Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander

"Set in late 19th-century England, Alexander's third historical (after And Only To Deceive and A Poisoned Season) to feature Lady Emily Ashton begins at a country-house party at which political powerhouse Lord Basil Fortescue is shot and Robert Brandon, his protégé, stands accused of the murder. Emily attends the party with her fiancé, agent of the Crown Colin Hargreaves. While Colin is engaged in uncovering a plot against England, Emily, a close friend of Robert's wife, doesn't hesitate to look for the real killer. When Emily and Colin both wind up in Vienna mingling with anarchists and artists alike, the two are surprised to find how well they work together. Alexander cleverly incorporates historical figures and events into a fictional story of European political intrigue, English society, Viennese culture, and plenty of genteel romantic chemistry."

~ Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

"As a portraitist in prose, Sittenfeld never deviates from sympathetic respect for her high-profile subject: she is not Francis Bacon but rather more Norman Rockwell....Curtis Sittenfeld surely did not intend to create, in this mostly amiable, entertaining novel, anything so ambitious — or so presumptuous -- as a political/cultural allegory in the 19th-century mode, yet American Wife might be deconstructed as a parable of America in the years of the second Bush presidency: the "American wife" is in fact the American people, or at least those millions of Americans who voted for a less-than-qualified president in two elections -- the all-forgiving enabler for whom the bromide "love" excuses all."

- Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review

Friday, September 12, 2008

White Mary by Kira Salak

"A young reporter embarks on a dangerous adventure in Salak's gripping debut novel, a blend of Heart of Darkness and Tomb Raider. Like her protagonist, Marika Vecera, award-winning journalist Salak has traveled solo—and narrowly escaped death—in the world's most remote and terrifying places, including war-torn Congo and the interior of Papua New Guinea. Marika, an ambitious journalist, travels to discover the truth about war correspondent Robert Lewis, who has observed some of the modern world's greatest atrocities. He is believed to have committed suicide, but a letter from a missionary leaves Marika thinking he may still be alive in the wilds of Papua New Guinea. She sets off on her quest, and eventually malaria, ritual murder and arduous trekking through the wilderness lead Marika to some startling discoveries and a pathway out of her own past trauma. While the book can be harrowing (the graphic descriptions of torture are sobering and hard to put out of mind), it offers Marika a redemptive optimism in the face of the worst humanity has to offer."

~Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.