Tomb of the Unknown Racist

Ellen and her brother, Royce, grew up together in an old plantation house in South Carolina. Royce loved to catch snakes, and he idolized the African-American couple who were caretakers on the property; ...

Book: Devil May Care

Elizabeth Peters gives us a funny, suspenseful thriller in “Devil May Care,” a story set in a sprawling mansion whose eccentric owner, Kate, would like nothing more than to have some ghosts ...

Book: Pierced by the Sun

Lupita, the protagonist of Laura Esquivel’s wonderful novel “Pierced by the Sun,” is a survivor.  She has been through all sorts of trouble and heartache: Her stepfather raped her, ...

The German Girl

Blonde, blue-eyed Hannah is photographed on the street in Berlin in early 1939. The precocious 11-year-old thinks the photographer is spying for the Nazis; he’s actually taking pictures for Das Deutsche ...

Book: The Last Ballad

Wiley Cash’s highly readable novel about an impoverished cotton mill worker who becomes a labor organizer is based on the life of a real woman with the same name as the character, Ella May Wiggins. The ...

Book: At the Edge of the Orchard

The family at the center of “At the Edge of the Orchard” is named Goodenough. But their life in 1830s Ohio isn’t very good at all. The parents, James and Sadie, moved from well-established ...

Book: My Beloved World

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor offers an interesting and powerful story in “My Beloved World,” her 2013 memoir. Her book starts with her childhood in an economically poor but culturally ...

Book: Don't You Ever

When Adria Bishop delivered her firstborn to a reformatory, where he would get an eduction and learn work skills, she told him in no uncertain terms, “Don’t you ever call me Mother.” Adria ...

Book review If We Had Known

At what point do we label other people’s behavior as disturbing, or potentially harmful to society? Where does the right to privacy end and the need for public safety begin? Who is responsible ...

Book: Crime & Punctuation

Michelle "Mikki" Lincoln hadn't seen her hometown or her high school classmates for decades. Then the retired English teacher learned that her childhood home was on the market. A recent widow, she bought ...

Book: Sisters Like Us

Sisters Harper and Stacey are almost polar opposites — Harper can bake, decorate and celebrate with ease every holiday from Christmas to National Recliner Day; Stacey is a brilliant medical researcher ...

Book: Until Proven Guilty

J.A. Jance finds a way to make a nearly implausible situation plausible in “Until Proven Guilty,” the first in her J.P. Beaumont series of suspense novels. The books are set in Seattle and ...

Book: The Third Victim

We read suspense and mystery novels to exercise our minds as we solve clues and to raise our blood pressure as we wonder whodunit and why. So it was a good thing, wasn’t it, when I misplaced my ...

Book: Every Other Weekend

Set in 1988, Zulema Renee Summerfield’s “Every Other Weekend” focuses on a third-grader, Nenny, who has serious fears, both reasonable and comic. For example, she worries about burglars ...

Book: A Certain Justice

In “A Certain Justice,” P.D. James gives readers richly drawn characters and a look at the internal workings (and complications) of the British legal system. She’s a master of the murder ...

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