The Promise by Anne Weisgarber

promiseAll novels begin with trouble. Catherine is on the verge of poverty after she has an affair with a married man.

Disgraced, Catherine Wainwright decides to make a fresh start in Galveston. Though she never planned on marriage, a man she scarcely remembers from high school has offered to marry her.

From Dayton, Ohio, Catherine journeys to the unknown where the food, religion, climate and ways of life are foreign to her.

Oscar Williams, the man who offered marriage, had adapted to Galveston. Catherine believes that she can, too, even if it means becoming a step-mother to a five-year-old and living under the watchful eye of a resentful servant, Nan.

Catherine and Oscar learn to love each other, even if they have different ways. Catherine is a college graduate and was a celebrated pianist. She has refined ways whereas Oscar is a dairy farmer. His home is on stilts and there’s no electricity.

Catherine learns to appreciate Oscar’s goodness; even if, tragically, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 will change everything.

This is a well-researched historical novel filled with delightful people who are honest and hard-working, especially Nan and Oscar.

Catherine, of course, has a past, but she learns the true meaning of love and family when she meets Oscar and his little son.

This could have been a beautiful story about making a fresh start and beginning anew, but the tragedy of the storm muddies this beautiful message.

 

 

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Fellside

Fellside by M.R. Carey

Fellside is another terrifying, yet gripping story by M.R. Carey, the author of The Girl With All The Gifts. 

Jess Moulson goes on a hunger strike shortly before entering a maximum security prison, Fellside.

Though Jess nearly dies, a young boy gives her a reason to live. Alex, the ghost of the boy whom everyone believes she killed, asks her to do the one thing she cannot refuse.

Fellside is a ghost story that reads like a riveting psychological thriller and suspenseful mystery.

Jess’s relationship with Alex is complicated. She wants to protect him from everything but he is also powerful. He saved her when a nurse punctured her artery instead of her vein:

“He’d brought her back from the abyss, from the mouth of the grave. She owed him everything and he owed her nothing except arguably a life for a life and a tooth for a tooth.”

Alex knows, however, that the fire Jess started while she was high hadn’t killed him.

The fire she set hadn’t killed him because he was already dead. So who hurt him and how did he die?

As a favor to Alex who brought her back from the blackness, Jess agrees to appeal her case and investigate what truly happened to him.

American Innovations: Stories by Rivka Galchen

rivkagalchencoverAmerican Innovations: Stories by Rivka Galchen.

Readers who like stories about odd characters who find themselves in strange situations, will love this new collection by Rivka Galchen.

As strange as the characters are, though, it’s easy to relate to them.Who hasn’t felt what this character in “The Lost Order” feels so keenly?

“But one day I woke up and heard myself saying, I am a fork being used to eat cereal. I am not a spoon. I am a fork. And I can’t help people eat cereal any longer.”
After a strange caller angrily denounces her for a missing Chinese take-out order, the narrator of “The Lost Order,” comes to some startling conclusions about her marriage and herself.

“The Region of Unlikeness,” is about another lost soul who befriends two eccentric intellectuals at a coffee shop. She is secretly attracted to one of them and repelled by the other.

“American Innovations” bravely tackles magical realism, body image, and deformity.

“Wild Berry Blue,” is a wonderful coming-of-age story about a girl who has a crush on an ex-junkie who works at her favorite McDonalds.

In one story, “Once Upon an Empire,” a likable but possibly deranged narrator, loses all of her belongings. No one steals them; instead, in a magical realism way, they become mobile and literally walk away from her apartment.

She finds them in a dumpster but is reluctant to identify them to the police.

Less successful stories included in this collection are “Dean of the Arts” or “The Late Novels of Gene Hackman.”

Galchen’s collection was long-listed for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

The Chaos

  • The Chaos The Chaos Seeks Creative Nonfiction for Summer 2017 Issue
  • Deadline: June 15, 2017

The Chaos is an online journal of creative nonfiction. We’re seeking submissions for our summer 2017 issue from emerging and established writers. We are drawn to narrative, personal essays rooted in scene. Show, don’t tell. Send us your best work. 500-7000 words. Visit our website for additional guidelines and to submit: www.thechaos.life.

Originally posted in http://www.NewPages.com

Audiobooks all summer long

Download free audiobooks all summer long via SYNC

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Encourage summer listening at your library! SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+ (and adult listeners, too!). From April 27 through August 16, 2017, SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads each week, including four outstanding Listening Library titles! Visit www.audiobooksync.com each week for two new audio offerings. Once downloaded, these audios are yours to keep—but hurry, each title is available for one week only!

We Are Completely Beside Ourselves

In Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are Completely Beside Ourselves, the narrator begins in media res.

Rosemary is a well-educated, unreliable narrator. She tells readers she is in mourning because her sister disappeared seventeen years ago and her brother disappeared ten years ago.

In no way is We Are Completely Beside Ourselves a typical missing person story. There’s a lot more at play. Rosemary’s brother is a domestic terrorist and Rosemary’s sister is a chimpanzee for starters. Her father is a psychologist who is keen on treating his children like the psychological subjects he is studying.

Tragic and compelling, this novel explores many tantalizing subjects such as the fallibility of memory, the notion of humanity, and the debilitating effect of family secrets.

For another book about a family’s misadventures in animal experimentation, try We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge.