Category: Commercial FIction Reviews

A review of The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattillo

Pattillo includes enough references to important British landmarks to keep both Anglophiles and Jane Austen fans engaged in the plot. The Dashwood Sisters Tell All is a fun and intelligent nod to the great novelist, and modern-day audiences may want to read out Austen’s works to understand why she remains such an inspiration to today’s writers.

A review of The Beach Trees by Karen White

White is purposeful in her choice of setting. While Julie and the Guidrys rebuild their lives—both together and separately—they come together to physically rebuild the Guidrys’ beach house, River Song. The house will come to represent a new beginning for everyone, although as Monica’s grandmother Aimee explains, rebuilding and starting over is nothing new for the Gulf Coast residents—it’s simply a part of life.

A review of If You Go Into the Woods by David Gaughran

If You Go Into the Woods is probably not best suited to readers who prefer their stories neatly boxed with all the answers lined up. But for those readers who, like me, love punchy, entertaining reads with a bit of mental gymnastics thrown in, you can’t go wrong with this one.

A review of Buffalo Unbound by Laura Pedersen

Through her nostalgic but realistic lens, readers may find themselves looking at their own hometowns in a new way—one that is not the idyllic memory of childhood, but more true to life, warts and all. It is clear that Pedersen makes no apologies for Buffalo’s hardscrabble past, but instead chooses to celebrate the unique spirit and character of her hometown.

A review of The Murderer’s Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

Having experienced domestic violence first hand and gone on to work with the perpetrators of such violence, there is no one better equipped than Meyers to write a story like this. I would categorise, The Murderer’s Daughters as faction—a skilful blending of fact and fiction.

A review of Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Hannah writes firmly in the present, putting the readers in both Jude and Lexi’s thoughts at the moment of her narration. Even though Hannah makes many references to painful events in her characters’ pasts, she doesn’t delve into those moments with any great depth.

A review of Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Winter Garden is a novel with many layers. Hannah uses a fanciful fairy tale as the link between a mother and her daughters—this is the key that will unlock the secrets that have been hiding in Nina and Meredith’s mother’s past for decades.

A review of Being Light by Helen Smith

Without a doubt, Smith is a master storyteller. A novel with this jig-saw structure couldn’t possibly work without skill. To make such absurdities as fly-away castles and alien abductions so utterly believable is a testament to Smith’s talent. In less experienced hands this story would have been a farce.

A review of A Stranger Like You by Elizabeth Brundage

Layered over and between each other, these passages of inner thoughts, often told in present tense, second person, lend kaleidoscopic views to the story, hopping back and forth through time and focusing on the unique angle seen by each character.

A review of Best Bet by Laura Pedersen

Pedersen revisits a character who has many of the same insecurities and dilemmas as the rest of us. Hallie is in that awkward, post-college stage—trying to cope with the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood as best she can, while admitting that she’s not ready for any of it!