Read our latest staff reviews and recommendations featured in the The Southern Bookseller Review.
I am not a reader of thrillers, but I could not put this down. Following the two octogenarian sons of a future-seeing serial killer, this story weaves between past and present, between investigators and the investigated, and intertwines a horrific legacy with a more recent brutal attack and the siblings that survived. Alex North kept me guessing, and though I had to draw a character map to track all the Englishmen the story follows, I was deeply invested by the end and questioning for myself the roles of family, both blood and chosen.
The Angel Maker by Alex North, (List Price: $28.99, Celadon Books, 9781250757869, February 2023)
Reviewed by Sarah Catherine, The Snail On the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama
This debut by Canadian author Heather Marshall captured my attention from the first sentence: "It was a perfectly ordinary day when a truly extraordinary letter was delivered to the wrong mailbox." When Andrea finds the stray letter 7 years later, she searches for the proper recipient, connecting events of the past to the present. Because this story is about of the trauma of adoption, abortion or lack of access, and other difficult topics, this book may not be for everyone, but it is well worth reading, especially for those who have an interest in the history of women’s issues and health care.
Looking for Jane by Heather Marshall, (List Price: 27.99, Atria Books, 9781668013687, February 2023)
Reviewed by Amy, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama
As kids, we focus so much of our time and energy on friendships, and then as we become adults, everything changes. It’s hard to make new friends, and it’s often harder to keep old ones. In B.F.F. Christie Tate bares her soul about female friendship in the same way she did about her therapy sessions in Group. It’s refreshing and reassuring to find out that other women feel isolated, alienated, and hurt by the people they claim as friends. And, though Tate doesn’t have any easy answers, she does let us accompany her on the journey to heal old wounds and become a better friend.
B.F.F. by Christie Tate, (List Price: $28, Avid Reader Press, 9781668009420, February 2023)
Reviewed by Lady Smith, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama
Beautiful and unsettling, Elsewhere is a novel I can’t stop thinking about. Not usually one for dystopian fiction, I started and soon was captivated by this haunting, cloud-covered place and close-knit community from which women occasionally disappear. The families who live here wonder about the world beyond, known only as "Elsewhere," especially when a stranger comes to visit. But, no matter how uncertain the future is for mothers in this place, they wouldn’t consider leaving. Why, you’ll wonder, as you’re drawn in by the mystery of this place and its people. How deep is devotion, and much should motherhood require of a woman? I can imagine book clubs debating this one at length!
Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin, (List Price: $26.99, Celadon, 9781250219633, June 2022)
Reviewed by Lady Smith, Snail on the Wall in Huntingdon, Alabama
I wanted to start this review with the phrase “a lot can happen in nine months,” but Aviva, the main character of Elisa Albert’s Human Blues would think that was hackneyed and immediately dismiss me with a sneer. But a lot does happen in the novel’s nine-month trip—just not the baby that almost famous singer-songwriter Aviva Rosner desperately wants. And while fertility and conception (just not IVF, which she’s very vocally opposed to) try to take center stage in this story, Aviva’s career, religion, marriage, and obsession with Amy Winehouse are also along for the ride. And it’s a wild ride!
Human Blues by Elisa Albert, (List Price: $28, Avid Reader Press, 9781982167868, July 2022)
Reviewed by Elizabeth Hardin, Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama
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