The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion is a 1915 novel by English novelist Ford Madox Ford. It is set just before World War I and chronicles the tragedy of Edward Ashburnham, the soldier to whom the title refers, and his own seemingly perfect marriage and that of two American friends. The novel is told using a series of flashbacks in non-chronological order, a literary technique that formed part of Ford’s pioneering view of literary impressionism. Ford employs the device of the unreliable narrator, to great effect as the main character gradually reveals a version of events that is quite different from what the introduction leads you to believe. The novel was loosely based on two incidents of adultery and on Ford’s messy personal life.
Set amidst the outsider worlds of present-day downtown New York, 1990s Los Angeles, and 1940s Mexico City, Like Son is the not-so-simple story of a father, a son, and the love-blindness shared between them.
Meet Frank Cruz: a post-punk, sardonic, thirty-year-old who unwittingly inherits his dead father’s legacy. Born a bouncing baby girl named Francisca to parents tangled in a doomed love affair, Frank grows up in both the poorest barrios and poshest hills of Southern California. A defiant loner, Frank leaves home at the age of eighteen for the big city, but instead is sucked back into helping his estranged and blind father navigate an untimely death. On his deathbed, Frank’s father gives him a mysterious crumbling photograph of a woman with a stunning gaze: Nahui Olin, a fierce member of the early-20th-century Mexican avant-garde who once brought tragedy upon the Cruz family.
Punctured to his core by Nahui, Frank takes her portrait and flees to New York City to start anew–this time for real. There he meets eccentric, gorgeous, and sharp-tongued Nathalie. The two fall in love, but after seven years of happy-go-lucky life together, in September 2001 the New York skyline tumbles, and Frank finds himself smack in the middle of his predestined fate.
Madewell Brown is the fourth book of the Guadalupe Series.
As recorded in Rick Collignon’s second novel, Perdido, a tall black man with one arm longer than the other walked into Guadalupe, New Mexico one morning about 50 years ago, stayed pretty much to himself for seven years, and then walked back out of town. No one knew who he was or what became of him. Now, as his last act, an old man named Ruffino Trujillo tells his grown son Cipriano a story about what became of the black man. After Ruffino’s death, Cipriano discovers an old canvas bag bearing the name of Madewell Brown. Inside are a hand-carved doll, an old blanket, an unlabeled photo of a Negro League baseball team, and a small, yellowing envelope that was never posted. Thinking it the least he can do, Cipriano mails the letter.
When it arrives in Cairo, Illinois, it comes into the hands of a young woman named Rachael, who believes it is from her lost grandfather. She believes this because of all that she’s been told by the raggedy old man who taught her everything: Obie Poole, who was Madewell’s friend and the orphaned Rachael’s anchor, the man who gives this eloquent novel its authentic sense of history lived. Drawn magically forward on Rick Collignon’s direct and haunting prose, we follow Rachael to Guadalupe in search of her own identity and we watch as Cipriano tries to make sense of the story his father told him about a dead man who didn’t belong there.
This fourth installment in Collignon’s beloved Guadalupe series is as magical as its predecessors, as emotionally honest, as surprising—and it firmly establishes Rick Collignon as a master American storyteller.
The stories in Some Day This Will Be Funny marry memory to moment in a union of narrative form as immaculate and imperfect as the characters damned to act them out on page. Lynne Tillman, author of American Genius, presides over the ceremony; Clarence Thomas, Marvin Gaye, and Madame Realism mingle at the reception. Narrators—by turn infamous and nameless—shift within their own skin, struggling to unknot reminiscence from reality while scenes rush into warm focus, then cool, twist, and snap in the breeze of shifting thought. Epistle, quotation, and haiku bounce between lyrical passages of lucid beauty, echoing the scattered, cycling arpeggio of Tillman’s preferred subject: the unsettled mind. Collectively, these stories own a conscience shaped by oaths made and broken; by the skeleton silence and secrets of family; by love’s shifting chartreuse. They traffic in the quiet images of personal history, each one a flickering sacrament in danger of being swallowed up by the lust and desperation of their possessor: a fistful of parking tickets shoved in the glove compartment, a little black book hidden from a wife in a safe-deposit box, a planter stuffed with flowers to keep out the cooing mourning doves. They are stories fashioned with candor and animated by fits of wordplay and invention—stories that affirm Tillman’s unshakable talent for wedding the patterns and rituals of thought with the blushing immediacy of existence, defying genre and defining experimental short fiction.
Cover background image by Charles Orr
For as long as she could remember, Sarah has had a frightening nightmare. In it, she inexplicably kills her mother. After this nightmare she feels compelled to steal something. Not just anything, but some particular item which seems significant. Yet over the years she couldn’t figure out the relevance of any of these stolen items. No one knows of Sarah’s problem and she has no solution, despite reading dozens of psychology books hoping to find the answer.
Then Aunt Kat, her mother’s sister whom Sarah has never met comes to visit which begins a frustrating weekend. Her mother falls and breaks her ankle and suddenly Sarah’s nightmares begin to change to include sleepwalking. In desperation, Sarah seeks help and turns to Josie her odd but brilliant schoolmate.
Together the girls try to trace the source of Sarah’s problem. Books, the stolen items, clues in the new nightmares, all seem to lead nowhere. Even the cryptic pronouncement of a psychic referring to a “grave beside a tomb” means nothing. But finally, everything begins to fall into place. Sarah begins to discover hidden things about herself which make her wish she had never begun the search.
Few of us actually know all the things which make us who we are but Sarah’s past hid more than most.
Image credit: lindaaslund
Storm’s Heart is a sexy, sophisticated romance with a dark, brooding centre. When Greek lawyer Andreas Lazarides and bistro-manager Kizzy Dean clash over the executing of his mother’s final wishes, he takes matters into his own hands and Kizzy back with him to Ancient Greece. Tension runs high on the sun-baked Greek Island of Rhodes amidst the ancient myths and alleyways of Lindos village.
Hopelessly out of her depth and penniless, can innocent Kizzy resist the treacherous sexual attraction that draws her powerfully into Andreas’ orbit? Dangerously appealing and darkly charismatic, he’s made it quite clear that he wants her in her bed. It would be to her advantage, he’d make it worth her while.
She’s an independent woman, born illegitimately into a brutal world, so is Kizzy tough enough to handle this millionaire Adonis? Can she keep the ironclad fortress around her heart intact? The stakes are high if she is to prevent history repeating itself.
No man on earth will leave her as heartbroken and destitute as her mother. An explosive meeting of two different worlds results in a mirror image of cruelty, betrayal, guilt and shame that only their passion for each other can possibly overcome. But is it enough?
Kizzy wants answers and her turbulent past and shadowy revelations kick up a storm in Andreas’s heart that will not abate until his own explosive secrets are forced out into the open.
Cover background image from: Androfire – flickr
Sweet and Lowdown is the second book of the Doris Lennox Mysteries.
Europe is at War. Nazi bombers are hammering London. Wendell Willkie is giving Roosevelt a run for his money. In Kansas City, Dorie Lennox and her partner Amos Haddam are trying to keep the blond and beautiful Thalia Hines from destroying herself. It’s not easy. The girl has every reason to escape the cold stone mansion where her mother lies dying. Eveline Hines is a decorated war hero during the First World War. Now she’s struggling to protect her only daughter from men who lust over her inheritance even more than her curves. In the rich milieu of a bygone time, an America preparing for war provides color for the intimate portrait of a powerful woman bearing witness to the destruction of all she loves. For the Hines family, nothing will ever be the same in this powerful story of maternal love and family secrets, and the disastrous attempts to mingle them.
Sweet and Lowdown is a historical mystery full of darkness and peculiar heartache of the wayward child, a story that will stay with the reader long after the book is closed.
Cover background image: Alejandra Mavroski – Flickr – CC-BY