Kirkus calls this book “A fever dream of a novel that will enchant fans of contemporary fabulism.” Chouette means “Little Owl” in French, and in this allegorical tale Tiny has given birth to an owl-baby - born diminutive, broken-winged, needy and fierce. She is determined to raise Chouette to be her pure self, against all odds and pressure from those around her who want to “fix” Chouette and make her “normal”. To me, this book explores what it means to be a mother finding her way in raising a child who is unique, be it emotionally, developmentally or physically. Heartrending, not for the weak of heart, this book is a testament to the ferocity of unconditional motherly love. ~ Reviewed by Tambra Johnson Reap
Eight-year-old Wayland accidentally witnesses his father’s suicide and finds what he thinks is a note written by his father that reads “I am not who you think I am”. Reeling with grief, confused and uncertain, Wayland keeps the note a secret. Eight years later after a shocking discovery he becomes certain there is more to his father’s death, and the note is the key to unlocking the events of the past. With the help of his best-and only-friend and a girl he secretly loves, they search for the truth. They stumble upon the disturbing history of the town's most powerful family and a bizarre tragedy possibly linked to Wayland's birth. But each revelation only raises more questions and deepens Wayland's suspicions and increasing paranoia, leading to even more grief and loss. His search for truth will soon turn to a possible lifetime of regret.
This long awaited offering from one of my favorite mystery writers is quite the page-turner with its ingenious,unexpected twists and turns. Rickstad continues to intrigue! ~ Reviewed by Tambra Johnson Reap
In this often heartbreaking combination of biography, memoir and social history the author explores her relationship with her difficult, demanding mother Eileen, the “Dorothy Soames” of the title. Unknown to the author, her mother was illegitimate and had been given up to London’s Foundling Home. Dating back to the 1700s, it was founded as a home for illegitimate children, originally to raise them and train them for service. Although physical needs were met, emotional ones often were not. Given the childhood trauma she endured, Eileen had tremendous difficulty nurturing her daughter and consequently Cowan became estranged from her. It was not until after her mother’s death that she began to look into her mother’s history and try to begin to understand her. This often sad memoir reminds us that often we don’t appreciate what hardship or emotional pain some difficult people we have known may have endured. Cowan’s book is a brave and honest effort to come to terms with how the harms inflicted on one person ripple down to the next generation. ~ Reviewed by Tambra Johnson Reap
I loved, loved, loved this book. Lush, literary, gorgeous prose with unforgettably developed three-dimensional characters. Finely polished sentences that make you want to read and re-read them for their lyricism. Meticulously researched, amazingly plotted, the story is part literary Western, part historical fiction. Taking place predominantly in 1917 Alberta, Canada, it follows the story of the notorious thief known as the Ridgerunner and his twelve-year-old son Jack. It is a story of the extremes a father will go to for his son, and what a son will do to regain his sense of home after a horrendous loss. The author’s incredible powers of description will transport the reader deep into the Canadian Rockies and to a time and place overshadowed by the war raging in Europe and by a quickly transforming and modernizing West. Page-turning to the very last sentence. You will NOT want it to end. ~ Reviewed by Tambra Johnson Reap
For fans of Jane Smiley or William Kent Krueger, this is a remarkable and thrilling adventure tale with great heart and well developed characters you will come to care about. Fish and Bread,10-year-old best friends, believe that they have committed a murder and run away deep into the northern Wisconsin woods where they construct a raft and start a terrifying voyage downriver. Four adults track them into the woods hoping to find and save them. Not only is this full of danger and excitement, it is a heartrending story of loss,of hope and of friendship. I did not want to put it down! ~ Reviewed by Tambra Johnson Reap