A Murder Mystery After My Heart: Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely

I am eternally searching for murder mysteries that scratch a very specific itch. I have extremely high standards and a very particular set of criteria for my ideal mystery novel, which are: The mystery must be a satisfying puzzle; there can be none of that nonsense where the author springs a crucial piece of information … Continue reading A Murder Mystery After My Heart: Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely

“There is always another side, always”: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

On the heels of my Brontë reading extravaganza, I finally picked up Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and pushed through the sad animal deaths in the beginning chapters. And am I ever glad that I did. The book is a beautiful, complicated wonder. It tells the story of Mr. Rochester's first wife (Bertha Mason in … Continue reading “There is always another side, always”: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, Romanian folklore, and some thoughts about perfectionism

Keeping in line with my inadvertent summer theme of fantasy novels, I recently turned the last page on A Deadly Education, the first book in Naomi Novik's projected Scholomance trilogy. This has been by far my favourite Naomi Novik book—for me, neither Uprooted nor Spinning Silver lived up to their hype. But this one I … Continue reading A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, Romanian folklore, and some thoughts about perfectionism

Rereading Old Favourites: an Interlude (with Paper Dolls)

Literary paper dolls. Has anyone had a better idea, ever? I'm a little bit late to this party, but starting in May 2019, The Paris Review writer Julia Berick partnered with illustrator Jenny Kroik to create: "what us bookworm-clotheshorse child-adults have always wanted: literary paper dolls." The first one in the series was my very … Continue reading Rereading Old Favourites: an Interlude (with Paper Dolls)

Mothers, Daughters, and Jellyfish: Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

I just finished reading Hot Milk by Deborah Levy, and I have emerged from its pages feeling sunburned. The novel is set in Almería, in southeast Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea. It's an unfriendly landscape, with blazing sun, burning sand, and harsh salt. There are sweltering plastic greenhouses, unlovely gas canisters lining the beach, and … Continue reading Mothers, Daughters, and Jellyfish: Hot Milk by Deborah Levy