♦ Hope and Redemption are ‘What Blooms from Dust’ in James Markert’s New Novel [REVIEW]

A huge dust storm moves across the land during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

A prodigal son. A child for sale. Both get a second chance in the midst of the 1930s Oklahoma Dust Bowl in James Markert’s What Blooms from Dust. (Photo courtesy US Department of Agriculture, Flickr)

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I have always loved survivor stories: those tales where people beat the odds, transform their lives, and wind up with something better. So it brings me great pleasure to bring you our latest Diamond Review title, James Markert’s What Blooms from Dust. In this redemptive story set against the 1930s Dust Bowl, we are introduced to what may likely become two of modern literature’s most unforgettable characters.
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Playwright and Author Deborah Levy Finds There Are Some ‘Things I Don’t Want to Know’ [REVIEW]

Deborah Levy

In her intimate new essay, Things I Don’t Want to Know, Deborah Levy takes a close look at what it means to be a woman writer in modern society. (Photo by Sheila Burnett)

Surprising things make her cry. Trips to Spain bring her peace. Notebooks hold her observations, even when she can’t recall why she records them in the first place. For novelist, playwright and poet Deborah Levy, writing is a very personal thing… especially as a woman. In her insightful and intimate new essay, Things I Don’t Want to Know, she reveals what it is like to be a female writer in today’s world.  Read more of this post

Martha Conway’s ‘The Underground River’ [EXCERPT]

Loading food on the Ohio

Cruising in a steamboat along the Ohio River, an actress and her cousin travel the border between the free North and the slave-holding South. (Photo by suemon123, Flickr)

 

Having lived along the banks of the Ohio River for more than a decade, I frequently heard stories about the Underground Railroad and how it ran through the area in the midst of the Civil War. Visitors to Cincinnati can learn much about this history by visiting the Harriet Beecher Stowe House (she’s the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center downtown (a visit here will change your life!). But until you can make the trek to one of these venues, you can lose yourself in the pages of an incredible new book by Martha Conway, The Underground River. To whet your appetite, here’s an exclusive excerpt from chapter one. Enjoy! —Jathan Read more of this post

Loud and Loving ‘Rainy Day Friends’ Give a New Widow a Second Chance at Life [REVIEW]

Paso Robles Vineyard

In Jill Shalvis’s new novel, Rainy Day Friends, a California winery offers a young widow a fresh start, a new career, and a family to call her own. (Photo by Harold Litwiler, Flickr)

When a shy young widow finally discovers the reason why her marriage to her late husband had never felt quite right, it rocks her to the core. Then a new job prospect at a winery in California’s Central Coast region appears on the horizon, and it offers her hope, a zany group of friends, and even a chance at love. But will she seize the day or run and hide from this new beginning? Find out in Jill Shalvis latest novel, Rainy Day Friends.  Read more of this post

Spirited Widow Courageously Pursues Dream to Paint ‘Midnight Blue’ [REVIEW]

Delftware in a window

A young woman with a dream. A past she has to escape. A talent that can’t be denied. Lose yourself in Simone van der Vlugt’s Midnight Blue. (Photo by Thomas, Flickr)

When her husband meets an untimely end, a young widow leaves the small village she’s lived in her entire life to reinvent herself in the big city. But try as she may, she can’t seem to outrun whispered rumors about why she really left. Will she ever escape the past and make her dreams of becoming a skilled artist a reality? Find out in Dutch author Simone van der Vlugt’s enchanting new novel, Midnight Blue.  Read more of this post