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- Book provided by the publicist
About HOW TO LOVE THE EMPTY AIR
Vulnerable, beautiful and ultimately life-affirming, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s work reaches new heights in her revelatory seventh collection of poetry. Continuing in her tradition of engaging autobiographical work, How to Love the Empty Air explores what happens when the impossible becomes real―for better and for worse. Aptowicz’s journey to find happiness and home in her ever-shifting world sees her struggling in cities throughout America. When her luck changes―in love and in life―she can’t help but “tell the sun / tell the fields / tell the huge Texas sky…. / tell myself again and again until I believe it.” However, the upward trajectory of this new life is rocked by the sudden death of the poet’s mother. In the year that follows, Aptowicz battles the silencing power of grief with intimate poems burnished by loss and a hard-won humor, capturing the dance that all newly grieving must do between everyday living and the desire “to elope with this grief, / who is not your enemy, / this grief who maybe now is your best friend. / This grief, who is your husband, / the thing you curl into every night, / falling asleep in its arms…” As in her award-winning The Year of No Mistakes, Aptowicz counts her losses and her blessings, knowing how despite it all, life “ripples boundless, like electricity, like joy / like… laughter, irresistible and bright, / an impossible thing to contain.”Buylinks:
A poem from HOW TO LOVE THE EMPTY AIR
gentle of things. O, Laughter, Grief sees
itself as a knife, carving out what needs
to be seen. See yourself as an ice skater,
the knives on your feet. Sometimes the pain
bursts out of me like a flock of starlings.
My throat releases everything but you.
Laughter, be the slyest magician. Make me
think it’s easy work: this levitation.
I’ll willingly step into the box, if you’d just
cut me in half, spin my parts around,
then make me whole again.
Praise for HOW TO LOVE THE EMPTY AIR
“Grief is one of the most impossible things to put words to…Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz does the impossible.”
—Sarah Kay, author of No Matter the Wreckage
“Aptowicz is something of a legend in NYC’s slam poetry scene. She is lively thoughtful, and approachable, looking to engage the audience with her work and deeply committed to the community that art and slam poetry can create.”
—Jo Reed, NEA
—Hanif Abdurraqib, author of They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us
US GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED
Today it is my pleasure to shine the Bookfan spotlight on Have You Met Nora? by Nicole Blades.
Kensington; November 2017; $15.00; Trade Paperback
Description: (Spotlight content provided by the publicist)
She’s blossomed from wealthy surgeon’s beautiful daughter to elegant socialite to being the top fashion stylist in the country. And Nora Mackenzie is only days away from marrying into one of New York’s richest, most powerful families. But her fairy tale rise is rooted in an incredible deception—one scandal away from turning her perfect world to ashes . . .
What no one knows is that Nora is the biracial daughter of a Caribbean woman and a long-gone white father. Adopted—and abused—by her mother’s employer, then sent to an exclusive boarding school to buy her silence, Nora found that “passing” as a white woman could give her everything she never had. Every golden opportunity she seized and every deception she worked kept that powerless, forgotten girl forever in the past.
Now, an ex-classmate who Nora betrayed many years ago has returned to her life to even the score. She’s a woman who won’t be bought off, reasoned against, or pleaded with. Her machinations are turning Nora’s privilege into one gilded trap after another. Running out of choices, Nora must decide how far she will go to protect a lie or give up and finally face the truth.
“…stunning, riveting, and positively unpredictable. This is a deft and searing commentary on identity and race. Nicole Blades has written a book that feels effortless to read and yet pulls no punches, offering a point of view that is piercing and uncompromising. You will be thinking about this book long after it’s over.” —Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do and Forever Interrupted
About the author:
Nicole Blades launched her journalism career working at Essence magazine, co-founded the online magazine SheNetworks and worked as an editor at ESPN and Women’s Health. Her essays have been featured in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, MarieClaire.com, WashingtonPost.com, Health, SELF, and Buzzfeed. Blades can be heard co-hosting her new podcast, “Hey, Sis!,” and lives in Connecticut with her husband and their son. Here is her most recent piece in The New York Times: Help! It’s Wear Your Teacher’s Favorite Color Day.
Description: Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.
But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?
Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life. (publisher)
My take: Paul is a confident and successful man. He has life figured out and knows he deserves all he has, and more. He’s planned a weekend away with his wife, Mia. She needs a nice getaway – she’s been sick lately with a mystery illness that countless doctors haven’t been able to figure out. He’s certain this vacation is exactly what she needs. It will all start with the best day ever. But what happens when Paul’s plan doesn’t go the way he intends? Kaira Rouda’s novel takes the reader inside the mind of Paul. It’s creepy and disturbing and yet I couldn’t stop reading. I had an idea where everything was heading – and I was right. It was a departure from my usual reads and I enjoyed it. I loved discovering the significance of the eye-catching cover as well. Yes, a creepy good afternoon of reading about someone’s best day ever.
Check out my Spotlight post for more information about BEST DAY EVER
MARK EDWARDS writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people and is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell and Linwood Barclay.
His first solo novel, The Magpies (2013), reached the No.1 spot on Amazon UK and has sold 300,000 copies to date.
Mark grew up on the south coast of England and starting writing in his twenties while working in a number of dead-end jobs. He lived in Tokyo for a year before returning to the UK and starting a career in marketing. He now writes full-time and lives in the West Midlands, England, with his wife, their three children and a ginger cat, Billie, who was named after an actress from Doctor Who.
Praise for The Lucky Ones:
“A terrific, tense read with a great twist.” —Sarah Lotz, author of THE THREE
Giveaway ends on August 3, 2017
Description: You’re the Best is a thank-you note to our female friends, our Satellite Sisters, the women we call when the best thing in our life happens – or the worst. Incorporating voices from 15 to 60, these essays, letters, lists, and texts illustrate – with plenty of the Satellite Sisters’ trademark humor and empathy – how we rely on our friends to get us up, get us going, get us through, and, most importantly, make us laugh.
The Satellite Sisters are Julie, Liz, Sheila, Monica, and Lian Dolan, five real sisters who first won national acclaim with their radio show, initially weekly on public radio and then daily on ABC Radio. Today, they connect with a podcast, a blog, books, personal appearances, and social media. (back of the book)
My take: I discovered The Satellite Sisters when they were on ABC Radio and became an instant fan. I have six sisters and could relate to these five sisters like no one else. They made me laugh out loud and sometimes tear up as they shared their stories and experiences. Now I listen to their podcasts (via Stitcher) twice each week.
You’re the Best is filled with short essays and shorter (mostly) humorous pieces about friendship that had me nodding in agreement or laughing that laugh that makes people ask “what are you reading?” I thought it a great idea to have the next generation of Satellite Sisters (Dolan nieces, daughters and daughters-in-law) add their two-cents. Themes include Life, Love, Family, Play, and Change.
I enjoyed You’re the Best and think it would make a great gift this holiday season for sisters who are more like friends and friends who are more like sisters. Recommended.
A mesmerizing biography of the brilliant and eccentric medical innovator who revolutionized American surgery and founded the country’s most famous museum of medical oddities
Imagine undergoing an operation without anesthesia performed by a surgeon who refuses to sterilize his tools—or even wash his hands. This was the world of medicine when Thomas Dent Mütter began his trailblazing career as a plastic surgeon in Philadelphia during the middle of the nineteenth century.
Although he died at just forty-eight, Mütter was an audacious medical innovator who pioneered the use of ether as anesthesia, the sterilization of surgical tools, and a compassion-based vision for helping the severely deformed, which clashed spectacularly with the sentiments of his time.
Brilliant, outspoken, and brazenly handsome, Mütter was flamboyant in every aspect of his life. He wore pink silk suits to perform surgery, added an umlaut to his last name just because he could, and amassed an immense collection of medical oddities that would later form the basis of Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum.
Award-winning writer Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz vividly chronicles how Mütter’s efforts helped establish Philadelphia as a global mecca for medical innovation—despite intense resistance from his numerous rivals. (Foremost among them: Charles D. Meigs, an influential obstetrician who loathed Mütter’s “overly” modern medical opinions.) In the narrative spirit of The Devil in the White City, Dr. Mütter’s Marvels interweaves an eye-opening portrait of nineteenth-century medicine with the riveting biography of a man once described as the “P. T. Barnum of the surgery room.”
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Praise for Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
“In her deftly crafted narrative, the author provides an absorbing account of the charismatic surgeon’s life and career as well as a vivid look at the medical practices and prejudices of his time. Aptowicz draws nicely on Mütter’s speeches and lectures to reveal the depth of his empathetic philosophies and humanist approach.” – Kirkus Starred Review“If you aren’t familiar with Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, then you are doing a serious disservice to your sensibilities.” – Hothouse Magazine“Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is a dizzying dervish of a poet, an astounding talent, a deft lyricist whose patented take on this dopey world is dazzling in its originality. Everything she encounters is fair game, and she jolts us into unexpected, delightful recognition.” – Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzle
Synopsis: Sometimes you just need to get away….
Marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt is counting down the days to summer, eager to reconnect with her workaholic husband at their cozy rental cottage in the Hamptons. But soon a mysterious crisis at Dave’s work ruins their getaway plans. Paige is still figuring out how to handle the unexplained chill in her marriage when her troubled sister suddenly returns after a two-decade silence. Now, instead of enjoying the lazy summer days along the ocean, Paige is navigating the rocky waters of a forgotten bond with her sister in the sweltering city heat.
As she attempts to dig deeper into Dave’s work troubles and some long-held family secrets, Paige is shocked to discover how little she knows about the people closest to her. This summer, the self-proclaimed relationship expert will grapple with her biggest challenge yet: Is it worth risking your most precious relationships in order to find yourself? (publisher)
My take: I love reading about family dynamics and marriage. I think L. Alison Heller did a great job with both and found myself relating to a few things. All of the characters are interesting and real. When I say that I mean I know people who are similar. They are believable.
The story wasn’t predictable and I enjoyed where she took her characters as they grappled with small and large issues. I wasn’t sure what impact their actions/decisions would have which, along with Heller’s engaging style, kept me reading almost nonstop.
The Never Never Sisters is a novel about love, truth, and trust between family members, spouses, and new friends. I enjoyed it and recommend you add it to your summer reading list. I’ll be adding the author’s first novel The Love Wars to my list.
**NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**
THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY
The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II
Touchstone March 11, 2014 Trade Paperback 9781451617535
THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY was hailed by top media outlets as “fascinating” and “a phenomenal story” when it was first published earlier this year. It hit The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times Best Seller lists, made Amazon’s Top 100 Best Books of 2013 and is currently nominated for the Goodreads Choice, Best Book of 2013 in History and Biography.
Author and journalist Denise Kiernan also received high praise for her “cinematic vividness” and “marvelous” reporting. She appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, PBS News Hour, MSNBC Morning Joe, and National Public Radio.
AT THE HEIGHT OF WORLD WAR II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians, many of them young women from small towns across the South, were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war when Oak Ridge’s secret was revealed.
Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it, women who are now in their eighties and nineties, The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity. Denise Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage. Combining the grand-scale human drama of The Worst Hard Time with the intimate biography and often troubling science of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Girls of Atomic City is a lasting and important addition to our country’s history.
About Denise Kiernan
Denise Kiernan has been working as a writer for nearly 20 years. She has been published in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, Ms. Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Discover and many more publications. She has also worked in television, serving as head writer for ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” during its Emmy award-winning first season and producing for places such as ESPN and MSNBC. She has authored several popular history titles including Signing Their Lives Away, Signing Their Rights Away and Stuff Every American Should Know. Her most recent book, The Girls of Atomic City, is a New York Times, Los Angeles Times and NPR Bestseller. As an author, Denise has been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, PRI’s The Takeaway, PBS NewsHour, and in numerous newspapers and magazines, and she was recently named to the board of the Atomic Heritage Foundation. (photo: treadshots.com)
“A phenomenal story.” – Jon Stewart, The Daily show
” Fascinating … Kiernan has amassed a deep reservoir of intimate details of what life was like for women living in the secret city, gleaned from seven years of interviews and research. …Rosie, it turns out, did much more than drive rivets.” – Washington Post
“Kiernan … brings a unique and personal perspective to this key part of American history… Instead of the words of top scientists and government officials, Kiernan recounts the experiences of factory workers, secretaries, and low-level chemists… She combines their stories with detailed reporting that provides a clear and compelling picture of this fascinating time.” – Boston Globe
“In The Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan tells the fascinating story about ordinary women who did the extraordinary… The girls of Atomic City helped to change history; it’s high time their story was told.” – USAToday.com
“This intimate and revealing glimpse into one of the most important scientific developments in history will appeal to a broad audience.” – Publishers Weekly
“The Girls of Atomic City details a story that seems impossible yet was true. Author Denise Kiernan brings a novelist’s voice to her thoroughly researched look at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.” – Book Page
Giveaway of one copy to a reader from the US or Canada
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Synopsis: Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole’s coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees.
But what both women don’t know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own. (publisher)
My take: Sweet Salt Air is the first of Barbara Delinsky’s books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I’m glad to see she has written several other novels because I want to read more! What attracted me to this book first was the setting: summer on an island off the coast of Maine. Doesn’t that sound inviting?
I also liked the idea of two friends connecting after several years of being apart. When they meet up again their story unfolds as do the secrets they’ve both been holding. Delinsky’s well-paced story kept me turning the pages as I wondered how it would all play out. At times I was annoyed with Nicole but then reminded myself of her circumstances and wondered if perhaps I might behave the same way. I identified more with Charlotte in that she was fairly straight forward in her interactions with Nicole and then Leo. Ah, Leo. One of my friends who read the book before I did proclaimed him “yummy” – and I have to agree, lol. No spoilers, though. You’ll have to read the book 🙂
The author delves into medical issues – one of the characters has MS – and the possibilities of stem cell transplantation as a cure. I found it quite interesting and appreciated all the research that went into that aspect of the novel.
Serious medical issues aside, I think Sweet Salt Grass would be the perfect vacation read. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Barbara Delinsky.
We first meet Sarah as a child just beginning to understand her captivity at the young age of six. Sarah is the daughter of Cornelius Allen, the slave master, and his house slave, Emmeline. When Master Allen gives his daughter Clarissa’s hand in marriage, he presents her with a wedding gift: Sarah, the young slave she grew up with who also happens to be her sister. When Clarissa’s new husband suspects that their newborn son is illegitimate, Clarissa and Sarah are sent back to her parents in shame, setting in motion a series of events that will destroy this once powerful family.
Told through alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius’ wife, THE WEDDING GIFT is a stunning novel that demonstrates the bonds of slavery do not end with slaves. It is historical fiction at its best and no one is better equipped to share this story than Marlen Suyapa Bodden whose knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses translates to an intimate portrait of America, then and now.
THE WEDDING GIFT will resonate with readers of The Help and The Secret Life of Bees, where complicated bonds and compelling female relationships are explored.
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Dr. Marlen Suyapa Bodden is a lawyer at The Legal Aid Society in New York City, the nation’s oldest and largest legal services organization. She has more than two decades’ experience representing poor people and low-wage and immigrant workers, many of whom are severely underpaid, if paid at all.
She drew on her knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses to write The Wedding Gift, her first novel.
On May 20, 2012, the University of Rhode Island conferred on Marlen an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Marlen is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Tufts University.
Spotlight information provided by Wunderkind PR
Synopsis: In the eyes of her corporate law firm, Ingrid Yung is a “two-fer.” As a Chinese-American woman about to be ushered into the elite rank of partner, she’s the face of Parsons Valentine & Hunt LLP’s recruiting brochures–their treasured “Golden Girl.” But behind the firm’s welcoming façade lies the scotch-sipping, cigar-smoking old-boy network that shuts out lawyers like Ingrid. To compensate, Ingrid gamely plays in the softball league, schmoozes in the corporate cafeteria, and puts in the billable hours—until a horrifically offensive performance at the law firm’s annual summer outing throws the carefully constructed image way out of equilibrium.
Sweet Salt Air will be available tomorrow, June 18. I’ll read it later this summer but today I want to spotlight it. I think it sounds great!
On Quinnipeague, hearts open under the summer stars and secrets float in the Sweet Salt Air…
Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole’s coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees.
But what both women don’t know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own. Bestselling author and master storyteller Barbara Delinsky invites you come away to Quinnipeague…
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About the author: BARBARA DELINSKY has been published in twenty-eight languages worldwide. A lifelong New Englander, Delinsky earned a B.A. in psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in sociology at Boston College. Delinsky enjoys knitting, photography, and cats. She lives in Needham, Massachusetts.
About Elizabeth the First Wife: Elizabeth Lancaster, an English professor at Pasadena City College, finds her perfectly dull but perfectly orchestrated life upended one summer by three men: her movie-star ex-husband, a charming political operative, and William Shakespeare. Until now, she’d been content living in the shadow of her high-profile and highly accomplished family. Then her college boyfriend and one-time husband of seventeen months, A-list action star FX Fahey, shows up with a job offer that she can’t resist, and Elizabeth’s life suddenly gets a whole lot more interesting. She’s off to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the summer to make sure FX doesn’t humiliate himself in an avant-garde production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s house sitter back in Pasadena is her Congressman brother-in-law’s dreamy chief of staff, whose calls regarding how to work the washing machine and stovetop slowly cross the line into much more personal territory.
About the author: Lian Dolan is a writer, producer, talk show host, podcast pioneer and social media consultant. She writes the blog and produces the weekly podcast “The Chaos Chronicles,” a humorous look at modern motherhood. She writes for Oprah.com as a parenting expert. A decade ago, Lian created Satellite Sisters, an award-winning talk show, blog and website, with her four real sisters. Her writing has appeared in many national magazines, including regular columns in O, The Oprah Magazine and Working Mother and essays in such anthologies as Chicken Soup for the Sister’s Soul. TV appearances have included The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is a popular speaker for groups and corporations, always using humor as hook. Her previous books include Helen of Pasadena and The Satellite Sisters’ Uncommon Senses.
Twenty-two years ago, New York Times bestselling author, Patti Callahan Henry’s sister placed a baby girl for adoption. Then in April 2010, a Facebook request put an end to all the waiting and wondering. Patti’s sister’s daughter had found her.
Henry’s latest novel, AND THEN I FOUND YOU, coming this April 2013, is a unique story inspired by Henry’s personal family history with adoption. The novel, much like the true story, is a compelling narrative of love lost, love found, and a miraculous reunion that changed everyone’s lives forever.
Told from the points of view of birth mother, Kate Vaughn, and her thirteen year-old daughter Emily, AND THEN I FOUND YOU (St. Martin’s Press; Hardcover; April 9, 2013; 272 pp.) spans over twenty years and follows the characters as they move through their lives in South Carolina, Arizona, Alabama and New York. Now thirty-four years old, Kate seems finally ready to begin her life with someone else, but memories keep holding her back. In her wish to conquer her painful past, Kate decides to visit Jack, the father of the baby she placed for adoption many years before. Their reunion and an unexpected Facebook request starts a chain reaction that will change not only Kate’s life, but that of her loved ones too. AND THEN I FOUND YOU is ultimately a story about brave choices, our yearning for certainty and the courage it takes to find our place in the world.
About PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY:
Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times Bestselling novelist. She has published nine novels (Losing the Moon, Where the River Runs, When Light Breaks, Between the Tides, The Art of Keeping Secrets, and Driftwood Summer, The Perfect Love Song, Coming up for Air and the upcoming And Then I Found You –April 2013, St. Martins Press). Patti has been hailed as a fresh new voice in southern fiction, appearing in numerous magazines (Good Housekeeping; SKIRT; The South; Southern Living, etc..). She has been short-listed for the Townsend Prize for Fiction. She has been nominated four different times for the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Fiction Novel of the Year. Her work is published in five languages and all novels are on Brilliance Audio. Two of her novels were OKRA picks and Coming up For Air was an Indie Next choice. Patti is a frequent speaker at fundraisers, library events and book festivals, discussing the importance of storytelling. Her next novel, AND THEN I FOUND YOU, will be released on April, 9th, 2013 by St. Martins Press. Patti Callahan Henry is a full time writer, wife and mother of three living in Mountain Brook, AL.
Flowers that will be initially available with others added for special occasions:
Infinite Love – Bellflower
I Am Grateful – Bluebells
Sending Encouragement — Black Eyed Susan
Thinking of You – Zinnia
A Mother’s Love – Impatiens
Pure Loyal Love — Daisy
Bond of Love — Honeysuckle
Purple Hyacinth — I am sorry; Please forgive me
Don’t forget me — Forget me not
I will never forget you – Everlasting
Sending Protection — White Heather
Sending Cheer — Crocus
Sending Courage and Daring — Edelweiss
Sending Good Luck — Clover
Sending Perserverance — Chicory
Farewell — sweet pea
Secret Love — Acacia
Love at First Sight – Gloxinia
♥ ♥ ♥
“THE REEDUCATION OF CHERRY TRUONG explores the intersection of history and human hearts. With tenderness and wisdom, this intricately woven tale presents a world both mysterious and familiar to readers. Aimee Phan is a keen observer and a beautiful writer.”–Yiyun Li, author of The Vagrants
“A touching relational and multigenerational family story … By not shying away from issues such as infidelity, gambling addiction, and racism in describing the various hardships experienced by her characters, Phan makes this a strong and realistic work … Phan’s intricate storytelling recalls Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club in her ability to bind the family histories together but without the mystical spirituality that marks Tan’s writing. Readers familiar with the work of Bich Minh Nguyen (Short Girls) should also enjoy this freshly presented story of the Vietnamese American experience.”–Library Journal
“Touching on the events of the Vietnam War, cultural assimilation, reconciliation, forgiveness, and redemption, Phan creates an epic tale. Through Cherry’s eyes, the complex country of Vietnam is lovingly explored in immense, realistic detail. Readers of Maxine Hong Kingston and Gish Jen will enjoy Phan’s sensitive, lush prose and recognize similar questions of identity.”–Booklist
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Readers were first introduced to Aimee Phan’s “strong, eloquent tales” in her collection of short stories, We Should Never Meet, which was a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book in 2005. She has returned with a debut novel about the Vietnamese American experience in THE REEDUCATION OF CHERRY TRUONG (St. Martin’s Press; March 13, 2012; $25.99). Praised for her graceful and spare writing and compared to Amy Tan, Phan explores the lives of two fierce and unforgettable families, the Truongs and the Vos as they assimilate themselves in their new homelands following the fall of Saigon.
Cherry Truong travels from California to Vietnam determined to bring back her exiled brother, only to discover he is quite happy in his new life and that the unspoken rift between the two may never completely heal. Spanning thirty years and across three continents, Cherry begins to unravel the family secrets that not only have damaged her relationship with her brother but have also deposited one side of her family in the U.S. and the other in Paris.
Phan’s depiction of this multigenerational, vibrant family keenly pinpoints their real life experiences of survival and immigration, marriage and infidelity, loyalty and betrayal, and successes and failuresall wrapped up in the quest for the American dream. As each member of the family is revealed and more secrets uncovered, Cherry is forced to face her own place in their long family history and come to terms with her discoveries.
Aimee Phan received her MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she won a Maytag Fellowship and teaches in the MFA Writing Program and Writing and Literature Program at California College of the Arts. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Oregonian among others.
Author: Patti Callahan Henry
Published: August 2011, St. Martin’s Press
About: (from the Goodreads synopsis) Ellie Calvin is caught in a dying marriage, and she knows this. With her beloved daughter away at college and a growing gap between her and her husband – between her reality and the woman she wants to be – she doesn’t quite seem to fit into her own life.
But everything changes after her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away. Ellie’s world turns upside down when she sees her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, at her mother’s funeral and learns that he is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death. He wants answers to questions that Ellie’s not sure she can face, until, in the painful midst of going through her mother’s things, she discovers a hidden diary – and a window onto stories buried long ago.
My take: I enjoyed Ellie’s journey of discovery about her mother and herself. While searching for answers about her mother Ellie faces facts about her own life and what it could be.
The setting is lush and, for the most part, the characters are endearing. Characters and plot aside, I think my favorite part of the novel was learning about a jubilee – that time when conditions are right and sea life come up for air. It served as a metaphor for Ellie’s life and her journey.
This is a book I think many women, especially women who’ve married and raised a family, will understand. I’m not saying it’s every woman’s story but there are emotions and aspects that I believe many of us can relate to. I’ve found that to be true with most of Patti Callahan Henry’s novels and that’s why I’m a fan.
Source: Wunderkind PR