“Dark Lady,” by Charlene Ball

Reviewed by Joshua S. Fullman Historians have long attempted to discover the identity of Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady,” the mysterious figure haunting many of his latter sonnets. Identified by A.L. Rowse in 1973 as the most likely contender,[1] Emilia Bassano Lanyer might possibly have served as the poet’s muse and obsessive love interest, and she becomes […]

“Undercurrents,” by Mary Anna Evans

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Author Mary Anna Evans never disappoints. That’s rare for authors of a long-running mystery series because the confines of the genre, compounded with the repetition of characters, often leads to staleness. But Evans’s Faye Longchamp archaeological mystery series is emphatically not stale. Evans proves as much in her eleventh novel […]

September Read of the Month: “When Nighttime Shadows Fall,” by Diane Michael Cantor

Reviewed by Brandy Renee McCann  As a social scientist and native to southern Appalachia, I picked up Diane Michael Cantor’s novel, When Nighttime Shadows Fall (University of South Carolina Press, 2017), with interest. Similar to the characters in the novel, in 1976 my eighteen-year-old mother was pregnant with me. My folks were married at the time […]

“Reading the Coffee Grounds and Other Stories,” by Niles Reddick

Reviewed by Susan Cushman  As I review Pulitzer-nominee Niles Reddick’s latest short story collection, Reading the Coffee Grounds and Other Stories, I am also taking a stab at working in this genre for the first time myself. As a novelist, memoirist, essayist, and anthology editor, I’m new to writing short stories. I’m in awe of […]

“Snakehunter” and “Last Mountain Dancer,” by Chuck Kinder

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Snakehunter and Last Mountain Dancer: Hard-Earned Lessons in Love, Loss, and Honky-Tonk Outlaw Life, by Chuck Kinder, offer a glimpse into the wide-ranging styles mastered by one of West Virginia’s most talented authors. Each of his four books is unique and wholly original in approach. His writing eschews the formulaic, the […]

“All the Lovely Children,” by Andrew Nance

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Andrew Nance does two very difficult things in his new book, All the Lovely Children (Red Adept, 2018), and he does both exceptionally well. First, Nance infuses the often-formulaic serial killer subgenre with fresh, new energy by providing innovative twists, a lush setting that juxtaposes beauty and horror, and sharp, […]

August Read of the Month: “To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts,” by Caitlin Hamilton Summie

Reviewed by Adele Annesi It’s been said we can’t go home again, but home is a stubborn traveler that tags along in our prickliest family and friends, the people we are and become, the places that fill the heart as no one person can. To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts, by Caitlin Hamilton Summie, is […]

“Paradise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald,” by David S. Brown

Reviewed by James Baresel The location in which he placed the first meeting of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Fay is unlikely to be among the best remembers features of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel.  Louisville can seem a random setting for their introduction to each other, chosen for its proximity to the Midwest which was home […]