A lucid volume of prayers and poems with familiar themes for Christian readers.

HARK VALLEY

A collection offers prayers and poetry for Christian reflection and meditation.

In this volume, Campbell lays bare her feelings of awe, praise, inadequacy, and determination toward God in unrhymed verse, akin to what readers might find in a prayer book. The work is separated into three parts: “My Song of Praises for You,” “My Songs of Victory for You,” and “My Songs of Redemption for You.” Referring to herself as “your maidservant” throughout, the author presents what seem to be her personal prayers of exultation, thanksgiving, and beseeching. She acknowledges God’s presence in her life “from when I was in my mother’s womb,” voicing her understanding that she was always destined to follow him. She asks for God’s intercession against her enemy, “a liar” who “searches for flaws, / weaknesses, opportunities.” She asks God to “guide your daughter,” reminding him that she is “feeble” and wants direction to do his will. She admits there are times when she feels distant from God, acknowledging that even though she strives to serve him, her “faith is tested.” The prayers are paired with rudimentary, uncredited pencil drawings that show crucifixes, reaching hands, and kneeling figures. Though Campbell’s heartfelt pieces are her supplications to God, they avoid becoming overly personal, reading like prayers one might find accompanying church readings or intended for use as daily meditations. They are clearly written and in keeping with Christian teaching. But their themes and subjects are fairly standard. Because the thoughtful collection refers to Jesus’ sacrifices and suffering on the cross, the work is most appropriate for observant Christians.

A lucid volume of prayers and poems with familiar themes for Christian readers.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-9736-8763-4

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2020

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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

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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

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