New Friendships, Old Trauma: Book review of Tess and Tattoos, a short story by H. A. Leuschel
Tess and Tattoos by H. A. Leuschel is a short story whose thematic concerns revolve around the figure of Tess, a cultured woman in her eighties who resides in a Scottish care home, and whose life is reaching its end. Lonely and isolated, she strives to preserve her independence and dignity, but is haunted by her troubled past and a sense of a life wasted. Tess is a well-drawn, sympathetic character and the environment of the care home and its gardens is competently realized.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Book review of The Anarchist Thing to Do, a novel by Michael Raship
Michael Raship’s first novel, The Anarchist Thing to Do, is an accomplished, delightful and engrossing book, full of gentle comedy, sadness and hope. Its story parallels the social changes spanning the 1960s to the 1980s within the United States, as revealed in the evolution of a radical anarchist family of hippies: parents Kaye and Horton, children Skye and Jude.
A Burning Rage: Book review of Fires, a novel by Tom Ward
Novel titles are seldom as apt as Tom Ward’s Fires, which follows Guy, a firefighter in a town dominated by its vast steelworks, and Nathan and his friends, teenage arsonists whose lives are otherwise foreclosed by poverty, corruption and ‘the system’. Guy and Nathan’s paths eventually cross in expected and unexpected ways – most of them fiery – in an intermittently compelling narrative suffused with anger and loss.
No Way Home: Book review of A Mentor and Her Muse, a novel by Susan Sage
‘I wouldn’t classify what I did as a crime, rather as a sort of vigilante justice’, proclaims the intriguing opening line of A Mentor and Her Muse. Thus are we introduced to the moral and emotional uncertainties that haunt schoolteacher Maggie, the story’s central protagonist. They also haunt the novel itself, for good and ill.
Striving to Deliver: Book review of Deliverance, a novel by Miantae Metcalf McConnell
The front cover of Deliverance proclaims Mary Fields (c. 1832–1914), the putative subject of the novel, ‘First African American Woman Star Route Mail Carrier in the United States’. The cover also announces that this is ‘A Montana History’.
Mary Fields had been born into slavery and was only freed with Abolition. She must have been a woman of great determination and perseverance, for she won the respect and friendship of the communities she served, and was an independent businesswoman. ‘Black Mary’, as she was known by many, even became the ‘mascot’ of a local baseball team. She did not become an employee of the US Post Office; rather, in common with other persons, she was contracted to deliver the mail on a specified route based on her initial bid, her guarantees and her dependability. In 1885 Mary was awarded the contract to deliver mail from Cascade, Montana to St Peter’s Mission.
I write literary and contemporary fiction: novels and short stories.
I also write book reviews and blog about writing, publishing and indie authors.
My career is in publishing: writing, copyediting, project management, both in-house and as a freelancer.