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Before reading Anne Tyler's newest novel Clock Dance, I had read 18 of her previous works. I've come to realize that like a favorite ritual, her novels have become a great comfort to me - always her distinct voice, and always her magnificent sharing of characters that are so honestly and endearingly human. Clock Dance is classic Tyler. Readers and fans can assuredly welcome the life story of Willa Drake with open arms into their reading lives. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
M. Allen Cunningham has once again raised the bar on the art of the novel. I enjoyed Perpetua's Kin as one would a rare smoky scotch - savoring the complexity, as well as the inherent skill and time needed to bring the effort to full maturity.
The book clearly succeeds beyond an exceptionally rich piece surrounding the Civil War. Storylines such as this resonate because they remind us how important our personal histories become for those who follow us. Perpetua's Kin may be a distinctly American portrait, but the overarching themes - war, love, wanderlust, suffering, are quite universal. I always walk away from a reading like this ruminating on the largeness of life and the lasting impact of the arts - the lasting influence that novelists can have on every one of us. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
Winthrop's eloquence softens this grim yet tender tale of a small town in the Jim Crow south awaiting the execution of 17 year old Willie Jones, caught in the arms of his white high school girl friend and sentenced to death for rape. Based on the true history of Gruesome Gertie, a traveling electric chair circulating in the south after WWII, The Mercy Seat illuminates the whispers and prayers of bewildered souls enduring the complex racial tensions of the era. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
All the superlatives apply to this wondrous novel - mesmerizing, enthralling, hypnotic and elegant.
One can feel the fog and the lurking shadows of post war London where siblings Stitch and Wren are abruptly left in the care of men who might be mobsters. The Moth,The Darter, and the entire cast are never quite what they seem. Whether cruising down the Thames in a mussel boat, or understanding the importance of stegophilists for espionage, readers will be captivated by every twist and turn. I give this a standing ovation for every single element - and especially for Ondaatje's clever reference to the state of "Schwer". His writing here is utter perfection. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
This is the story of Yellowstone's most famous Wolf , number 832AF, or more affectionately known as "06" for the year she was born. Observed, tracked and photographed by novices and biologists alike, 06 was internationally revered for her majestic stature, merciful leadership, tender parenting and fierce hunting skill. Her legendary reign as the granddaughter of one of the first Canadian wolves brought to repopulate the park in 1995 is both fascinating and magical. Yet American Wolf is a much larger and critical story. It illuminates the inherent tensions of contemporary life in the American West and begs a number of important questions. What do we value? What are we willing to sacrifice to preserve our precious wild places? ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker