When I found out that the author resides in an area where I grew up, I decided to research her a bit. A former Nurse Practitioner, she began writing fiction in her 50's. Her fiction explores medical ethics, political activism and family life.
A founding member of the Rosenberg Fund for Children, her husband, Robert Meeropol, was the youngest son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were executed in 1953, accused and convicted of running a spy ring to help the Soviet Union make an atomic bomb. I was more than a little shocked making this connection but, I do recall seeing this sad story on news a few years ago.
2011 - Red Hen Press
In House Arrest, Emily Klein is a home visit nurse who is given a new pregnant client, Pippa Glenning. Pippa is on home confinement until the trial resulting from her young daughter's death in a cult-like ritual. If Pippa plays by the rules she may be allowed to keep this baby, and just be on parole for 3 years after the baby is born. Pippa, however, is torn and feels she must find a way to participate in an upcoming cult Solstice ceremony which means ignoring her "house arrest".
House Arrest was a short, debut novel which made me feel sad at times for Pippa and the circumstances that lead to her daughter's death and her subsequent home confinement. Initially, I was surprised by how quickly Emily and Pippa began to develop a concern for each other but, Emily's family circumstances do make this easier to understand. The novel had several other characters that were introduced but not in too much detail. I liked that the novel reflected the names of actual places that I am well familiar with in that the author is from the area where I grew up. Note - A family cat ends up dead in this story which bothered me.
Rating - 4/5 stars
2017 - Red Hen Press
Kinship of Clover is a novel which reintroduces a few of the characters from House Arrest. I actually read this book first without realizing it and it worked out just fine for me.
Jeremy and Tim are twins from an unconventional family. Their parents were sentenced to prison for criminal negligence which resulted from the deaths of 2 young children who froze to death in a park in 2005. When Jeremy was a 9 year old child he claimed to have felt plants wrap themselves around him and borrow into his skin during a greenhouse funeral ceremony. Now, a Botany major at the University of Massachusetts, Jeremy is upset about the variety of plants that are becoming extinct because of ecological changes. When his passion for endangered species at college is perceived to be a little over the top, college officials, concerned for his well-being take action and place him on leave, reuniting him with his twin brother in Brooklyn. But, in Brooklyn Jeremey's passion for the environment is still front and center. He becomes involved with some eco-terrorists that just might not have his best interest in mind.
In this novel a few new family members are introduced which include, Flo, grandmother and aging political activist who is dealing with dementia. Zoe, Flo's granddaughter, who has spina bifida, Tian, the cultish leader whose children froze to death in 2005.
This book addressed some tough issues, the environment, trauma, Alzheimer's and the importance of finding ones place in life. Like House Arrest, I loved the references to familiar places as well as the political and social justice issues covered. I felt this book was fairly well written, although a bit slow at times, but, ultimately what started out as somewhat sad story made me feel hopeful by the end.
I plan to read the author's other book, On Hurricane Island (2015), touted as a "fast-paced political thriller" soon.
Rating - 4/5 stars