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Greenglass House by Kate Milford - Book Review

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Greenglass House By Kate Milford, Jaime Zollars (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kate Milford, Jaime Zollars (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780544540286
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Published: Clarion Books - November 1st, 2016

This fantastic book is one of my favorite novels, for children or otherwise.Milo's parents own an inn frequented by (lovable) smugglers, but when a collection of odd characters appear just before Christmas, their presence threatens to derail a normally peaceful holiday. To cope, Milo begins a game of role-play and mystery with the cook's daughter Meddy. However, what begins as a game soon begins to take on very real and somewhat alarming consequences. As they delve into the inn's past and the lives of their suspicious house guests, they soon discover much more than they bargained for. This is an engrossing and well written book that will entertain both children and parents alike, probably more than once. Surprises await! ~ Reviewed by James Case

Kick the Latch by Kathryn Scanlan - Book Review

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Kick the Latch By Kathryn Scanlan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811232005
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Published: New Directions - September 27th, 2022

Told in a series of first person stories, this excellent novel charts a woman's career in horse racing. Working mostly at less prestigious race tracks, her vivid voice and matter of fact manner brilliantly convey both the atmosphere and the colorful characters that surround her. But this novel is chiefly about a woman's life and the experiences that shaped her, not horses. There's wit, charm and tragedy almost in equal measure, and the narrator's brusque manner only amplifies the different turning points in her life. A certain underlying wisdom pervades the entire book, and it feels like something one can only earn through a certain amount of living. The author captures that sentiment perfectly, and in doing so creates a memorable portrait of a woman's life. ~ Reviewed by James Case

Land of Women by María Sánchez - Book Review

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Land of Women By María Sánchez, Curtis Bauer (Translator) Cover Image
By María Sánchez, Curtis Bauer (Translator)
ISBN: 9781595349637
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Published: Trinity University Press - May 10th, 2022

A genre blurring exploration of rural Spain, this small book is filled with anecdotes and personal stories that the author coaxes into wider issues and problems facing the rural community. Much of the book deals with the ignorance and anonymity directed at rural women, and the unwillingness of men and urban centers to allow them a voice (or to acknowledge that voice when they do hear it). The prose is poetic and lyrical, stirring and beautiful; I loved it from beginning to end. María Sánchez is an exceptionally gifted writer, and I'd recommend this to anyone interested in the rural landscape, nature writing, or the Spanish countryside. ~ Reviewed by James Case

The Symmetry of Stars by Alex Myers - Book Review

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The Symmetry of Stars By Alex Myers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780008352738
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Published: Voyager - February 22nd, 2022

In a contest between immortals, two gods select a pair of twins and set them on a collision course. One of the gods stands for nature, the other nurture. However, as the twins grow and hurtle towards their fate, the gods can't help but get a little attached. Heartwarming, captivating and witty, this is an entertaining yarn that expertly walks the line between funny and ridiculous. Unique and wonderful. ~ Reviewed by James Case

Gunnar's Daughter by Sigrid Undset - Book Review

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Gunnar's Daughter By Sigrid Undset, Arthur G. Chater (Translated by), Sherrill Harbison (Editor) Cover Image
By Sigrid Undset, Arthur G. Chater (Translated by), Sherrill Harbison (Editor)
ISBN: 9780141180205
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Published: Penguin Classics - April 1st, 1998

Undset's famous for her sprawling saga, Kristen Lavransdatter, but I find this short little novel to be the better of the two. Mimicking the prose of the Icelandic sagas, this tale follows the tragic relationship of Vigdis and Ljot. Their original infatuation descends into a bitter enmity, one that pervades every aspect of their lives. Even when it seems they've succeeded in finding separate happy lives, the past contrives to ruin any joy. One of my favorite historical novels, period. In fact, the prose is so convincing I thought Undset wrote it 800 years ago rather than 100. Highly recommended. ~ Reviewed by James Case


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