“Dollbaby,” by Laura Lane McNeal

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Dollbaby, Laura Lane McNeal’s debut novel, is a Southern gothic tale with the requisite decaying mansion, locked rooms, long-held secrets, and a sometimes eccentric, sometimes just plain crazy owner named Fannie. Almost-twelve-year-old Ibby Bell finds herself deposited at the door of her grandmother Fannie’s “Queen Anne monstrosity” in New Orleans after […]

“The Land Breakers,” by John Ehle

Reviewed by Donna Meredith John Ehle’s The Land Breakers transports readers to the mountains of North Carolina in 1779, when settlers first breach the virgin forests and wrestle a primitive life from the land. More completely and accurately than any other author, Ehle conveys the struggle involved in settling this rugged territory by immersing us […]

“The Cottoncrest Curse,” by Michael H. Rubin

Reviewed by Donna Meredith It’s the history woven into the tale that grabbed me most in Michael H. Rubin’s debut novel, The Cottoncrest Curse. Thoroughly researched, this historical thriller captures the high drama of the Civil Rights Era’s Freedom Riders and Knights of the White Camellia and offers authentic details concerning the harvesting of sugarcane […]

“The Wishing Tide,” by Barbara Davis

Reviewed by Donna Meredith In Barbara Davis’s haunting novel, The Wishing Tide, three people allow their troubled pasts to define the present, stripping them of any chance of happiness. Expertly plotted yet character-driven, this lovely book is highly recommended to those who enjoy fine Southern fiction like the novels of Anne Rivers Siddons and Cassandra […]

“Each Shining Hour,” by Jeff High

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Jeff High delivers another heart-warming novel in Each Shining Hour, the sequel to More Things in Heaven and Earth, further exploring life in a small town in Tennessee. While the clever repartee between Dr. Luke Bradford and Watervalley’s citizens adds humor to the story, the serious scenes are the ones you’ll […]

“The Story Keeper,” by Lisa Wingate

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Escaping the past proves more difficult than New York editor Jen Gibbs thinks in The Story Keeper, Lisa Wingate’s uplifting new novel about a woman’s journey to find a manuscript, and along the way, to reclaim the missing parts of her soul. Jen has barely begun her new job at Vida […]

“Hiding Gladys,” by Lee Mims

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Hiding Gladys, a Cleo Cooper mystery by Lee Mims, reads easily, the pages gliding by in quick succession. Interesting facts about geology weave their way through this debut novel since Cleo is a field geologist. So was the author, lending authenticity to the science behind this entertaining story. But Mims never […]

“Lady of the House,” by Lynn Braxton

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Lynn Braxton’s debut novel, Lady of the House, is a sweeping period romance certain to sweep you off your feet. The story is set in the early 1800s in Charleston, South Carolina, and New Orleans—both cities known for their history, southern culture, and class consciousness. Braxton, the penname of Panhandle resident […]