Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell


Maggie O’Farrell has magnificently  tackled a little-known story. William Shakespeare’s eleven-year-old son Hamnet died of the plague in 1596 in Stratford, England.  He was survived by his mother, twin sister Judith, older sister, and his father, as well as various other members of his family. But nothing was ever spoken of this. Was kept  silent.  Until now, when O’Farrell brings forth with this marvelous new novel that shows the depth of grief and the strength of the human spirit.

The story begins with Hamnet finding his twin sister Judith has suddenly become very ill. He goes for help but his entire family seem to have vanished just when he needs them most. Judith lies on a pallet in an upstairs bedroom falling deeper into the throes of the bubonic plague. But they don’t know this at the time.

O’Farrell manages to introduce us to Hamnet’s mother Agnes ( pronounced Ann-yis ) as she tends to her bees in a field a mile away not knowing her child is desperately ill and needing her attention. She’s well-known as a healer and can even see into a person’s  future ……all the while you, the reader, find yourself tensing up and wishing to God she would hurry even as you know the outcome.

Although William Shakespeare is never named as such in this story, we know it is he who is Hamnet’s father.  And why the name Hamnet? It’s a variation of Hamlet. We are shown the life of the most famous play-right who was first a Latin tutor who married a free spirit and mostly lived in London.

Judith and Hamnet loved playing tricks on their family by swapping identities. This is a pretty common way for twins to have fun with people who think they know them so very well.  So when Judith is lying dying, Hamnet decides to trick the Gods by pretending to be his twin. It’s tragic. It’s heartbreaking.

As Agnes prepares her son’s body for burial any mother can not help but be brought to her knees with grief. And the thoughts that are careening through her head are brought to the page in a way that is so real it hurts. The grief, the guilt, the death.

I try to avoid books that deal with the death of a child. Too painful. And there are those of you who will avoid this book for that reason. But this story is one to wrap yourself up in. It’s important.  I believe this book is one of those that is bound for glory. It’s an OMG book.

About halfway through the book several pages are dedicated to the events that carry the pestilence to England and to the home of Judith and Hamnet.  These colorful pages, a dozen or so, will change the way you think about how disease is passed from person to person and from animal to animal.  Here we are going through a global pandemic of monumental proportions and I’m actually reading about the bubonic plague that took place four hundred years ago. Utterly up front and way too personal. I have read and reread these passages over and over. Amazing.

This is a book that will be widely read and should be on every bookclub list for discussion in the coming months.  I can almost smell a nod for Pulitzer or Man Booker or both.  Be sure to put it on your list.

You can purchase a copy of HAMNET from Copperfish Books. They are on the shelves right now and discounted 20%.  Just a heads’ up. Elaine Newton has read HAMNET and loved it!

Maggie O’Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell is an Irish born writer who has many a great novel under her , however, this is her best!

28 Summers by Elin Hilderband

28 Summers

I’ve been reading Elin Hilderbrand since she first began writing. I fell in love with Nantucket because of Elin. I’ve never set foot on Nantucket but in my mind I’ve been there 28 times. Every summer there is a new novel set on Nantucket Island. And every summer I am there.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to read a review copy of 28 SUMMERS.  I wanted to take my time and savor it but, I ended up swallowing it whole. When I turned the last page and shut the book, I stood up and was dumbfounded to discover that my backyard was not the Atlantic Ocean. I had become so totally immersed in 28 SUMMERS that I actually lost myself for a moment in time. I did not make this up.  When I tell you that this novel is one of the most moving love stories I’ve ever read, I am not kidding. I am not exaggerating. It’s extraordinary.

Elin has used the movie SAME TIME NEXT YEAR as the theme of 28 SUMMERS.  It works. It’s genius. And it’s totally right for this point in time. We need escapism.  And here it is.

Elin Hilderbrand

Love the cover. For me, a great cover is the best way to grab your readers. And this one is a real winner.  The first chapter is numbered Summer#28: 2020. So it’s beginning with the end.  I love the beginning of each chapter where Elin gives us a synopsis of what we were  talking about that particular year. She does it with each summer. It’s so perfect because it sets us up to remember what was going on that year. I love this.  In this poignant last summer Mallory Blessing is telling her son Link that there’s an envelope in the desk.  On the front of the envelope is a message saying only , Please call.   Link is with his mother in her beach cottage on Nantucket. Inside the envelope is one thing: a phone number……We discover that Link’s mom is dying of cancer and he is only nineteen.  And so the story begins

Part One is titled Twenties.  Summer#1: 1993. Here we first meet Mallory Blessing who is twenty-four years old and living on the Upper East Side of New York with her very best friend in the world.  We are reminded at the top of the chapter what is going on in the world: Waco, Texas; World Trade Center bombing; Arthur Ashe; R.E.M.; Lorena Bobbitt; Robert Redford, Woody Harrelson, and Demi Moore; NAFTA; River Phoenix; the EU; Got Milk?; Nordic Track; Rabin and Arafat; Monica Seles; Sleepless in Seattle; the World Wide Web; the Buffalo Bills losing the Super Bowl for the third straight time; Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer; Whitney Houston singing “I Will Always Love You.’ You get the picture..

Mallory has inherited an amazing old  cottage on the ocean on Nantucket from her aunt Greta.  Lucky girl.  So when Mallory’s brother Cooper is getting married he asks if he can bring some guys for Labor Day weekend; a bachelor party of sorts. She agrees and so the party is on. But the party ends up being  more of a party for two for various reasons. This is where Mallory meets Jake  McCloud and her life is forever changed.

Each subsequent summer and continuing on to amount to 28 in all, Jake and Mallory manage to get together on Nantucket for Labor Day weekend. One weekend each year. Only one.  Why? Because that is what works for them. Maybe they would not have that special spark if they had to deal with the mundane events of everyday life.  Mallory knows she loves living on Nantucket. She is not going to leave the island even to be with Jake. Jake’s life is not on the island. And he’s been involved in a very serious relationship with his girlfriend since they were kids. There is history and baggage. So the one  weekend a year system  continues to work for them both.

All the characters in this novel are well-developed. Cooper is Mallory’s brother.  He’s not able to sustain a marriage longer than it takes to say I do.  Mallory’s parents really want her to get married and be  happy. Their version.  Leland is Mallory’s best friend who we discover is not such a great friend after all.  And Frazier is one of Cooper’s best friends who becomes a vital part of the story.

I knew I wanted this novel to last, but I also could not put it down for long.  The ocean kept calling and Labor Day Weekend was always beckoning. OMG! The romance. The beach. The cottage. The food.  Being on the water. Summertime. This book is escapism at its peak.

Even though I knew what was going to happen at the end, I have to tell you that it is a very satisfying ending. And I sobbed. I was happy to have the house to myself so I could wallow in it.

Elin Hilderbrand was visiting the island of St. John while I was reading the book.  She’s working on the third in the Winter Series that will come out in October. She lives on the island part of the year. How very cool.

Elin Hilderbrand  has lived on Nantucket for 28 years. She moved there and lived in a small apartment to begin with. She was twenty-three.

Little Brown will publish 28 SUMMERS on June 16 and everyone will be able to read this amazing novel for themselves.  I am putting this amazing novel on the very top of my summer reading list of favorites. I think you will too.  I hope you’ll think of Copperfish Books and order from us.  You know how much we love you guys.

Colson Whitehead Wins Pulitzer Prize For Fiction Second Time.

The Nickel Boys & Colson Whitehead

Wow, wow, and WOW! I was thrilled to discover that Colson Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his amazing novel, THE NICKEL BOYS. It’s his second win after winning in 2016 for THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD.

Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad

THE NICKEL BOYS is a slim novel packed with a monumental punch. Of course it takes place here in Florida. Most of the crazy stuff does. But this story is based on what actually happened at the Dozier Home for Boys in Northern Florida. Not all that long ago. When Whitehead read an article about the graveyard behind the school, he hit the ground writing. He is the master. He has managed to take home this prestigious award twice in a very short time, something that’s rarely been done before. I am linking to my review of THE NICKEL BOYS so you can see what I’m talking about. The book is available to purchase in hardcover with a soft cover release later this summer.  If you haven’t read this one, do it now.  It’s already a classic!

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

You can get your copy now from Copperfish Books.

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

A Good Neighborhood

Coming in at just under 300 pages this new novel by Therese Anne Fowler packs a helluva punch. Fowler leaves very few issues untouched. And does a bang- up job.

The novel begins in a simple old neighborhood where an upscale new house has been built where once existed a perfectly fine home. But that’s what happens when the wealthy move into this North Carolina community. Tear down the old, put up newer and supposedly better…

This wonderful novel delves deeply into the lives of two families brought together in a most unlikely way. When the wealthy Whitman family moves into the newly built McMansion next to the humble  abode and property of Valerie Holt and her son Xavier you get the feeling that all is not well.  The Whitman’s are white and entitled. Valerie Holt is African American. Xavier is mixed race. You can see where this is going, right?

Fowler takes her time building this story. She says she did tireless research. After all, her usual genre is historical fiction. This new book is contemporary and edgy. And wonderful.

The buildup is slow and you begin getting a creepy feeling about Mr. Whitman.  Who are these people. Really?  What is their background? And then we find out.

Where is Xavier’s father?  Why is Valerie so enamored with the massive oak tree in their backyard? The tension begins to ooze into the story when Valerie discovers the root system of her beloved oak has been compromised.  And she’s enraged and saddened beyond comprehension. So what does she do?

The publisher sent me this amazing card with pop up tree. I’ve been taking it along on my speaking engagements this season and it never ceases to emit gasps from the audiences. It is a great marketing device.

Oak Tree Card

Of course there is much more to this amazing story than this. One of the Whitman’s daughter’s, Juniper, is a lovely seventeen-year-old teenager.  She’s very close in age to Xavier.  They are, of course, attracted to one another.  You have to know this is not going to end well.

Watching the build- up will have you reading far into the night. It’s a quick read.  But it’s a deep novel filled with people who are dealing with life issues.  It’s being called a tragedy and it is that.

I’ve read more than one novel lately about neighborhoods.  Tranquility in a community can be breached with one problematic neighbor. It all can turn on a dime. In this case, that is exactly what happens.

Therese Anna Fowler is the New York Times bestselling author of  and A WELL DRESSED WOMAN and Z a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald that I loved.  This new novel addresses issues of race, class, and heartbreaking star-crossed love. It’s certainly provocative like the back of the book says. And it’s stunningly powerful!

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

Pick up your copy of A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD at Copperfish Books. It’s discounted 20%. Copperfish is also able to send you a copy through the mail.  This is one of the most anticipated novels of the year and rightly so. This is a must-have novel!!

Therese Anne Fowler

My review copy of A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD arrived from the generous publishers at St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely LOVED it!

On The Plain Of Snakes by Paul Theroux

On The Plain of Snakes

Along comes Paul Theroux with  a heart-pounding epic journey along the border between Mexico and U.S. It’s not a novel. It’s a tell-all travel documentary written in Theroux’s signature voice. I got so involved that I whipped out a big atlas of Mexico and the border and began to voraciously follow along….sharpie in hand.

Map Mexico-U.S. Border

This book could not be more timely. Surely, I can’t be the only person who’s been wondering about the border, lately. My mind  has pictured areas of crossing both legal and illegal. Immigrants so desperate they are swimming across the Rio Grande sometimes hanging onto the back of another.   Yes, this actually happens daily. And I have spoken to a woman who did just this.

As Theroux drives his personal car across the harsh desert and dangerous roads of Mexico ( and they’re all dangerous) we begin to understand the  potential for disaster around every curve. At one point he was told if  he had chosen to drive a truck it would most certainly have  been stolen. He’s stopped by corrupt government police and officials on every leg of his journey.  Each one extracts  payment for some ridiculous infringement they have cooked up. Non payment is not an option here.  One incident comes to mind where he  encounters a policeman on a motorcycle as he reaches Mexico City.  The policeman  pulled up next to his car and indicated with the fat finger of a leather-gloved hand that he must follow him.  He was lead through heavy traffic  and down a side road, then through a series of slummy streets and finally to the end of a dead-end street.  The policeman approached his car shouting at the top of his voice.  Theroux indicated that his Spanish was poor and asked that the cop speak slowly.  More shouting. The policeman wants to see the papers for the car saying he can take it. It’s illegal to drive this car in Mexico. On and on. Theroux tries to explain that he has the proper permits etc.  By now Theroux is actually afraid. And rightly so. And he writes: ” I have written elsewhere about how I have been frightened in travel, nearly always by someone with a gun–a boy in Malawi, a shifta bandit in the north Kenya desert, and three boys with rusty spears had accosted me in a logoon in the Trocriand Islands, threatening to stab me to death.” Finally, he asked the policeman ,”What do you want?” and that became the game-changer. Money, of course.  Not long after this first encounter, Theroux was again accosted by police for driving down a one-way street. Money was again extracted for the offense. And on and on again and again throughout the  entire adventure. This is a corrupt country.

Theroux gives you a birds-eye view of all that’s hellacious about this often gorgeous but harsh land.  When he teaches a writing class in Mexico City he introduces us to the delicious and unique foods specific to this area.  I enjoyed meeting the intelligent writers in his class. As he walks the streets and uses public transport you feel as if you’re there traveling with him and making new friends as you learn more about the culture and the quirks.

Theroux travels by bus, car, and plane, through the wild wild west of Mexico. Has it always been this way?  Is it more dangerous now than twenty years ago? He even goes so far as to  post about the new four-tier advisory system for travelers to the country.

  • Level 1, Exercise Normal Precautions ( much of Mexico )
  • Level 2, Exercise Increased Caution ( Cancun, Cozumel, Mexico City)
  • Level 3, Reconsider Travel ( Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco )
  • Level 4, DO NOT TRAVEL, ( Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Taxco )

Theroux goes on to say he knew nothing about this new travel alert until after he returned from his trip. He had been warned repeatedly  to avoid driving in Guerrero state and not to visit Acapulco, warnings he heeded.

Paul Theroux

Reading through these above warnings is daunting. Some of you may remember that I’ve been writing about an upcoming novel called, AMERICAN DIRT, by Jeanine Cummins. It begins in that fine Mexican city of Acapulco. Yes, stay away, my friends!!

I will be talking about ON THE PLAIN OF SNAKES all season long and far into the future.  Get out your atlas and get ready for a wild ride that you will never forget. You need this book.

My review copy was provided by the generous publishing people at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review.  Absolutely on the top of my list this year!!! Loved it.

The New Girl by Daniel Silva

The New Girl

I’m always excited about a new Daniel Silva novel. They come like clockwork each summer.  They are  all wonderful and so special. Having said that, I have to say that this new one, THE NEW GIRL, is absolutely brilliant; a masterpiece!

First of all I must comment on the stunning cover art. Kudos to those involved in producing it! It tells quite a story on its own.

The foreword of this novel is not to be missed! Please make sure to read it before you begin the book. Silva states that last August 2018, he began work on a novel about a crusading young Arab prince who wanted to modernize his religiously intolerant country and bring sweeping change to the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. He set aside that manuscript two months later when the model for that character, Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, was implicated in the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and columnist for Washington Post.   Reading this foreword made the hair stand straight up on my arms. 

THE NEW GIRL begins in Geneva at an elite private school.  Who is the new girl? She arrives at school shrouded in mystery, via a motorcade fit for a king.  She is thought to be the daughter of a wealthy businessman. However, we quickly discover she’s the only child of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Khalid bin Mohammed. Oh boy, you can feel the trouble brewing.   When the prince’s daughter is kidnapped he goes to the only person he feels can help help him: Gabriel Allon.  And it begins….

Moving from Switzerland to France to Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv to London to The Netherlands ,THE NEW GIRL, moves swiftly and often. In brief to-the-point chapters that have you sitting on the edge of your seat, Silva takes you on the ride of a lifetime. I usually have some idea of the outcome; not this time. Shocking.

We are dealing with news that everyone has been exposed to in this heart-thumping spy thriller.  That makes it even  more intriguing and intense.  In fact, there were times as I read this story when I wondered if Silva ever feared for his safety. Really. Yes, I know this is written for entertainment. But it’s so realistic. So very spot-on realistic.


Daniel Silva

Silva’s brought back some of our favorite characters: Sarah Bancroft is back; Christopher Keller is here; Ari Shamron, and of course Chiara and the twins. I feel like I’ve been visiting my old friends.

I have long been intrigued by Saudi Arabia. It’s an eerily mysterious country to me. Everything about it is misted over with a little something. Silva has managed to uncover some of the ambiguity surrounding the perimeter.  The light that’s shone on this country is not necessarily a good one…. but it is what it is.

I devoured THE NEW GIRL in record time. In fact, I may reread it again soon. Yes, it’s that good. My review copy arrived from the generous publishing people at Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review and a promise that I would NOT post before pub date on July 16. I absolutely believe this is Silva’s masterpiece; best yet!!!

We have copies of THE NEW GIRL on  sale at 20% off at Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida. We’d love to see you there.




The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys

New, from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner of THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, comes THE NICKEL BOYS, a novel based on the hellish Dozier School for Boys in Florida. This now notorious and horrific institution was a total moral failure in its time.  And I just discovered it only closed in 2011! Whitehead uses the heartbreaking story of two young boys to bring us  this tale of Jim Crow-era Florida.

Be prepared to be shocked. Because you will be. Be prepared to be moved to tears. You will be that too. Most of all, be prepared to remember Elwood and Turner forever.

In a letter written by Colson Whitehead that arrived with my review copy of THE NICKEL BOYS, Whitehead goes on to say that he first came upon a news report about the Dozier School for Boys in the summer of 2014. It was in the midst of the Ferguson protests. It was a story he had not heard before , and it was worth telling. I’m so glad he has done just that.

Colson Whitehead

Elwood is a black teen eagerly looking forward to attending the local colored college.  He never makes it through the gates. Where he does make it is to the Nickel Academy. There he meets and befriends Turner. Neither boy should be there.

” In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear “out back.”

I devoured this book. It’s small coming in at just over 200 slight pages. What it lacks in length it gains exponentially from  everything else! It is a devastating piece of literature.

“Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, THE NICKEL BOYS is a heartbreaking, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers!!!”

This book is going to be on every list this year and into next. Whitehead has done it again!  After THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD I could not help but wonder what his next offering would be.  Well, here it is.  And, I hear he’s deep into writing his next novel. Takes place in Harlem in the 60’s.

My review copy came to Copperfish Books from Doubleday Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House. We will have copies of THE NICKEL BOYS for sale beginning tomorrow and they will be discounted at 20% off. We’d love to see you!

This Is American Dirt! Only A Sneak Peek.

American Dirt

I am calling this post a sneak peek for a good reason. AMERICAN DIRT is a novel that will not be available until January 2020. I know, how frustrating for you….

I read a manuscript of AMERICAN DIRT by Jeanine

Jeanine Cummins
Credit Joe Kennedy

Cummins in January of this year. Yes, that long ago. I got lucky. Really lucky. Amy Einhorn, who is Flatiron Books, asked if I would read it. Yes, she actually did. I accepted it and put everything else aside even though this book was a year from printing. But it was Amy’s passion for this book that spurred me on. OMG! And now I am adding my passion to the mix.

I’m not writing a review at this point. I’m just gonna whet your appetites. The word is getting out, you see. Jeanine Cummins was recently signing copies of AMERICAN DIRT at Book Expo in NYC.  Our own Cathy Graham was seen at a cocktail party with Jeanine this past week.

Cathy Graham with Jeanine Cummins Book Expo 2019

This photo warms my heart to no end. Jeanine Cummins is poised for BIG stuff. I am predicting that AMERICAN DIRT is going to be HUGE.  The book is like a runaway train.  You can’t catch your breath. You can’t take your eyes from the pages. You can’t  control the beating of your own heart.

When I tell readers that the book is about a  woman who lives in Acapulco, Mexico and owns a bookstore, they smile. They like this. Then I mention her husband is a journalist. They have a young son. More smiling and now intrigue. Then I press the panic button and explain that these middle class people just living their safe lives are about to have everything blown to high heavens.

This novel is so timely. The beginning of this literary thriller is harrowing. And then Lydia and her son are forced into being migrants on the run. Forced to ride la bestia as their once normal lives are left behind them and they are running for their lives.

This AMAZING novel hits the nail on the head. It poses the question; what if this were you? What would you do?

I don’t even know how I took a breath while experiencing this novel. What I did know is that I wanted to talk about it with someone. So I had my husband read it next. Same reaction.

Book Expo 2019

AMERICAN DIRT is for everyone. No matter your political persuasion, your religious beliefs, your class, your ethnicity, or your sex. This magnificent novel is for you!!!

Stephen King is saying “an extraordinary piece of work.” Don Winslow is saying ” A GRAPES OF WRATH for our times.”

Goodreads is saying; ” AMERICAN DIRT will leave readers utterly changed. It is a page-turner; it is a literary achievement; it is filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for all times.” 

Now you can see why I feel so compelled to get the word out about AMERICAN DIRT and Jeanine Cummins. A force is coming. By the time this novel arrives in your hands it will already have become a phenomena. I promise you this. And I was one of the first to know. Cheers! And many thanks to Amy Einhorn for this opportunity.

The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

Sarah Blake

The Guest Book

Along comes a family saga of epic proportions, where emotions run wild, money speaks out loud, racism pushes to the forefront, and power is king. THE GUEST BOOK is an ambitious second novel by Sarah Blake who is the author of THE POSTMISTRESS.

It’s May, 1935. Kitty Milton is in the prime of her life.  She, quite simply, has everything any young woman could possibly desire.  She’s got wealth, a handsome and accomplished husband she loves, three healthy children,  and a bright future… What more could she want? But, as we know, everything can change in the blink of an eye.

When tragedy comes to live in the heart of Kitty Milton and her family, her husband Ogden is challenged to find a way to help bring Kitty back from the edge. So he buys her an island off the coast of Maine. Just a small one… This island becomes a main character in this novel. And I fell in love with it.

Sarah Blake

I love big family sagas. There is a lot of meat in this one.  So many secrets are buried just beneath  the surface. Blake does such a super job of keeping them just under wrap. Then easing them out so slowly, allowing us to percolate and speculate.  Sarah Blake was a good writer with POSTMISTRESS. She is a great author now with THE GUEST BOOK.  I so enjoyed the actual reading of this story. I found myself pausing, lying the book down,  allowing the reading to soak in. This is not a novel to “blow” through. This is one to savor.

Themes abound here. The Milton family is filthy rich and own much of the power in this country at the time.  On the surface their business practices seem above board. But are they? When a young Jewish man enters the picture in 1959 and begins working for the Miltons, he may be onto something. Something that is quite troublesome.  And then he falls for Joan, the daughter.  Do you think the Milton’s would ever admit a Jewish man inside their family?  Their business, sure. But, family?

The scenes on the island were entrancing.  Blake has an uncanny ability to draw you into her world.   Life on the island is slow.  This is the place where the Milton’s can be alone, or they can choose to be surrounded by friends and family. They all have a stake in this amazing part of their lives. The children grow up not ever knowing life without this haven that has become their oasis.

As the children become adults, marry and bring spouses and grandchildren to the island,  the family dynamic begins to change. The world is changing. Politics are changing, secrets are emerging, lives are lost, and just maybe the Island is losing its power. It’s certainly an expensive part of this family to sustain. In fact, too darn expensive. The new generation finds that the family money  that has been put in trust for this vacation spot has been all but stripped. And thus begins a big bone of contention amongst the family. To keep or not to keep?

Throughout all this is the memory of a young black man named Reg Pauling who came to visit the island one weekend years ago. He and his friend Len Levy were invited by a family member.  This visit completely changed the future of the family and the story. How can we ever be certain who we truly are?

Me showing off my review copy of THE GUEST BOOK at a Worthington Country Club this year.

I am proud to take this fine novel to my book lectures this season. It’s a real tour de force! My review copy was picked up at SIBA and  furnished by Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review. I am such a lucky reader! Yes, I loved it!  We put it high on the summer reading list for Critic’s Choice  in Naples. Psst! A big surprise is coming to Naples this coming season. Stay tuned.

THE GUEST BOOK by Sarah Blake will be available to purchase on Tuesday, May 7.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

We will have them at Copperfish and they’ll be discounted 20%. We can’t  wait to see you and show off this amazing book. Come on up!

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

Etaf Rum

A Woman Is No Man

Etaf Rum is a brave new voice to watch.  An Arab- American voice.  A WOMAN IS NO MAN is her first novel.  And it’s going to be a block-buster.  Not since THE KITE RUNNER have I read a novel that delves into the hidden lives of a culture. And this time we find horrific things are happening right here in  this country. In plain sight? Well, no. But close enough.

A WOMAN IS NO MAN tells the story of three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn.

Isra is a seventeen-year-old Palestinian girl living with her parents in Birzeit, Palestine,  who is married off to a young Palestinian man named Adam who takes her to America to live the dream.  But it’s really a nightmare.

Adam’s mother is Fareeda. She’s been living in Brooklyn for years after emigrating from  Palestine with her husband and children. She’s determined that Isra give Adam a son. No matter what.

Deya is Isra’s eldest daughter. Her story is so compelling I found myself  being held hostage to the page. I could not turn away. I  HAD to know what had happened.

There is a page in the very front of the book that is written by the author.  You can feel the fear as you read. Etaf Rum was scared for her life as she began writing this novel. Once you’ve read the book you will totally understand why. I am still reeling from this  heartfelt and terrifying story. Even though I know this story is fiction, I know of where it comes.  The very first  two sentences are: “When I started writing A WOMAN IS NO MAN, I was constantly swallowed by fear. Telling this story meant challenging many long-held beliefs  in my community and violating our code of silence.”

This has been the year of the woman. Woman are getting their voices.  I get this. But this voice is especially strong and meant to be heard. An Arab-American voice is needed in the bookstore. And here it is.

We have copies of this amazing new novel at Copperfish. They will go quickly. Come on into the store to pick up your copy and get 20% off.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

My review copy of A WOMAN IS NO MAN arrived from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. I LOVED it!