by Jane Austen, fiction My favorite Austen novel, Persuasion explores constancy versus fickleness, lasting affection as opposed to youthful infatuation, the things we do to please family rather than satisfy our own desires. As always, there is a satisfying ending, in this case two endings, both penned by Austen, one only shortly after the other’s completion.
by Sarah Jio, fiction This book had me weeping at the end. To quote one of the characters, this story “was both tragic and heartbreaking, but also redemptive and triumphant.” Though often hard to read, these stories of survival are important, paint a detailed, personal face on what can often become a blurred brushstroke of history.
by Connilyn Cosette, fiction Cosette’s insightful view into the Biblical Exodus presents a freed slave’s perspective of the Hebrew’s departure. Full of pertinent historical detail, this story shows the heart’s tug toward freedom, the desire to protect loved ones, and the enormity of multitudes exiting Egypt while being led by a God some didn’t believe in.
by David Rawlings, fiction Rawlings offers a revealing view into characters who are forced to confront their deepest fears and their deepest passions, to confront their own willingness to let go of weighted baggage they are carrying, whether it’s their own baggage, or baggage others have thrust upon them and they have refused to put down.
by Brigid Kemmerer, fiction Kemmerer offers a powerful story of grief and loss and their many facets, how we judge ourselves and other based on a single event, action, or day and how guilt impacts our perceptions. Ultimately it is a story of hope and healing, of being seen and known, recognized for the true self.
by Camilla Blythe, fiction This campy, sleuthing tale became more predictable as the story unfolded. I’m sorry to say there was little character development and the dialog was often stilted and not very believable. Far too much was spelled out for the reader which made for a great deal of redundancy and a less enjoyable read.
by Katherine Reay, fiction This story of friendship, forgiveness and finding one’s passion unfolds beautifully as three women face challenges from choices they’ve made. Sometimes the pacing/timeline was slightly confusing with multiple points of view, but overall this is well told and made me miss independent bookstores, want a shop like the one these characters inhabit.
by Linda Sue Park, fiction Park is adept at historical detail in this tale about a young Korean boy that comes to life on the page and ultimately brought me to tears. It is a beautiful and touching story of hard work, respect, taking one obstacle at a time, and ultimately, a story of purpose and belonging.
by Sara Wallace, nonfiction This book was a gift and is full of encouragement for anxious moms and any mom who cares for her children. Wallace freely shares her own anxieties in their stark reality against the backdrop of her faith and continually points her readers back to the source of every mom’s strength and purpose.
by S. A. Bodeen, fiction Though the premise was promising and Bodeen’s book won several awards, this tale was disturbing on many levels. I was disappointed in the attitudes, language and overall behaviors of the characters. The writing is at times disjointed leaving the reader backtracking to see if something was missed, and the ending felt rushed.