Still more books that never hit my radar until now!
A Gracious Plenty; Sheri Reynolds
enjoyed LOVED Rapture of Canaan by this author and Firefly Cloak was good too, but somehow missed this one.
(AMAZON)......Badly burned in a household accident when she was a child, Finch Nobles grows into a courageous and feisty loner who eschews the pity of her hometown and discovers that she can hear the voices of the people buried in her father's cemetery. Finally, when she speaks to them, they answer, telling their stories in a remarkable chorus of regrets, expla-nations, and insights. A Gracious Plenty is like an extraordinary amalgam of Steinbeck and Faulkner, Spoon River Anthology and Our Town. It is a reading experience that you will not soon forget.
Slammerkin; Emma Donoghue
AMAZON.....Donoghue shows her mastery of eighteenth-century England and epic storytelling in this first novel about a young woman named Mary Saunders, who was born poor and destined to remain so. Taking as her premise the true crimes of the real-life Mary Saunders, Donoghue paints a colorful and complex life led amid the dirt and filth of lower-class London streets. While her mother sews dull-looking quilts, Mary spies the lewd women dressed in bright, vibrant colors that work the streets for their bread and butter. Determined not to be a maid or a seamstress, Mary yearns for a better and easier life. Too young to learn other trades, too poor and uneducated to be a governess, but just the right age (14) to start in the oldest profession, Mary takes to the streets in order to survive. This serious but suspenseful and even entertaining novel examines and juxtaposes the roles, responsibilities, and limitations of women without means, showing the intricate relationships between women of limited power. What is most amazing is Donoghue's capacity for tackling weighty issues (prostitution, crime, and slavery) while avoiding didacticism.
Kaaterskill Falls; Allegra Goodman
AMAZON.....Kaaterskill Falls is a small town in upstate New York, summer home to Orthodox Jews who come from their tightly knit community in New York City carrying family memories and long friendships. They also carry a stifling adherence to the Jewish religion and obedience to Rav Elijah Kirshner, who is near the end of his life and struggling to reconcile his feelings for his two sons. The women of the community are bound by traditions that dictate their dress, manners, and preoccupations. Elizabeth Shulman, driven by ambitions beyond raising five daughters, opens a store with the Rav's approval and later runs afoul of the son who succeeds him when she violates a tradition. The men are not immune from the restrictive environment. Isaac Shulman yearns for a more learned place in the religious community. Jeremy, the Rav's scholarly but rebellious son, is haunted by his father's disapproval. Goodman, author of the best-selling short story collection The Family Markowitz (1996), renders a finely drawn portrait of an insulated community in this debut novel.
Has anyone read these? What are your thoughts?