Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1818)

Released: Aug. 15, 1993

"A large-hearted collection that ranges over space and time to tell the stories of women who withstand various social pressures and remain only themselves."
A debut collection of 16 stories by novelist Bache (Safe Passage, 1988; Festival in Fire Season, 1992), this year's winner of the Willa Cather Fiction Prize. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 12, 1993

"Simplistic character motivation and political explanation make this second in a series- -by pseudonymous coauthors Martin and Annette Meyers (the Patrick Hardy and Smith & Wetzon mysteries, respectively)—better suited to a YA audience."
Upon returning to New-York (it's 1775) from London to take over his late father's medical practice, John Tonneman, a descendant of Pieter's (The Dutchman, 1992), is appointed coroner and soon runs afoul of a serial killer who fancies beheading redheaded slatterns and, for a change of pace, decapitates John's graying housekeeper. Read full book review >

BENEATH THE WIND by Cordelia Frances Biddle
Released: Aug. 12, 1993

"Full sail, no breeze."
A debut by the daughter of one of Phillie's first families that tells the story of a grand circumnavigation of the globe aboard a yacht—the Alcedo—in 1903. Read full book review >
CRAZY IN ALABAMA by Mark Childress
Released: Aug. 11, 1993

"Threading a thin line between bizarre comedy and ugly southern reality, this is a deftly balanced tale that unravels in the end- -when the fantastic and tragic elements clash in a finale both brutal and banal."
Flames of passion and rebellion confront the darkness of intolerance in Alabama, with many a macabre twist—in Childress's latest southern-fried coming-of-age tale (V for Victor, 1984; Tender, 1990, etc.). Read full book review >
STRIKE OF THE COBRA by Timothy Rizzi
Released: Aug. 10, 1993

"Heart-in-mouth, max G-force, stunningly realistic air action- -here unimpeded by too-fleshy characters."
A routine space shuttle mission goes sour, turning into a Libyan-US conflagration, with the PLO tossed in for good measure— in a second novel from Rizzi (Nightstalker, 1992). Read full book review >

HONEY DUST by Sue Cameron
Released: Aug. 6, 1993

"Cameron would have done better to stick with dishing dirt and cutting deals."
The Hollywood novel is taken to amazing new lows—in a fiction debut by a former columnist for the Hollywood Reporter and ``personal manager or advisor for major stars like Kim Novak, Angie Dickinson, Marlo Thomas, and Joan Rivers.'' It's the story of a Hollywood dynasty, the Kings of King Motion Pictures, hatched by Pinky Cohen (``the only Jew on the University of Southern California football team'') and Honey—a cross between an inflatable plastic sex-doll and the Bride of Frankenstein. Read full book review >
THE WILD MOTHER by Elizabeth Cunningham
Released: Aug. 5, 1993

"Cunningham is not just jumping on the bandwagon to run with wolves; here, she gracefully blends the mythical and magical with the humane."
Cunningham (The Return of the Goddess, 1992—not reviewed) offers a contemporary feminist fairy tale in which Lilith—far from being the evil, demonized child-stealer of the Judeo-Christian tradition—proves to be the archetypal Wild Mother without whose influence the modern-day family of Adam and Eva cannot be truly human or happy. Read full book review >
IF YOU KNEW ME by Anne Roiphe
Released: Aug. 4, 1993

"Roiphe shows us a new facet of first love here—slightly worn, but its shine is deep."
In all her best work, Roiphe (The Pursuit of Happiness, 1991, etc.) has mined the depth of human love and exposed its secret lode of sorrow. Read full book review >
BRIDEY'S MOUNTAIN by Yvonne Adamson
Released: Aug. 3, 1993

"Long and laboriously detailed with period description, and with an overlarge cast of sketchy (at best) characters."
From the pseudonymous Adamson, a flat, glossy first hardcover with a bit of everything: a battle to save a forested mountain slated for development, four generations of Gregory women, a smattering of Colorado history, and a dash of the supernatural (curses, prophetic dreams, ghosts and second sight). Read full book review >
SWEET WILLIAM by John Hawkes
Released: Aug. 3, 1993

"This section, like a coda of sickness and illusion and redemption, is quite beautiful—though it can't finally tip the balance away from the word-embroidery and fussy stylistics of the rest."
Hawkes's readers have watched him use horses (or stand-ins for them) time after time; in the 1988 Whistlejacket, the equine finally became a subject of its own in a novel about horse-as-object and horse-as-subject. Read full book review >
SIGNS OF DEVOTION by Maxine Chernoff
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"A dry, somewhat academic sensibility is at work here—one that will probably not be to every reader's taste."
Twenty slight, acerbic stories in which middle-class Chicagoans—old, young, gay, married, parents of children and grown children themselves—search for slender proof that they're loved. Read full book review >
SAVING GRACE by Julie Garwood
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"But the characters are warm, gushy, highly hormonal—and thus likely to please Garwood's paperback fans."
A hardcover debut by a writer well known in paperback romance klatches confronts the question of the place of women in 13th- century England and Scotland—i.e., where they stand in God's love, and whether their husbands should beat them. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >