Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Books this Week

Sacred Hearts; Sarah Dunant

Random House; July 14, 2009 (thank you for my review copy Random House and S/A)
From Publishers WeeklyStarred Review. Dunant (The Birth of Venus) revisits 16th-century Italy, where the convents are filled with the daughters of noblemen who are unable or unwilling to pay a dowry to marry them off. The Santa Caterina convent's newest novice, Serafina, is miserable, having been shunted off by her father to separate her from a forbidden romance. She also has a singing voice that will be the glory of the convent and—more importantly to some—a substantial bonus for the convent's coffers. The convent's apothecary, Suora Zuana, strikes up a friendship with Serafina, enlisting her as an assistant in the convent dispensary and herb garden, but despite Zuana's attempts to help the girl adjust, Serafina remains focused on escaping. Serafina's constant struggle and her faith (of a type different from that common to convents) challenge Zuana's worldview and the political structure of Santa Caterina. A cast of complex characters breathe new life into the classic star-crossed lovers trope while affording readers a look at a facet of Renaissance life beyond the far more common viscounts and courtesans. Dunant's an accomplished storyteller, and this is a rich and rewarding novel.
In the Heart of the Canyon; Elisabeth Hyde
Knopf; July 14, 2009
(thank you Knopf and S/A)
Amazon.com ReviewBook DescriptionFrom the author of The Abortionist’s Daughter, a gripping new novel about a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon that changes the lives of everyone on board.
Meet Peter, twenty-seven, single, and looking for a quick hookup; Evelyn, a fifty-year-old Harvard professor; and Ruth and Lloyd, river veterans in their seventies. There’s Mitchell, an overeager history buff with no qualms about unstaging the guides with his knowledge. There’s Jill from Salt Lake City, wanting desperately to spark some sense of adventure in her staid Mormon family; and seventeen-year-old Amy, so woefully overweight that she can barely fit into a pup tent, let alone into a life jacket.
Guiding them all is JT Maroney, who loves the river with all his heart and who, having made 124 previous trips down the Colorado, thinks he has seen everything. But on their first night, a stray dog wanders into their campsite, upsetting the tentative equilibrium of this makeshift family. Over the next thirteen days, as various decisions are second-guessed and sometimes regretted, both passengers and guides find that sometimes the most daunting adventures on a Colorado River trip have nothing to do with white-water rapids, and everything to do with reconfiguring the rocky canyons of the heart.

I can't wait to read both of these soon; they look wonderful.


  1. Wow, you got two great looking books! I hope you enjoy them both.

  2. I got the Dunant book, too. It looks fabulous. The Hyde book looks good too.

  3. In the Heart of the Canyon looks fantastic. My family rafted through the Grand Canyon as my college graduation present and it was amazing. I will definitely have to get my hands on this one.

    I've heard great things about Sacred Hearts as well and since I have that one here to review myself, I am glad of it. :-)

  4. I can't wait to get to Sacred Hearts as well. I'd not heard of In the Heart of the Canyon though and it sounds quite good.

  5. I am such a huge fan of Sarah Dunant and I have this new book on my wishlist. :) Thanks for visiting my blog. I like your blog, too. What a great pic you have up there on the header.


    K. Harrington

  6. This is the first I've heard of In the Heart of the Canyon. It looks very good.

  7. I'm really looking forward to reading Sacred Heart. I really enjoyed the book I read by her previously.

  8. Sacred Hearts looks good and I enjoyed Abortionist's Daughter and will have to keep my eye out for this one.

  9. I just finished Sacred Hearts and thought it was a wonderful read. There was so much about convent life that I didn't know, and this book shed a lot of light on a lot of different aspects. I hope you enjoy it too!


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