Misery Lit: Have We Had Our Fill?

I recently read that Daisy Goodwin, Orange Prize chair, was bothered by the unrelenting “misery” going on in the books eligible for the prize. In case you’re not familiar, the Orange Prize is awarded to a woman writer of any nationality for a novel written in English. After reading 129 novels, Ms. Goodwin told the […]

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Review of The Champion

Elizabeth Chadwick has been publishing for years. Why did it take me so long to find her? A writer of historical fiction, her specialty is the Middle Ages. She has nineteen books to her credit. See what I mean about not discovering her before now? Especially since her first book was published in 1989 (The […]

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YA Fiction: Past and Present

Next Spring I’ll be teaching a class on young adult fiction. The class will examine themes which run through both classic and contemporary YA novels, and also study the way in which the genre has evolved over time. I’m looking for your input! What one book defined you during your teenage years? Had the greatest […]

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My Sinful Secret

Until recently, I was one of those people who never read romances and was proud of it. Ugh. How stupid. How inane. How way, way beneath me. No thanks. Not me. Never. Ever. Then someone in my Jane Austen group suggested I read a Georgette Heyer novel. Supposedly, the next best thing to reading Jane. […]

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Jane Austen’s Siblings

Last Sunday I pretended to be Cassandra Austen, sister of the famous writer. I was on a panel of “siblings” at the Denver/Boulder regional meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America. We panelists fielded questions from our members regarding the sibs-four of the brothers and one sister. The most compelling question for me […]

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Review of Sovay

Celia Rees is an amazing writer. I was a great fan of her book Vanished, and I think Sovay is even better. With a large cast of characters, it must be difficult to give a distinctive voice to each one, but she manages to pull it off. And Sovay herself is a gem. Bold, adventurous, […]

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Lady Julia Grey Mysteries

I’ve enjoyed reading Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey mysteries. Not only has Raybourn created two appealing main characters in Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane, but she also has provided a seemingly limitless cast of characters within Lady Julia’s family: her father, her sister Portia, and her many other siblings. The first book in the series, […]

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Historical Mysteries

I love historical mysteries, especially the English ones. The time peiod doesn’t matter; right now I’m following several series from different centuries. Some crucial ingredients for historical mysteries, at least in my mind, are characterization, period detail, and mood. And of course, a mystery that keeps you guessing until the end, with plenty of plot […]

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The Hunger Games

I just experienced The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Yes, experienced. I listened to it, read by Carolyn McCormick. You would probably recognize her voice, as I did, from Law and Order. She’s played the part of Dr. Elizabeth Olivet for many years (in addition to her many roles in the theater, movies, and other […]

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