Dark and lushly layered, these stories will bewitch you.

MILK BLOOD HEAT

This powerful debut collection is a wonderland of deep female characters navigating their lives against the ever changeable backdrop of Florida.

The feminine is sublime throughout these stories, featuring girls and women who are submerged in loss, love, death, temptation, and the cruelty and benevolence of motherhood, two sides of the same coin. Each story vibrates with a thrumming undercurrent of primal power, found in both nature and in the most shadowy parts of ourselves. In “The Hearts of Our Enemies,” Frankie navigates the rockiness between herself and her teenage daughter, Margot, after she tells her husband about her almost-infidelity and he moves out; then she finds a note in Margot’s jeans that leads her to discover how far she will go to protect her child against an insidious predator. The title story deals with two friends on the cusp of adolescence, one Black and the other White, as they embrace their inner wildness until tragedy befalls one of them. In “Tongues,” a tensile power struggle between a teenager and the emotionally brutal, restrictive religious patriarchy of her family and their pastor sends her on a journey to unwrap her truest self. A woman must reckon with her thorny relationship with her mother as she decides whether to continue her weeks-old pregnancy while planning her mother’s overly grand 50th birthday party in “Necessary Bodies,” and “Thicker Than Water” sends a sister on a road trip with her estranged brother and their father’s ashes to Santa Fe, where she must find a way to make peace with both her brother and the ghost of a man she loved who hurt her in the worst way a father can hurt a child.

Dark and lushly layered, these stories will bewitch you.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8021-5815-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY

An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more