“Chita: A Memory of Last Island,” by Lafcadio Hearn (edited by Delia LaBarre)

Reviewed by Adele Annesi The nineteenth-century novella Chita: A Memory of Last Island, by Lafcadio Hearn, blends fact with fiction in a lavishly haunting tale of a Louisiana isle whose serene beauty is destroyed, leaving a legacy of sorrow, joy, and warning. The real L’Île Dernière (“Last Island”) is gone, but her story remains. Set […]

January Read of the Month: “The Moonshiner’s Daughter,” by Donna Everhart

Reviewed by Philip K. Jason It’s 1960 in Wilke’s County, North Carolina and sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser has a problem. In fact, she has several problems. One is an awkward and demeaning relationship with her father. He seems remote and silently critical. Jessie has asked him over and over to explain the death of her mother, […]

“Catacombs,” by Mary Anna Evans

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Below the surface in Oklahoma City, a vast system of catacombs exists where a community of Chinese people once lived underground in the early twentieth century. These catacombs are not fiction, though the book Catacombs (Poisoned Pen, 2019) is. Mary Anna Evans, the author of Catacombs, explains, “The parts of […]

“Never Have I Ever,” by Joshilyn Jackson

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro With her debut novel some fourteen years ago, Joshilyn Jackson established herself as a phenomenal author. In that debut, gods in Alabama (Warner Books, 2005), pathos, suspense, and humor were well balanced in a story about a young woman gone north, only to return home to Alabama to confront the […]

December Read of the Month: “The Alexandria You Are Losing,” by Yasser El-Sayed

Reviewed by David Madsen Yasser El-Sayed, the author of this unique collection of stories, is well traveled, with a stack of hometowns in his carry-on, which he pulls out with nuance, humor and psychological precision, as he explores the landscapes and emotional terrain of immigrants and emigrants, travelers and settlers. We humans are a seeking […]

“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 […]

November Read of the Month: “The Winter Sisters,” by Tim Westover

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Tim Westover’s newest book, The Winter Sisters (QW Publishers, 2019), is a mesmerizing gem of a novel. It’s a hard book to classify, though. The time frame makes it a historical novel, while the relationship between two of its main characters develops into an unusual love story. Yet the magical […]