This turn of the century novel has all the grace and elegance of a classic. Olga is the story of an ambitious young German woman who defies the proscribed boundaries for women at the time, achieving an education and a degree of personal independence. Beginning in an era where horse and carriage are commonplace and letter writing key to holding on to anyone far away this sweeping saga plays out through both world wars and is saturated by her passionate lifelong relationship with a world adventurer. In the spirit of classics like Cold Mountain, The English Patient or Out of Africa, readers will be spellbound by this enduring love story and Schlink's storytelling mystique. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
In this outstanding American memoir, Ashley C. Ford raises the bar on the artform and perhaps opens the door for new contemporaries. Her testimonial of an impoverished childhood, marked by the absence of her imprisoned father and ongoing vulnerability to her struggling single mother is delivered with lucid honesty and without blame. Ultimately, Ashley's story is about love - familial love and self love. Despite a childhood of harrowing experiences, her reflections build to a crescendo of proudly becoming her best self. Ashley's story is sure to resonate, be admired, and inspire a very wide audience. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
If I weren't already drawn to any story that champions the benefits of restoring wolves to the wild, this novel would have been fascinating on its own for the portrayal of a fierce environmentalist heroine with mirror-pain synaesthesia. Set in the wilds of Scotland, at some point in the future we all never hope to witness, this eco-mystery thriller hits the woods running and never lets you go. MacConaghy is a wonder! ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
Of Women and Salt made me want to learn more about Cuba and of the history, culture and lives of her women and girls. There are so many incredible scenes in this novel - of a 19th century cigar factory where classic lit is read to pass each monotonous hot day, of a child returning from school to an empty house after an immigration raid, of a wife who watches the jungle hills, hoping against the return of a spouse, of mothers and daughters narrating their existence in time - from Mexico, Miami and Cuba. Their gorgeous voices narrate a distinctly female perspective on survival, compassion, loss and endurance and the highly complex relationships between mothers and daughters. I eagerly await Garcia's next book. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
Selma van de Perre was 18 when the Nazi's seized the Netherlands in 1940.
For the entire duration of the war, she resisted in every way she could while hiding her Jewish heritage even from her closest allies. Every holocaust story I've ever read has left me breathless, detailing so many acts of courage, unthinkable miracles, and razor thin life and death moments. Selma's memoir is all of this and more. It kept me reading late into the night marveling at her steel grip on hope against all reason and without which she would never have survived Ravensbruck. My Name is Selma is delivered plainly by an amazing woman in her 90s who has gifted us all a fresh cautionary tale. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker