Monthly Archives: October 2013

My Notorious Life, by Kate Manning.

ManningThe (notorious) Madame X tells her secrets, and her life, in these pages.  She grows up motherless, orphaned, when her Mam dies shortly after childbirth.  She is determined not to let other women succumb, so she becomes both midwife and abortionist (though the terms she uses are much more 19c. discreet– and fascinating to a 21st c. reader).

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My Brother’s Name, by Laura Krughoff.

KrughoffWhen her beloved older brother develops paranoid schizophrenia and drops out of college then opts out of treatment, Janie feels that only she can take care of him and return him to his former self.  The way she thinks she can make this happen is by adopting her brother’s name (and previous identity).

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Mrs. Poe, by Lynn Cullen.

CullenThis is a good one to read this week of Halloween!  Based upon the life of Edgar Allan Poe (and his Mrs. and his mistress) and oft’referencing his tales & poems (yes, “Nevermore”), the novel makes you want to turn to the literature itself to read the two in tandem.

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Quiet Dell, by Jayne Anne Phillips.

PhillipsQuiet Dell (West Virginia) is quiet no longer as the trial for a man accused of preying on unwary widows begins– based on a true case c. 1931.

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Love & Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere : a memoir, by Poe Ballantine.

BallantinePoe, somewhat itinerant, his Mexican wife, and (autistic?) young son comfortably settle in Chadron, Nebraska.  That’s the love half.  The terror half is the crime story : what happened to the missing math professor?

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The Fountain of St. James Court or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman, by Sena Jeter Naslund.

NaslundWith a title like that, in two parts (ok, precisely, title and subtitle), you might reasonably expect there are two stories to the story and in this case, you’d be right.  The first part of the title is specific to the current story but the second part/subtitle applies to both the (visual) artist of the 18th c. and the (novelist) artist of the present day.

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Margot, by Jillian Cantor.

CantorThis is a what if novel.  What if Anne Frank’s sister Margot did not die, with Anne, in Bergen-Belsen?  What if she was an American named Margie Franklin living in Philadelphia?

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