The savage murders of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park have gone unresolved for over 25 years. In May of 1996, these two young seasoned, highly skilled backcountry leaders who had fallen in love working at a world-renowned outdoor center for women the previous year, were found savagely murdered at their campsite. I never intended to read Trailed, by reporter Kathryn Miles, but great books pull you in. This is how I learned so much more about the true history of women in wild places, why crimes are so much harder to crack in the wilderness, and the painstaking 5 years of research doggedly pursued by a courageous reporter who refused to settle for what seems to be bungled investigations by the National Park Service, FBI, and Virginia state police. Trailed is an important book that I hope circulates far and wide. Kathryn Miles may just yet bring peace to the long suffering families and friends of Julie and Lollie. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
In 2018, river guide Ben Raines plunged into Mobile Bay's desolate swamp waterways in pursuit of a mystery. His recovery that day of a sodden worn plank bearing rusted handmade nails made possible the eventual identification of the legendary 1860 Clotilda schooner known to local residents as the last slave ship to import African slaves to America. Clotilda's identification would garner international attention. She symbolized the countless voyages preceding it and the centuries old brutal practices integral to the Atlantic Slave Trade. Raines' important book highlights the previous scholarship surrounding this particular voyage, the discovery of the vessel, and the story of the human cargo forced into the hold, their post-Civil War lives, communities and descendants. Highly recommended. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
Who is the young mute girl skittering through the shadowy hallways of this once grand mansion? Why does she practice such fastidious rituals and possess a photographic memory big enough for every single volume possessed by the mansion's infinite libraries? And why is the estate's keeper Eustace so devoted to her and her caretaker Mr. Crowe - a bored and tipsy debutante accompanied by an operatic paramour dressed in red? Once shots ring out in the night Eustace flies into action to minimize the consequences - but exactly what does that mean in this theatre of sorcerers or gods? Enchantingly dark and brooding, this beguiling yarn is sure to captivate and perhaps change forever your experience of a bevy of swans. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
In this happy little gem of a guide, Cleese explores the very important role of the unconscious mind in the creative process, the tortoise mind vs. the hare brain and why indecision, being stuck, and problem solving are best left to the natural processes of the unconscious which has a language and timing all its own. Wonderful insight for anyone striving for a little more imagination, artistry, or inventiveness in their times. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
How many books have you read that seem to capture the essence of life over and over again? Lush with friendship, humor, art, food, love, passion and dreams, this luminous storyline migrates from a small local London pub, to a rambling hotel in Provence. As with her former novel, Tin Man, Winman seems to be answering the question, "What is the heart capable of?"
One of my very favorite novels of 2021, Still Life is soul food for readers who seek originality and mirth. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker