Review of Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

The Caleb of the title of Geraldine Brook’s latest novel is the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College, a feat he accomplished in 1665.Brooks cleverly narrates the novel through the eyes of a young Colonial woman, Bethia Mayfield. For Brook’s ability to allow us to live within a Puritan woman’s mind and peer into the complex issues arising from the clash of Native American and Colonial world views, Caleb’s Crossing is definitely worth reading.

Continue reading

Review of Big Wheat by Richard Thompson

The Great Plains during the post World War I boom years of “big wheat” provide an unusual setting for a mystery. The charm of this book is as much in its intricate descriptions of the steam driven machinery that made the big harvests possible as in the story, although the story became increasingly compelling as I read. For a vivid portrayal of farm life at the beginning of the twentieth century and for an even more vivid picture of life on the fringes of this most iconic of American lifestyles, read Big Wheat

Continue reading

Review of OyMG, by Amy Dominy

Amy Dominy’s book isn’t my usual historical fiction, but many of my subscribers know Amy or the Speech and Debate team she based her book on–Desert Vista’s very own champions, so here is a review lots of you will care about.This debut young adult novel, OyMG will warm your heart and make you laugh out loud whether you are 13 or 53. With the precision of a stand-up comedian, Dominy hits every hilarious beat in the stressed-out world of high school speech and debate. With equal precision she portrays the confused inner world of fourteen year old Ellie, a Jewish girl who really wants to win a scholarship to Benedict’s high school, and thinks a Christian speech camp is the way to her goal. But maybe her Zeydeh’s got it right–you have to stand by who you really are.

Continue reading

Review of Where Shadows Dance by C.S. Harris

C.S. Harris’s mystery Where Shadows Dance set in London in 1812 will keep you guessing until the very end. When a surgeon buys a body for his medical students to dissect, he hardly expects to step into the middle of a murder case. But as Sebastian St. Cyr tries to solve the case, the dead bodies keep appearing and even his fiancée is a suspect.

Continue reading

Review of Hurricane by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jewell Parker Rhodes’s latest mystery in her Marie Laveau series, Hurricane, is a spell-binding mystery infused with an inspiring take on what womanhood can be in all its aspects. Hurricane Katrina may be the least of Marie’s problems as she faces a miasma of confusing ancient spirits, a murdered family, powerful oil companies, and a curiously ill town.

Continue reading

Review of A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear fans won’t need any prodding to read her latest Maisie Dobbs mystery, A Lesson in Secrets. The rest of you should be ashamed of yourselves. Maisie’s character makes for uncommonly good reading as she takes a new direction professionally, working undercover for the Secret Service in the midst of the conflicting political currents of 1932.

Continue reading

Review of Roman Games by Bruce Macbain

Bruce Macbain’s Roman Games launches an excellent new Roman mystery series. If you are a fan of Steven Saylor, Lindsey Davis, or Roman history in general, you’ll want to pick it up. His detective, Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Younger), a decent, straight-laced senator, teams up with Martial, a poet of racy and scurrilous verses, to untangle a delightfully twisted murder case.

Continue reading