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The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker - Book Review

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The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143125679
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - July 29th, 2014

This is an enjoyable read! Light and full of laughter but with real twists; think of Jane Austin + time travel and magic! Well-written. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan

The Memory Garden

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ISBN: 9781402297120
Availability: Special Order
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark - May 6th, 2014

The "Memory Garden" is a thoughtful aromatic delight of memory, rue and violets. Mythology, garden spells and goddess lore are all woven together in a tale of love, loss and the humor that binds friendships of women together.The love these women bear for each other, in true kindred spirit have consequences; both on this earthy plane and the one inhabited by ghosts. The Memory Garden is reminiscent of Alice Hoffman but wholly in Mary Rickerts' own strong voice. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan

Queen's Gambit

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ISBN: 9781476703077
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Published: Simon & Schuster - May 6th, 2014

The Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle is an excellent companion read to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall series. Written in the voice of Katherine Parr this novel is well constructed and convincing in tone - (of a 16thc aristocratic, educated woman). More than that, Katherine (who is a fascinating woman) is a well researched, deftly drawn character as are the other historic personages in the story. The Queen's Gambit is about the complexity of politics and marriage, we won't even speak of love in the terrifying last years of Henry the Eighth. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan


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Euphoria Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802122551
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Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - June 3rd, 2014

This is a deceptively simple novel. You think it is a loose novelization of the life of Margaret Mead and her loves (her great passion was her work); it is and it is not. This book is mostly from Mead's 3rd husband, Gregory Bateson's point of view and is fictionalized; whole episodes are creatively rendered. The book is truly about the complexity of human sexuality and human nature when it is under the scrutiny of reality; with all its beautiful and messy bits. What is reality when you are in the" field" rather than in a classroom ? "Euphoria" is graphically written story of how life can be bruising and more powerful when you are experiencing it outside the confines of "polite society and "Realty" versus test tube. I think King explores this concept beautifully but also demonstrates the strong and weak points of not only Mead's work but also of Fortune (her 2nd Husband and Bateson's research. The 3 were individual cultural anthropologists who at one time or another were each others research partners and as in this book - worked as a team. The characters are powerfully and truthfully drawn and their individual search for their ideal of "Euphoria". ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan

Solsbury Hill

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Solsbury Hill: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594632365
Availability: Special Order
Published: Riverhead Books - April 1st, 2014

Solsbury Hill by Susan Wyler is a tribute to Emily Bronte. It is not a redaction. or a retelling of Wuthering Heights. In her story Wyler uses the Gothic tone and cadence in the tradition of Bronte's work. This work is a mystery within a mystery dealing with the soul's trepidation of heart- break. Wyler's Solsbury ( and yes, the author spelled it that way purposefully) is more about the mystery of Emily than anything else. It is a beach read but one that has depth to it ; The reader can feel the ancient stone, the wind and rain and I love the description of peat and and the decay or growth of the spirit in that harsh but beautiful landscape .I think .Heathcliff might even approve- Cathy definitely would. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan


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Labyrinth (The Languedoc Trilogy) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780425213971
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Published: Berkley - February 6th, 2007

Labyrinth is either the first or the last in Mosse's Langue d'oc Trilogy ( In France it is more common to read Citadel then Sepulchre and finally Labyrinth. These works can also be stand alone reads As a whole the trilogy is about karmic history both personal and cultural. There is a major thread in the three books that links the soul of three individuals together and what humanity does in the name of justice and religion. Specifically the events are the Albigensian Crusades, The Reign of Terror and the Second World War.There is a spiritual depth and just plain good storytelling to these books and the rest of Mosses work as well. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan


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