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The Fact of a Body is a startlingly intimate journey through the author’s childhood and molestation by a family member. Her story is intertwined with that of a pedophile sentenced to death for the abuse and murder of a six-year old boy. Her life-long trauma leads her to question the motivations of her abuser, the shroud of silence that surrounded her molestation (and other family secrets), and finally, her feelings about her family, as well as about the death penalty. This cathartic book is deeply personal and moving. ~ Reviewed by Shirley Cagle
In a distinctive style, the author sets a bleak stage of cool, windswept oceanfront on the North Sea coast. Our heroine, Ella Nygaard, is not particularly likable, and with good reason. Her childhood was ripped away at age seven and she spent years fighting her way through foster care, only to find herself confronting her demons as a young mother with nothing but her son to lose. This tale is a carefully crafted mystery, leaving us with a glimmer of hope for Ella. ~ Reviewed by Shirley Cagle
Cath Crowley’s story of Rachel and Henry is a sweet, poignant treatise of love and loss and hope. Rachel is suffering the death of her brother, of which she has told no-one. Henry, her best friend (with whom she is in love), is coping with the loss of his longtime girlfriend, self-absorbed Amy. The primary setting is Henry’s family’s used bookstore, which is losing money and up for sale. Their story, set amongst the books, is finely woven with other love stories. A wonderful read, especially using the vehicle of the “Letter Library!” ~ Reviewed by Shirley Cagle
Gizelle is the kind of dog we all want: interesting, loving, loyal. And she is a cherished member of the family. Gizelle and "Fernie" grow together and share such a connection that her subsequent illness inspired a bucket list. A tearjerker! ~ Reviewed by Shirley Cagle
Supremely poignant, this debut novel is chock full of angst, confusion and loneliness, both teenage and adult. Bryn Chancellor's characters jump off the page with her careful depictions and the small town of Sycamore is as familiar as your hometown. This mystery that's not truly a mystery will move you, maybe to tears as it did to me. ~ Reviewed by Shirley Cagle