“Secrets of the Devil Vine,” by Faith Kaiser

Reviewed by Heather Newcomb Secrets of the Devil Vine is a homecoming narrative, but the home here is built on greed, secrets and abuse. The main character, Abigail Stewart—whose keen point of view drives the plot—returns home to coastal Alabama to seek answers to difficult questions from her childhood. Abby’s search takes readers on a […]

“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 […]

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Colleen D. Scott, Author of “Everybody Needs a Bridge”

AM:  Thanks for doing this interview, Colleen.  Your first novel is Everybody Needs a Bridge, which you describe as a “work of fiction inspired by actual events.” It follows the story of Erin, a young girl in Alabama who’s growing up roughly a generation after the Civil Rights Movement. You might call it a bildungsroman […]

September Read of the Month: “The Headmaster’s Darlings,” by Katherine Clark

Reviewed by Ashley D. Black Most people who are raised in a small, Southern town would agree that preserving local traditions is of the utmost importance to its residents. At times, however, maintaining a town’s customs can prevent the populace from evolving with the rest of the country both politically and culturally. Those who challenge […]

“House of Memory,” by Carolyn Haines

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Something profoundly sinister is on the prowl in central Alabama. It’s the time of the Jazz Age, a spirited respite between national disasters, but what lurks and stalks young women will not be tamed by exuberant dancing or bathtub gin. Whether the evil is spectral or human—or both—is just one […]

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Amber D. Tran, Author of “Moon River”

AM: So glad for the opportunity to talk to you about your debut novel, Moon River. Before we get into the book, I want to ask about your background.  I noticed you’re a graduate of West Virginia University.  I studied English for my master’s at WVU and graduated from law school at WVU.  Did you […]

“The Myth of Water,” by Jeanie Thompson

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Award-winning writer Jeanie Thompson is a brave, bold poet. In The Myth of Water (University of Alabama Press 2016), she presents a remarkable and evocative series of thirty-four poems to tell a deeply personal story of the iconic Helen Keller. And if the concept of historical persona poems wasn’t daring […]

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Katherine Clark, Author of The Harvard Bride and The Ex-Suicide

AM:  I’m only now reading The Harvard Bride, which I somehow missed upon its release, and now we’re on the verge of the publication of The Ex-Suicide.  I’d like to talk to you about both books. KC: Don’t forget The Headmaster’s Darlings and All the Governor’s Men, the first two novels in the Mountain Brook […]