The holiday rush will soon be upon us. But right now, take a few moments for yourself, and read a wonderful novel.
The fact that Dennis Lehane chose THE CUTTING SEASON as his first choice for his eponymous line of HarperCollins books speaks volumes. Attica Locke is quickly becoming one of the hot new stars of the literary community. This thriller takes place in post-Katrina Louisiana, and involves heroine Caren Gray putting herself in grave danger as she investigates a murder. During the process, past and present collide in eerie Belle Vie, an old plantation that’s been turned into a tourist attraction. Locke is justifiably lauded for her ability to depict humor nature in all its complexity.
Bronwen Hruska has personal experience with the current epidemic of giving our kids pills to make them more “focused” for school. In ACCELERATED, it’s dad Sean Benning who feels pressure to have his eight-year-old son, Toby, medicated for ADD. Toby’s a student at the tony Bradley School, where every pupil is expected to excel. But at what cost? It’s no surprise that Hruska has sold screenplays to Columbia Pictures, CBS, NBC, and Lifetime. It’s easy to imagine this being turned into a really good TV movie.
A reality TV show sets in motion the story at the heart of IMPERFECT BLISS, by Susan Fales-Hill. The show is called “The Virgin,” and its star is Diana Harcourt, the younger sister of the title character. A modern day Jane Austen type tale, the biracial Harcourts of Chevy Chase have big plans for their four daughters. Mother Forsythia has named them all after Windsorroyals, in the hopes that each would find her true prince. But their second-born daughter Elizabeth, nicknamed Bliss, has come home in the wake of a messy divorce, and wants nothing more than to earn her PhD. Infused with humor, this is a clever sideways glance at modern romance and courting.
PARTITIONS is set in 1947, during the time of the violent partition of India. This is Amit Majmudar’s first novel; his “day job” is being a diagnostic nuclear radiologist. Himself the father of twin boys, he weaves Hindu twins into his story of the journey of an elderly Muslim doctor, and a Sikh teenage girl; they all seek refuge from the political and religious storm around them. These refugees of differing backgrounds and faiths come together as they hope to forge a future filled with hope.
The setting for Patrick Taylor’s AN IRISH COUNTRY WEDDING is Northern Ireland in the 1960’s. This is a continuation of the beloved series that features Dr. Barry Laverty; his mentor, the crusty Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly; and the quirky inhabitants of Ballybucklebo, in County Antrim. Before Dr. O’Reilly can marry the love of his youth, Kitty O’Hallorhan, he and Laverty must tend to the needs of their eccentric clientele. This is a portrait of the rural Ireland which is now gone, but never to be forgotten.
PEOPLE OF THE BLACK SUN is also the latest in a series. Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear are both anthropologists who live in remote Thermopolis, Wyoming. Their books of “North America’s Forgotten Past” are read internationally. This volume is the fourth in the Iroquois quartet. The land involved is strictly East coast: New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and also Ontario. The Gears take us back six hundred years, to when the five Iroquois tribes were at war with one another. At the center of the series is Dekanawida, the Peacemaker, who is pivotal in the creation of the Iroquois Confederacy. As the Gears explain, “Without the League, the United States would not exist today, nor would our unique understanding of democracy. Concepts like one-person, one-vote, or referendum and recall were not European. They were Iroquoian.” It’s well worth the time to investigate this fascinating look into our nation’s past.
So let the leaves pile up outside your door. Sit down with a good book and a hot drink; I recommend all of the above, and some real apple cider.
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Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com