“Their Houses,” by Meredith Sue Willis

Reviewed by Donna Meredith The richly drawn characters in Meredith Sue Willis’s latest novel, Their Houses, are stumbling about in an effort to meet one of the most basic needs Maslow identifies in his famous hierarchy, a need which must be met before people can move on to find love, esteem, and self actualization. They […]

“Don’t Tell ’em You’re Cold: A Memoir of Poverty and Resilience,” by Katherine P. Manley

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Many times while growing up, Kathy Manley experienced the shame of poverty. Shame that kept her from inviting friends to the family’s shabby house filled with dumpster-salvaged furniture. Shame when a teacher took up a collection from classmates so Kathy could attend a football game. The real shame, however, is that […]

“Blood Creek,” by Kimberly Collins

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Kimberly Collins deftly plants the vicious Paint-Creek/Cabin Creek coal wars at the heart of the first installment in her Mingo Chronicles historical series. The novel is titled Blood Creek (Blue Mingo Press, 2019). While the West Virginia and Kentucky mine wars have been the focus of both fiction and nonfiction, Collins […]

“A Pure Heart,” by Rajia Hassib

Reviewed by Donna Meredith In Rajia Hassib’s A Pure Heart (Viking, 2019), characters present different versions of themselves, depending on where they are and whom they are with—as we all do. The result is multi-faceted characters with secrets kept even from closest friends and family. Hassib’s novel shines as one of the finest explorations of […]

July Read of the Month: “Privilege,” by Claire Matturro

Reviewed by Donna Meredith On the first page of Claire Matturro’s steamy mystery Privilege, 18-year-old Ruby asks criminal defense attorney Gardner Randolph if she can trust him. He leers at Ruby’s chest and already readers want to sound the warning: “No! Don’t trust him!” But she is young, homeless, in trouble with the law and […]

“You and I and Someone Else,” by Anna Schachner

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Perceptive insights and clever word plays highlight Anna Schachner’s debut novel You and I and Someone Else. Set in North Carolina, the story centers on several families coping with loss: a young wife’s loss of her husband, a woman who suffers a late-term miscarriage, a couple who lose a six-year-old son, […]

Donna Meredith Interviews Allen Mendenhall, Editor of “Writers on Writing”

DM:  Thanks for taking time from your very busy life to be interviewed. You are an associate dean at Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, executive director of the Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty, and editor of Southern Literary Review. You blog at The Literary Lawyer. Your books include Literature and Liberty (2014), Oliver […]

“Unsheltered,” by Barbara Kingsolver

Reviewed by Donna Meredith In her latest novel, Unsheltered (Harper Collins, 2018), Barbara Kingsolver pokes a sharp pen deep into the nest of the American dream, stirring up a mound of undelivered promises and discontented characters who scurry about like angry ants. Perhaps, as some critics say, the novel’s characters serve too much as mouthpieces […]