The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Historical Fiction

Spotlight on: The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I love genre fiction, and I love horror. Poor horror gets treated like the cousin we don’t talk about. He doesn’t get invited to dinner. On the one hand, I joke that the industry that gave us Crabs: The Human Sacrifice—please look up the 1988 cover of that book—can’t be taken very seriously after going there. And the horror boom of the ’80s produced plenty of dreck. But between possessed children and sewer mutants, there’s sometimes a space to touch on something special and no less poignant than a realistic drama. It’s the space of shadows on the wall that we stared at before we went to sleep when we were children and the frightful darkness around a campfire.” –Silvia Moreno-Garciay, Interview, Pen America

 

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

What booksellers are saying about The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

  • Carlota loves her life in Yaxaktun, nestled in the jungles of Yucatan. She is a devoted daughter, even though her God-complex having mad scientist father is raising animal-human hybrids to work the lands of the Hacienda. Unfortunately, Carlota soon finds out that she is on borrowed time and borrowed land. Carlota must wrestle with being a good daughter and doing what she knows is right. Also, the author did her research! Moreno-Garcia weaves the history of the Caste War of Yucatan as well Yucatec Mayan language and myths into a beautiful story. ―Kate Smith from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

  • I don’t even know what to compare this book to, it’s just so incredibly unique and wonderful. Yes, it is a reimagining of a classic, but it’s by a WoC about a WoC, where the villain is now white men impeding in Native spaces, and the horror that always follows, inflicted upon the native people and the land. Silvia’s words are sweeping and yet calculated, crafting a dreamy affair where so-called monsters are more human than the actual humans are. Readers who were obsessed with Gods of Jade and Shadow will devour this book!
      ―Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Drawing inspiration from the famous HG Wells novel, Moreno-Garcia has penned a novel that defies genre, mixing elements of historical fiction and sci-fi with a dash of romance. The heroine’s character development from obedient daughter to independent badass was particularly enrapturing, as was the role of the hybrids. I early await Moreno-Garcia’s next project.  ―Chelsea Stringfield from Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee
    Buy from Parnassus Books

About Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of the novels Velvet Was the Night, Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, and a bunch of other books. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award–winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters). She has been nominated for the Locus Award for her work as an editor and has won the British Fantasy Award and the Locus Award for her work as a novelist.

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Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah

Here’s how you take a great sin–maybe The great sin–and particularize it so that our minds can grasp it. The Germans and the British and the Portuguese and the Dutch (and now, of course, the US and China and ad nauseam)–all of these governments have, at one time or another, wanted to get their hands on Africa–really get in there–all the way in–and do what they want to it. Gurnah and his magical Nobel Prize-winning pen tells us the story of a family battered by the complexities of colonialism and their risings and fallings and re-risings. Deep, satisfying, horrifying, wonderful.

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah, (List Price: $28, Riverhead Books, 9780593541883, August 2022)

Reviewed by Erica Eisdorfer, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford

I finished this book yesterday, and I’m realizing it deserves a re-read or two! This is my first by author Jamie Ford, but will not be my last. His exquisite writing is not only beautiful, but also thought-provoking and cerebral.

Based on the scientific study of Eugenics, in which the research suggests that trauma/fears can be inherited from previous generations, readers are introduced to several descendants of Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America. With settings spanning from 1836-2045, each chapter reveals the tragedies faced by a descendent of Afong, and how each responds due to her genetic response to fear and tragedy.

A mix of history, science and fantasy, this is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Fors, (List Price: $28.00, Atria Books, 9781982158217,  August 2022)

Reviewed by Sharon Davis, Book Bound Bookstore in Blairsville, Georgia

The Scent of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule

Bazawule swiftly drops you into an immediate and tumultuous love story between Bernadette and Melvin as they escape the States seeking a fantastical refuge in 1960s Ghana. This piece is deeply heartbreaking, yet manages to hold it together through its magical storytelling. “Queen and Slim” fans will love this novel as its deep cinematic influence encourages evocative visuals and sentient understandings of the character’s interiors.

The Scent of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule, (List Price: $27, Ballantine Books, 9780593496237, June 2022)

Reviewed by Eden Hakimzadeh, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

A June 2022 Read This Next! Title!

I get that the term "transportive" is overused in blurbs, but I don’t know how else to describe this gorgeous novel from Kali Fajardo-Anstine. I was swept away by Woman of Light, which follows five generations of the Lopez family from the nineteenth century into the 1930s, spanning across the Western territories of America. In beautiful, decadent prose, Fajardo-Anstine shows us everything from traveling circus acts and fortune tellers, to turn of the century Denver nightlife, house parties and wedding festivities. This is a love letter to the American West that was left out of the classic cowboy films, to the Indigenous and Latinx communities who have lived there for centuries. I loved every word.

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, (List Price: 28, One World, 9780525511328, June 2022)

Reviewed by Lindsay Lynch, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Spotlight on: Horse by Geraldine Brooks

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Geraldine Brooks

This book was like a gift…it came to me right when I was getting absolutely no work done because my midlife crisis turned out to be not a red mustang but a little black pony. I became a horse-crazy girl in my middle age.”Geraldine Books, interview

 

 

Horse by Geraldine Brooks

What booksellers are saying about Horse

  • Wow! Brooks knows how to tell a story and this one weaves many characters that all have one thing in common: The Horse called Lexington, a great racehorse but also the greatest sire of the late 19th Century. Lexington was a real horse, and this novel contains true facets of his life and real people around him, but also fictional characters that cared for him both during his life and after his death. We have a big equestrian community in our county and they will love this, as will book clubs. ―Beth Carpenter from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • Horse by Geraldine Brooks Brooks has woven an extraordinary adventure about Lexington, a Kentucky thoroughbred. His accomplishments were extraordinary. He won all but one of his races but more significantly his legacy as the most successful leading sire in America during the last half of the nineteenth century makes him unparalleled in horse history. Other figures play into this story: Jarrett, the slave boy groom who loved him, Thomas Scott, the painter who captured Lexington on canvas and others whose contributions were significant. A fascinating story! Brooks is a masterful storyteller! I loved it!   ―Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL
    Buy from Page & Palette

  • A compelling and beautifully-crafted story with a mystery at its giant, horse-sized heart. This is a book about the fragility of life, love, and liberty for people of color in this country, in the past and in the present day.   ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Flyleaf Books

About Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel March and the international bestsellers The Secret Chord, Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, and Year of Wonders. She has also written the acclaimed nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Born and raised in Australia, Brooks lives in Massachusetts.

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Sister Stardust by Jane Green

I inhaled this book in a day! If you loved Daisy Jones and the Six you will adore this book based on Talitha Getty and her husband as they lived the sex, drugs and abundantly hippie lifestyle. Told through the naive eyes of a girl who happened on the scene after being thrown out of her home by her evil step-mother, this takes you behind the scenes to what it was really like. “Close” friendships and love affairs are not what they seem and the lifestyle can only burn out. The ride you are on with this book is incredible. Fun introspective read.

Sister Stardust by Jane Green, (List Price: $26.99, Hanover Square Press, 9781335425782,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Suzanne Lucey from Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, NC

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson

Whether as a stand-alone read or for already die-hard fans of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, The Book Woman’s Daughter delivers! Honey, the original book woman’s daughter, must struggle to stay free against what seem often insurmountable odds against her: from being a “blue” to being fifteen, and unfortunately perhaps most, for being female in a time and place where women were considered property. Amidst loss and persecution, she must forge a path for hersef through the dense woods of Kentucky’s Appalachia Kentucky. Beautiful, evocative, and full of adventure, this book also shines a light on the gifts of friendship, no matter the appearance of the package. I loved this book every bit as much as Troublesome Creek, and look forward to sharing it with eager readers, just as Honey shares her love of books with her reading community… another fine work by Kim Michele Richardson!

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson, (List Price: $26.99, Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781728252995,  May 2022)

Reviewed by Shari Stauch, Main Street Reads in Summerville, South Carolina

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel

Readers of Kaikeyi will be pulled into this lyrical counternarrative of the reviled queen from the ancient epic Ramayana. Known as a jealous, villainous stepmother who banished Rama and put her own son on the throne, Patel tells a much more nuanced, compassionate tale of a brave woman caught between manipulative gods and a patriarchal society who nevertheless tries to improve the lot of women in her kingdom. Kaikeyi’s voice is stunningly spirited, and Patel’s mesmerizing prose is immersive and inventive. This will definitely appeal to fans of mythological retellings in the vein of Circe.

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel, (List Price: $28.00, Redhook, 9780759557338,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke

A beautiful and strange novel full of magic, friendships, and hard truths. The search for voice & freedom, the drive to be heard, a reconciliation with past trauma and a future filled with hope weave a story I couldn’t let go of.The city of Budapest and the Danube are integral characters as Csilla discovers her worth. Along with a student revolutionary leader and a kind hearted angel of death, Csilla transforms the world around her into one filled with color.

This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke, (List Price: $18.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593381243,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M Judson Booksellers and Storytellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Under the Golden Sun by Jenny Ashcroft

Quite simply one of the most beautiful books I’ve read all year. Historical fiction with well-drawn heroines and interesting love stories aren’t uncommon. What makes this book absolutely sing is the care and attention given to all the relationships in this book. The mother who has lost her child and the child who has lost his family; women forging deep, meaningful friendships that are treated with the same importance as the romantic entanglements; and perhaps even better, everyone grows. In a field cluttered with WWII era novels this book rises about the field with its unusual setting and lovely relationships, but also with the author’s distinct voice and prose.

Under the Golden Sun by Jenny Ashcroft (List Price: $27.99, St. Martin’s Press, 9781250274762,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Traci Harris, The Book House, Mableton, Georgia

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Booth is about more than resurrecting a villain from the history books, though it does shine a spotlight on John Wilkes Booth from birth to his infamous assassination of President Lincoln. This is a tale of the entire Booth family, who might be remembered for their theatrical celebrity — from father Junius Booth to his three thespian sons, Edwin, John, and June — but for the crime that brought shame to the clan forevermore. The story takes its time, meandering through births, deaths, and sibling conflicts, and focusing much of its attention on the sisters who had to live in their brothers’ shadow. In the background throughout is Abraham Lincoln, who was gradually making his way to the White House, while the issue of slavery increasingly divided the country. We know about the big battles, from Gettysburg to Antietam, but here we also see the smaller riots and uprisings that inflamed someone like Booth to take matters in his own hands.

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler, (List Price: $28.00, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780593331439,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Lady Smith, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Readers will be stunned by the force of Kaitlyn Greenidge’s latest novel. Set in Brooklyn during the Civil War era and the turbulent times after, the voice of Libertie Sampson describes her unique childhood as the freeborn daughter of a Black, widowed female doctor. Libertie’s mother has aspirations for her daughter to follow her path and join her in her practice. Two things prevent Libertie from choosing this course: her darker skin tone lessens her level of acceptance in the community and she doesn’t have the aptitude for medicine. Rather than face her mother’s disappointment, she marries a Haitian doctor and leaves the country with him. She finds herself lonelier than ever in this tumultuous island country.This is a highly immersive and unforgettable literary accomplishment.

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge, (List Price: $16.95, Algonquin Books, 9781643752587, February 2022)

Reviewed by Damita Nocton, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, North Carolina



Black Cloud Rising by David Wright Falade

I’ve never before encountered a novel to plunge me into the heart of the Civil War like this. As the War still rages, a Black Union Brigade is formed of recently freed slaves. Dick, semi-acknowledged son of a slave and her master, is an honest and eloquent observer of slave-master relations. Now he fights for Gen. Edward Wild, leading the hunt for rebel fighters as he steels himself to clash with his former master. I felt all of Dick’s emotional journey as he progressed from slave to wartime leader and beyond. The Outer Banks setting for much of the action is beautifully portrayed.

Black Cloud Rising by David Wright Falade, (List Price: $27.00, Grove Press, 9780802159199, February 2022)

Reviewed by Rosemary Pugliese, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, North Carolina



I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Ruta Sepetys tackles the little-known subject of communist Romania with the gut-wrenching, suspenseful story of Cristian. He dreams of writing but instead is blackmailed to turn on everyone he loves. His story explores the endurance of the human spirit even in the toughest circumstances.

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys, (List Price: $18.99, Philomel Books, 9781984836038, February 2022)

Reviewed by Chelsea Stringfield from Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee


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