An engaging tale that powerfully evokes a time and place in American history.

THE RIVER REMEMBERS

A historical novel tells the stories of three young women in Michigan Territory with different challenges and goals.

Samantha Lockwood escapes her domineering family in the East, determined to make her own decisions about marriage. “A really good wife is almost always unhappy,” says her mother, in a peculiar attempt to buck her up. Samantha’s older brother runs a store and post office in Prairie du Chien. Day Sets, a Dakota woman with a White husband, wants a better life for her tribe and especially for her daughter, Mary. And Harriet Robinson, a Black enslaved person, wants her freedom. This is the 1830s in the upper Midwest along the Mississippi in what will become Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Native Americans are getting short shrift even as some try desperately to accommodate White men and even assimilate. Some of those White men are simply hateful and grasping (and their wives are no better). Others mean well but are inept or powerless. And although Harriet is living in a free territory, she is still an enslaved person. For just a little while, she feels as if she is free, but it will take years and lawsuits for that to happen, even after she marries Dred Scott (yes, that Dred Scott). Headstrong Samantha marries the feckless Alex Miree but eventually finds true love. Much of this story comes from Ulleseit’s own family history. Though there have been some liberties taken, the engrossing novel is largely true to that history and gets a lot of credit for being faithful to the time and place. What is immediately striking is the number of historical personages (Zachary Taylor, Jefferson Davis, artist George Catlin, Dred Scott) who make appearances. But the author assures readers that they all, in fact, visited that locale in that decade. All three women are strong and sympathetic characters, and Ulleseit provides copious and helpful backmatter. And running through the vivid story are reveries that reflect the timelessness that the title suggests.

An engaging tale that powerfully evokes a time and place in American history.

Pub Date: June 27, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-64742-450-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

FAIRY TALE

Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

more