Tag: Women’s Fiction

New Release: SONG OF A CAPTIVE BIRD by Jasmin Darznik

9780399182310SONG OF A CAPTIVE BIRD by Jasmin Darznik / Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction / Released Feb 13, 2018 by Ballantine Books

A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, who defied society’s expectations to find her voice and her destiny
“Remember the flight, for the bird is mortal.”

All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel—gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé. During the summer of 1950, Forugh’s passion for poetry takes flight—and tradition seeks to clip her wings.

Forced into a suffocating marriage, Forugh runs away and falls into an affair that fuels her desire to write and to achieve freedom and independence. Forugh’s poems are considered both scandalous and brilliant; she is heralded by some as a national treasure, vilified by others as a demon influenced by the West. She perseveres, finding love with a notorious filmmaker and living by her own rules—at enormous cost. But the power of her writing only grows stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution.

Inspired by Forugh Farrokhzad’s verse, letters, films, and interviews—and including original translations of her poems—this haunting novel uses the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and conflicting desires of a brave woman who represents the birth of feminism in Iran—and who continues to inspire generations of women around the world.

Review: IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss

cover97101-mediumIF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss • Women’s Fiction • Sourcebook Landmark • Released August 8, 2017

I am a big fan of books that jump right into it and in the first sentence we experience the heart of this story: Sadie Blue getting back up on her feet after her husband has hit her.

IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE takes place in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. The chapters are like quilt blocks, each one told by a different character, each contributing to the overall quilt/story. Each has a unique voice and perspective. The amazing aspect of this type of storytelling is that we get to see each character from every angle giving us a full understanding of who they are. Continue reading “Review: IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss”

New Release: LEFT TO CHANCE by Amy Sue Nathan

51xSI1ZVj9L._SY346_LEFT TO CHANCE by Amy Sue Nathan / Women’s Fiction / St. Martin’s Griffin / Release Nov 21, 2017

Amy Sue Nathan shows just how strong the bond in female friendships can be with poignancy and wit.

After losing her best friend, Teddi Lerner runs away from everything she has ever known.  When she finally makes her return, Teddi tries to come to terms with the loss and heartache she’s been experiencing and rediscovers all of the little things that truly make life worth living again.  Amy’s heart-healing and passionate novel dives headfirst into what it means to live after loss.

Continue reading “New Release: LEFT TO CHANCE by Amy Sue Nathan”

Review: BLACKBIRD FLY by Lise McClendon

51D-GtQpCbL-1BLACKBIRD FLY (Bennett Sisters Book #1) by Lise McClendon

Women’s Fiction/Mystery / Released Dec 2013 by Thalia Press

Harry Bennett has a heart attack at work and dies leaving a wife (Merle), a son, and a number of secrets, some of which he wasn’t even aware of.

Unraveling her husbands life leads Merle to a family home in a small French village complete with a squatter, mysteries, and a beautiful garden.

As Merle deals with a marriage that had faded years ago, and a house that desperately needs repair she stumbles into murder and romance.

BLACKBIRD FLY is listed as a cozy mystery but I found it to be more Women’s Fiction with elements of mystery. The cover is vibrant and relevant to the story. The POV jumps around and at times was unnessary.

The author’s descriptions at times were breathtaking and at other times distracting, slowing the story down to a crawl.

This is not an edge-of-your-seat story but languid like a summer’s day in the garden.

MINE TO TELL by Colleen L. Donnelly

Amazon #1 Best Seller

 perf5.000x8.000.inddMINE TO TELL by Colleen L. Donnelly / Historical Romance / Women’s Fiction / Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press

Annabelle Crouse is determined to reopen her great-grandmother’s boarded-up house – and her shunned life. Many years earlier, after an unexplained absence, Julianne was relegated to a separate home by a rigidly unforgiving husband, and the Crouse women have suffered the disgrace of her assumed guilt ever since.
Despite her family’s strong disapproval, Annabelle is driven to pursue her mission through cobwebs and dust, finding the clues and the coded story left behind by her great-grandmother – Why did she go? And why did she return? Anabelle has too know.
Only one person, a man she grew up with but never noticed, stands with Annabelle as she discovers the parallels between her story and her great-grandmother’s – two women, generations apart, experiencing what love truly is.
Born and raised in the Midwest, Colleen earned a four-year degree in Medical Technology and used it to travel and explore other parts of the country while working in the field of science. Beyond the laboratory world, she delves deeply into literature, both reading and writing, her interest piqued by tales involving moral dilemmas and the choices people come up against. A lover of the outdoors as well as a comfy living room, Colleen is always searching inside and out for the next good story.

New Release: THE SPICE BOX LETTERS by Eve Makis

51dm7dn4pcl-_sx331_bo1204203200_THE SPICE BOX LETTERS by Eve Makis / Women’s Fiction / Released Sept 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books

Katerina longs to know why her grandmother, Miriam, refused to talk about the past, especially when she inherits a journal and handwritten letters stashed in a wooden spice box, cryptic treasures written in Armenian, Miriam’s mother tongue.  On vacation in Cyprus, Katerina finds the key to unlocking her grandmother’s secrets and discovers a family legacy of exile and loss.  Aged seven, Miriam was expelled from her home in Eastern Turkey and witnessed the death of her beloved brother Gabriel, or so she believed.  Katerina sets out on a fact-finding mission across the island and solves a mystery that changed her life and lays the ghosts of her grandmother’s turbulent past to rest.

Based on real events that took place during the genocide, THE SPICE BOX LETTERS is a story of family, love, hope, and tragedy that is also rich with history.  My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Sarah’s Key in this amazing story that weaves the past with the present and tragedy with redemption.

EVE MAKIS studied at Leicester University and worked as a journalist and radio presenter in the UK and Cyprus before becoming a novelist.  Eve is a part time tutor in creative writing in Nottingham University.  She is married with two children and lives in the UK and Cyprus.

Interview with Olivia deBelle Byrd

Cooley,Olivia-215-06-02-14Final2croppedTell us a little about yourself.

I was born and bred in Panama City, Florida, on the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle. My grandfather, Wyatt Oates Byrd, moved to Panama City in 1930 to open a Nehi Bottling Company. I graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, am a former elementary school teacher and was a stay-at-home mom for my children, Tommy Jr and Elizabeth. My husband, Tommy, and I still reside in Panama City.

What was your favorite part of the writing process?

Being raised by a Southern father and grandmother of uncommon wit, humor flowed as freely as water from a faucet in our household. When I finally put pen to paper, the stories poured forth as though an age-old tap had been discovered and turned on. I loved the gush of warm and euphoric remembrances and seeing these memories transposed into the written word.

What are you currently reading?

The End of Innocence by Allegra Jordan. It is a wonderful love story of two Harvard students who fall in love on the eve of World War I and face a world at war on opposing sides. At a recent trade show, I was on a war panel with Allegra. She is a delight and the book is brilliant. Now, why a Southern humorist and self-proclaimed Southern belle like myself was on a WAR panel is another story!

How many books do you normally read at a time?

I only read one book at a time from beginning to end and I read for details. I want it all! Once I start a good book, I am lost to the world. When my children were young, I did not dare start a book until they went to bed or they might end up playing in traffic!

51jZ10-qpfL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Your new book, SAVE MY PLACE, is so very different from your first book, MISS HILDRETH WORE BROWN. How did this story begin to germinate?

My first book was what I like to call ‘real life’ fiction—things that really happened—but I embellished them with anecdotes. With this first novel, Save My Place, I started with the main character, who actually began talking to me and telling me about her life. Eventually, I had to get her story on paper, and that’s when I got up in the middle of the night and wrote about her first, with a lot of character development.

I don’t believe writers are ever sure as to how things actually come about in a story. The college and teaching experiences contain some true stories, but with the introduction of Kincaid, it definitely becomes completely fiction.

In SAVE MY PLACE you wrote, very convincingly, about “Old Panama City Beach”, which is where you are from, and the Vietnam era. Did you write from personal experience?

Panama City Beach is definitely part of my history. We used to have house parties here, and my descriptions of the motels were spot on, because those experiences were really true.

Vietnam was very pivotal for me when I was in college. The draft was unsettling for everyone, but men were able to get deferments in some cases. Even though I lived through the war, I did a great deal of research, because the timeline was very important. I researched battles and interviewed someone who served, twice, in Vietnam. I also talked to a West Point graduate, because it’s the little details that made the story more true to life.

Along those same lines, in SAVE MY PLACE the experience of losing a child to leukemia was very sad, but eventually brought your characters to a deeper faith. What was your motivation with this part of the story line?

A friend had a portrait of her daughter, who had died, and she talked so beautifully, and handled it with such grace, I never forget her, her story, and how she handled it. Before I included this part in the book, I found my friend on the Internet; we renewed our friendship; and, she gave me permission to use her experience. I also interviewed a physician from M.D. Anderson who was able to share the appropriate protocols, and walked me through what would have been done in the 70s.

And, yes, the experience was what turned Kincaid to God. I wanted to impart that it was a child who brought him to seek God and an understanding of faith.

There was also an extremely poignant chapter about a teacher. Is that part of your history as well, or did you pick it out of the headlines?

Having the character shave her head was complete fiction. However, I did teach school for seven years, and actually made the dress I mentioned and had the kids decorate it. We did make the newspaper!

51n8lqXs6jL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_Why the nom de plume?

I didn’t make it up, because it’s my actual maiden name, and was too good to waste! I really liked what Melinda Rainey Thompson, author of SWAG: SOUTHERN WOMEN AGING GRACEFULLY said about the name: ‘The first thing I liked about SAVE MY PLACE was the author’s name: Olivia deBelle Byrd. If you can’t make it as a writer in the South with a name like that, well, you’re not really trying, are you?’

Learn more about Olivia at www.oliviadebellebyrd.com