“Bitten: My Unexpected Love Affair with Florida,” by Andrew Furman

Reviewed by Phil Jason This review originally appeared in Florida Weekly. Reprinted with permission. Florida is blessed with writers devoted to its natural splendors and to exploring the relationship between human endeavor, the environment all creatures share, and the severely threatened nonhuman creatures. I’ve had the privilege over the years to read and write about […]

“Whisper’s Edge,” by LuAnn McLane

Reviewed by Philip K. Jason Ms. McLane’s fourth entry in her popular “Cricket Creek” series (and her eighteenth title overall) continues to explore the charm of a friendly Kentucky riverfront town in the midst of change. While business ventures can enhance the town, they can also undermine its caring, relaxed, neighborly character. In this installment, […]

June Read of the Month: “The Little Way of Ruthie Leming,” by Rod Dreher

Reviewed by Philip K. Jason This soulful biography has the makings of an American classic. It has attributes that are likely to put it on all kinds of reading lists: family dynamics, coping with illness, grieving, religious questioning, small town life, and regional culture to name a handful. Its subtitle pushes some of these buttons: […]

April Read of the Month: “March with Me,” by Rosalie T. Turner

Reviewed by Philip K. Jason This novel portrays the outer and inner worlds of two young women growing up in Birmingham, Alabama when it became the flashpoint of the Civil Rights Movement. The chapters contain subsections that alternate the consciousnesses of Letitia and Martha Ann, one black, one white, as they process the momentous changes […]

January Read of the Month: “A Land More Kind Than Home,” by Wiley Cash

  Reviewed by Philip K. Jason Set in rural Madison County, North Carolina in the mid-1980s, this quietly gorgeous novel is most remarkable for its exquisitely rendered sense of place. Mr. Cash not only gives us every kind of sensory news about the community in which he locates his story, but he also paints the […]

Philip K. Jason Interviews Amy Hill Hearth

PJ: Tell me a bit about your personal experiences with Naples. AHH:  My husband grew up in Naples. He is a 1968 graduate of Naples Senior High School. In fact, the character “Judd” in my novel is based loosely on my husband, Blair Hearth, when Blair was 12 years old. The lead character, Jackie, was inspired by my late mother-in-law. The […]

“Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society,” by Amy Hill Hearth

Reviewed by Phil Jason This review also appears in Florida Weekly. One can feel the immense joy of Amy Hill Hearth’s engagement in her first novel. It radiates through every scene and through every page. Sometimes, an exceptional writer finds an exceptional premise, and the result is a truly exceptional book. Such is the case with […]

September Read of the Month: “Keowee Valley,” by Katherine Scott Crawford

Reviewed by Philip K. Jason An independent woman; a lush frontier environment; the approach of war; and a romance of opposites are only some of the ingredients in Ms. Crawford’s ambitious first novel. Combining a style that is frequently lyrical, abundant historical research that has been well-absorbed and woven into the fiction with authority, and […]