Books by Carrie Brown

Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"The historical details may be of interest to astronomy buffs, but neither they nor the Herschels come into involving focus in this plodding version of their lives."
Brown (The Last First Day, 2013) fictionalizes the lives of highly respected astronomer-siblings William and Caroline "Lina" Herschel with an emphasis on Lina's growth from dependence on her brother to success in her own right. Read full book review >
THE LAST FIRST DAY by Carrie Brown
Released: Sept. 17, 2013

"A beautiful piece of writing: bittersweet with nostalgia, surprisingly sensual and sharply nuanced in its depiction of the strains and rewards that shape any long marriage."
The wife of a private school headmaster looks back at 50-plus years of marriage in this restrained yet emotionally powerful portrait of enduring love from Brown (The Rope Walk, 2007, etc.). Read full book review >
THE ROPE WALK by Carrie Brown
Released: May 1, 2007

"Brown (Confinement, 2004, etc.) has a delicate flair for language and the telling detail, but her Hallmark Hall of Fame tendencies are sickly-sweet."
A ten-year-old girl in a small Vermont town broadens her horizons while confronting the harsher reality presented by her new friendship with a young boy and an artist dying of AIDS. Read full book review >
CONFINEMENT by Carrie Brown
Released: March 26, 2004

"Much too much: an elegant and intensely moving story gets bogged down in its own ruminations."
Brooding and elegiac account of an Austrian refugee who begins a new life in America but can't get free of either his troubled memories or his bad luck. Read full book review >
Released: March 29, 2002

"A delightful menu."
An accomplished debut collection of seven stories demonstrates the versatility of novelist Brown (The Hatbox Baby, 2000, etc.). Read full book review >
THE HATBOX BABY by Carrie Brown
Released: Sept. 22, 2000

"Brown (Lamb in Love, 1999, etc.) tells her story with great delicacy, giving an otherworldly, luminous air to a tawdry setting and great dignity to her characters. A fascinating, lyrically written tale."
A respected doctor and a notorious fan dancer fall in love at the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition, circa 1933. Read full book review >
LAMB IN LOVE by Carrie Brown
Released: April 23, 1999

A charmingly old-fashioned account of small-town romance by former journalist-turned-novelist Brown (Rose's Garden, 1998). In the summer of 1969, despite the moon landing, the little English village of Hursley is still in many regards closer to feudalism than to the space age. Sleepy, picturesque, and compact, it's a place defined by familiarity and routine, and guided by the certainty that nothing in life is unprecedented. But Norris Lamb, a middle-aged bachelor who serves as postmaster of Hursley and organist of St. Alphage Parish Church, has discovered to his amazement that the world can change—not because of the Apollo mission, but because he has fallen in love: "You—ve been awakened, Norris Lamb, he says to himself, after a long sleep, as it were, a sleep that might have, save for Providence's intervention, gone on forever." The woman who has awakened these feelings is Vida Stephen, a local spinster who looks after the mentally retarded son of a well-to-do architect. An innocent with no experience whatsoever in dealing with women, Norris is at something of a loss as to how he should press his suit, but he eventually hits upon an appropriate (for a postmaster) solution: anonymous love letters. Having friends in the trade, so to speak, Norris is able to get his letters posted from abroad, and so Vida begins to receive testimonies from a secret admirer who apparently lives in Greece, Egypt, and any number of exotic locales. The coincidence is that Vida's artsy Uncle Laurence lives in Corfu, and Vida is thinking of moving there herself. By the time she finds out who Norris really is, in fact, she has already packed and bought her ticket. Has Norris lost his final chance? Or will his life change even more radically than he imagined? With men walking on the moon, there's no telling where the realm of possibility ends. Engaging, coy, and surprisingly effective. Read full book review >
ROSE'S GARDEN by Carrie Brown
Released: March 31, 1998

A wise, surprisingly deft, fablelike first novel celebrating the rejuvenating effects of love. Seventy-five-year-old Conrad, four months after the death of his beloved wife Rose, finds himself at loose ends, humbly going through life's routines. Nothing stirs him, not his beloved flock of passenger pigeons, nor the odd, vivid life of the small New Hampshire town in which he and Rose lived for many decades— nothing, that is, until he rushes out one stormy night to tend to his flock, only to encounter an angel in the garden. Even more astonishing, the angel has the features of Conrad's long-dead father-in-law, Lemuel. The message he carries is curiously simple: Rose loves him, and it is time for Conrad to ``go home.'' Not to heaven, but back to his home in this world, back to some sort of involvement with his neighbors. Conrad, dazzled, sets down the experience in a straightforward letter to the local newspaper. Its publication inspires a series of confessions by Conrad's neighbors, a variety of stories about the irruption of mystery and the sacred into everyday life. Conrad begins to tend Rose's vast, beloved garden again, finds himself building a tentative yet nourishing friendship with Hero, a deeply disturbed but profoundly gifted young woman who had been Rose's gardening protÇgÇ, and also finds, to his considerable surprise, that he now feels a clear appetite for life. Having worked as a gilder, covering everything from capitol domes to church spires to weather vanes in gold, ``sealing the plain old world in shimmering layers,'' he now discovers the extraordinary beauty already present in the world. And he's given a chance to help save it when a ferocious storm causes a local dam to crumple, threatening his town and his friends. All of this would seem an unaffecting melodrama in less talented hands. But Brown nicely matches a shrewd eye for character with a fresh, unadorned, exact prose style. A warm, remarkably surefooted debut. (Author tour) Read full book review >
THE DARK by Carrie Brown
Released: April 21, 1995

Five teenaged kids set up a still on the grounds of the old Sunstrike commune in the hills of Washington and drink themselves silly. But they aren't careful enough with their home brew, which leaves two of them partially blind and a third totally dead. A statute on controlled-substances homicide allows the parents of the late Vance Crayson to bring civil and criminal charges against Lindy Adair, the ex-professor who owns the land; but Lindy—who, like everybody else in this wide-eyed first novel, is a really good person—can't afford to give up her only financial asset, especially when the Craysons will clearly be selling it to developers who'll deforest it and put up jerry-built housing. So, aided reluctantly by Sgt. Dan Richison, Lindy responds by looking for evidence of where the boys learned to make moonshine. It was from Max Owen, the folksy grandfather of two of the boys, she learns—but shortly after she visits Owen, before he has a chance to help exonerate her, he's dead, victim of a faked suicide that wouldn't fool a purblind drunk. Lindy, placed by an unidentified witness at the murder scene, is left holding everyone's hand (``Don't bother with guilt,'' she kindly tells one distraught Sunstriker) while she struggles demurely to clear herself. Sensitive to a fault. It would help to miss the Sixties a lot before you dip in. Read full book review >