” or her gothic novel, The Haunting of Hill House. Her masterpiece, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, is not as well known. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a murder-mystery that combines Gothic elements with psychological suspense. Though it gives the routine … Continue reading Book Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle