“Dreams of Arcadia” by Brian Porter

In Dreams of Arcadia (Legacy Book Press 2023), Brian Porter transports readers inside the world of a rural veterinarian with spectacular descriptions of the Texas countryside and riveting details concerning the care of cattle and other animals. But the novel is also the story of Nate Holub’s family and the uncovering of long-held secrets. Think […]

“How We Came To Be,” by Johnnie Bernhard

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Forget the Father Knows Best clichés of the 1950s—they are so yesterday. Set in contemporary Houston and Austin, How We Came To Be (Texas Review Press, 2018) is a witty, insightful study of the forging of a twenty-first century family. A finalist in the 2017 International Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, the novel was […]

“Migratory Animals,” by Mary Helen Specht

Reviewed by Elizabeth Harris Migratory Animals is an ambitious, contemporary-feeling novel that measures, for me, the difference between Now in Southern writing and a classic Then—even as issues from Then still devil our shared lives. It’s a Then of William Faulkner, Katherine Anne Porter, Ralph Ellison, William Goyen, and those of their early-to-mid-twentieth-century characters who […]

“The Son,” by Philipp Meyer

Reviewed by Miles Smith IV Texans, and Americans at large, sense that there was, at some time, a dark, bloody land that destroyed and created cultures, people, places, and even ideas. Texans know this land as their Lone Star State. But to many Texans and many southerners this brutal place depicted so viscerally in Philip […]

“The Promise,” by Ann Weisgarber

Reviewed by JoAn Watson Martin Ann Weisgarber grew up in a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, and now lives in Sugar Land, Texas, near Houston and Galveston. Her fiction is marked by these settings and her familiarity with them is an important aspect of her work. A writer and an historian, she penned much of The […]

JoAn W. Martin

After teaching in Baytown schools in Texas for 22 years, JoAn W. Martin retired but continued as a reading and writing consultant for Houston area schools. She also served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Houston Clear Lake and Lee College. She reviews books for The Baytown Sun, The Galveston Daily News, the […]