Monthly Archives: June 2013

Eloise by Judy Finnigan. Published by Redhook.

Cathy is slowly recovering from a mental breakdown, but her recovery is thrown off course when her best friend, Eloise dies of breast cancer. Cathy begins to dream of her friend and to believe that her death was not caused by cancer at all, but something much more sinister. When Cathy confides her fears to her psychiatrist husband, Chris, he just believes she is having another breakdown. Angry and hurt, Cathy sets off to discover the truth on her own. It could cost her her sanity, or her life.

A psychological thriller of the first water. Readers will be unsure if Cathy is slowly going mad or if she will meet the same fate as her friend.

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Fringe Florida by Lyn Waddell. Published by University Press of Florida

Waddell looked deep into the seamier side of Florida and came up with this bizarre and compelling book. From women willing to show everything to win a beach contest, to one of the oldest spiritual communities in the country to the truly frightening Holy Land in Orlando, readers will be unable to look away. It’s the proverbial accident we all have to get a gander at. If at times disturbing and repelling, it is also funny, sweet and sad. For all lovers of Florida.

Tropic of Hopes by Henry Knight. Published by University Press of Florida

A fascinating comparison of America’s two Sunshine States and the quest by politicians, hucksters and robber barons to cash in on the returns. Showing the growth and promotion of each state from the end of the Civil War to the Depression, Knight uses newspaper accounts, government reports, pictures and drawings to bring to life a period of time when Americans were encouraged to buy their own piece of paradise right in their own country.

No Way Out by Alan Jacobson. Published by Premier Digital.

FBI profiler Karen Vail is back and on assignment in England. Working with Scotland Yard, Karen is looking into the bombing of an art gallery in London. It seems the target wasn’t the gallery itself, it was something believed to be stored there –  a 400 year old manuscript that could change the history of jolly old England. This radical group does not want that happening. Karen’s detective work takes her right to a known terrorist believed to be planning attacks on the U.S. and the U.K.  And suddenly Karen finds herself a target, of Scotland Yard, the British Security Service and a group of assassins who will stop at nothing to keep the truth from seeing the light of day.

Karen Vail is one of the best female protagonists in the genre;  tough, no nonsense but undoubtedly female. This is Karen’s most fascinating case so far. Kudos to Jacobson.

The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally. Published by Atria

Australian sisters Naomi and Sally sign on as nurses during World War I. Beginning in the Mediterranean, the two women see atrocities they could never have imagined. They also become closer than they ever were at home as they witness both the tremendous cruelties and kindnesses humans are capable of. As they attend their duties on the field and in the hospital, both women meet and fall in love with men serving in the war. Now, having more to live for, and so much more to lose, Naomi and Sally can only pray that they all survive.

A clear eyed look at the horrors of war and its impact on both soldiers and civilians. Keneally’s terse, almost brusque writing style is right on the money

Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin. Published by Atria

Logan and Kelsey are cousins, but they have been raised like sisters and confide and protect each other through their tumultuous adolescence. Then there comes a day when Kelsey and her parents are gone – moving away in the middle of the night. Years later, Kelsey is the pop singing sensation her parents have always pushed her to be, but she’s also on the edge of a diva sized collapse. Logan gets a call  – Kelsey needs her, and even though they have not spoken in years, Logan is on the first plane to La La Land. As Kelsey struggles to hold on to her sanity while Logan tries to help, the girls will finally learn the truth about that middle of the night vanishing act so many years before.

As much a coming of age novel as a story about the strength of family and women’s friendships. Readers will recognize bits and pieces of real Hollywood crash and burn stories.

Tara Revisited by Catherine Clinton. Published by Abbeville

This massive and fascinating undertaking looks at the life of Southern women during the Civil War. Using diaries, letters and stories, Clinton closely examines the lives of the slave women as well as the plantation mistresses. Photos and drawings bring this long vanished world back to life. A must read for any history or Civil War buff, or for any girl who ever wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara.