The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

Julie Berry's new novel The Passion of Dolssa intrigued me for many reasons. It is historical fiction; it is set in the Middle Ages; it features a saint-like character; and - most interestingly, given the spiritual subject matter - it is geared towards young adults. I admit: I'm not a YA reader, much less writer.... Continue Reading →

Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown

Modern Girls, a novel about a mother and daughter who find themselves in a family way in the 1930s New York, could easily have been yet another feel-good story where the heroine makes the right decision after a bit of hand-wringing, and all is well. But life is messy, and choices are rarely black-and-white. Thankfully,... Continue Reading →

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

Catherine Lowell’s debut novel The Madwoman Upstairs is equal parts an intellectual coming-of-age story, a romance and a literary mystery. Does it deliver on all counts? Twenty-year-old Samantha Whipple, still mourning the death of her father in a house fire five years ago, arrives at Oxford to begin her studies in literature. But she’s not... Continue Reading →

Chapter 1

Bermersheim, Rhineland September 1115 The night I learned that I would be leaving my family home, the sounds of talk and laughter took a long time to die down. Finally, a growing chorus of snores from the hall told me that the guests from Sponheim were asleep. But there was a murmur of voices close... Continue Reading →

A Family Story

[excerpt] That summer, I fell into the habit of spending every Thursday afternoon in the church. Not because I’m religious, but because that particular church was a quietly magnificent place, and quiet was what I needed. Also, I’m a sucker for old-time mystique. The church wasn’t small, but it was made entirely of wood and... Continue Reading →

I Don’t Want to Be That Woman

It was one of those historic buildings where some of Balzac’s better-to-do characters might have lived. In the high-ceilinged apartment a twenty-something crowd milling about its wood-paneled, Persian carpet-clad salon looked somewhat out of place. Fabienne, Laetitia’s new girlfriend, introduced them to several people, mostly loud government types; a couple of artsy characters who gave... Continue Reading →

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