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Click to search this book in our catalog Leah on the Offbeat
by Albertalli, Becky

Book list *Starred Review* Publishers say that historical fiction is a hard sell, and books with religion at their core are few and far between. Kudos, then, to Berry (All the Truth That's in Me, 2013) for creating a sweeping saga that not only deeply entwines both but also dissects its characters' humanity as it looks at the often troubling beliefs that underlay their actions. The story-within-a-story begins in 1290. A friar is gathering papers and testimonies that will show how the inquisitions here on the border of France and Spain were God's holy work. But one tale troubles him, so much so that he begins to stitch the strands together, and that is where the main story begins. Botille is a sassy teenager who makes money in her seaside village of Bajas by matchmaking. A disruptive childhood and a drunken father has bound Botille and her sisters closely together, but their lives are good: Plazensa runs the tavern, Botille makes her matches, and Sazia tells fortunes with uncanny accuracy. To the north, in Tolosos, there is another girl, Dolssa. Aristocratic by birth and a mystic by the grace of God, she spends her days with her beloved, Jesus, who wraps her in his murmurs and consumes her with his love. That much love cannot be contained, and Dolssa begins telling others how much her beloved cherishes all people. The simplicity of her message is seen by the inquisitors as a threat to the church, a devil's deception, and there is only one place it can end: in a public burning. Miraculously, Dolssa escapes the pyre. She wanders until she meets Botille, who saves and shelters her. This beautifully crafted plot would be enough on its own, but Berry does so much more. First, she establishes a convincing setting, in part by peppering the dialogue with Old Provençal language. Using many voices, some of which, including Botille and Dolssa, relate their own stories, she picks beneath words and actions to expose the motives of the heart, revealing how lofty ideas can turn into terrorizing actions, and how fear and self-preservation can make friends and neighbors turn on one another. Yet despite the book's gravity, Berry also manages to infuse her story with laughter and light welcome surprises. The final surprise awaiting readers at the book's conclusion adds yet another layer to the storytelling. Also at the book's end, Berry has included a wealth of back matter, a glossary, a list of characters (possibly of more help if placed at the book's beginning), and an author's note explaining the roots of the religious discord, inquisitions, and wars, and touching on such female mystics as Hildegard of Bingen, who is referenced in the novel. The beauty of historical fiction is that it brings to life long-ago times and places even as it shows how hopes, fears, and dreams remain constant across the ages. The strength of religious-centric novels is their revelation of the myriad ways people grapple with their faith and spirituality. The Passion of Dolssa's rich brew will leave readers thinking about all of these things, even as it profoundly influences their own struggles and questions.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Horn Book A (fictional) Catholic mystic, Dolssa de Stigata, escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 France; mostly, this is the story of Botille, an enterprising young matchmaker from a tiny fishing village who rescues Dolssa. Botille's spirited character, the heart-rending suspense of events, and the terrifying context of the Inquisition in medieval Europe all render the novel irresistibly compelling. Historical note appended. Bib., glos. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-This magnificent tale is set in post-Crusades 13th-century France. A pious young noblewoman blessed with the gift of healing, Dolssa de Stigata is judged a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church and sentenced to burn at the stake. Forced to watch her beloved mother burn first, Dolssa is surprised when someone cuts the ropes binding her hands and feet and implores her to run. Driven into hiding from the churchmen dispatched to track her down, Dolssa is found nearly dead from starvation and exhaustion by a young tavern keeper and matchmaker, Botille, who vows to protect the young heretic despite the danger posed to herself and her family. Unlikely allies, the girls unwittingly put an entire village at risk in their effort to stand up for their beliefs. The account is told in alternating voices by Dolssa, Botille, and Arnaut d'Avinhonet, a Dominican friar. This lush and compelling book is enhanced by brilliant narration by Jayne Entwistle, Allen Corduner, and Fiona Hardingham. Lucky listeners will be haunted by their voices long after the book concludes. VERDICT Highly recommended for all junior high and high school audio collections. ["An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries": SLJ 3/16 starred review of the Viking book.]-Lisa E. Hubler, Charles F. Brush High School, Lyndhurst, OH © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Botille is a matchmaker in the small seaside town of Bajas in medieval France. She struggles to run the family's tavern and keep her sisters and herself afloat. Dolssa is a young woman with a secret that she can't help but share-her lover is God, and she speaks to him regularly. When the two young women cross paths, both deep friendship and mortal peril await them. A beautifully rendered portrait of a little-known portion of history, this work is a meticulously researched piece of fiction. Yet it is not just in the accurate details that the novel shines. The strength and humanity of the almost entirely female set of characters are inspiring and well drawn. The panic and suspicion of post-Inquisition France is omnipresent, giving the story of a supposed heretic a constant edge of danger. As the novel slips in and out of magical realism, readers will be transported into Dolssa and Botille's world. VERDICT An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries.-Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter's Prep, Jersey City, NJ © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus A girl matchmaker in 13th-century southern France meets a mystic on the run from the Inquisition. A generation after the horrors of the Albigensian Crusade, the elders are still broken by memories of entire towns put to the sword, but the younger folk, such as Botille and her sisters, focus on the present. After a childhood on the run, the sisters seek stability in poverty-stricken Bajas: brewing ale, telling fortunes, and helping their neighbors. Bajas is depicted through a scattering of third- and first-person viewpoints (but primarily Botille's) as a town where all look out for one other as a matter of course, where goodness is found in prostitutes, fishermen, hustlers, and drunks. Bajas' generosity is challenged when Botille discovers Dolssa, an injured, spirit-shattered girl on the run. Dolssa's a convicted heretic for speaking publicly of her intimate relationship with "her beloved...Senhor Jhesus." She trails miracles like bread crumbs, from a never-emptying ale jug to repeated uncanny cures. The villagers venerate her, but the arrival of the Inquisitionin a world where branding and burnings are mild punishments compared to recent historyputs their goodness to the test. The slow build reveals Botille as a compelling, admirable young woman in a gorgeously built world that accepts miracles without question. The medieval Languedoc countryside is so believably drawn there's no need for the too-frequent italicized interjections in Old Provenal that pepper the narrative. Immersive and mesmerizing. (character list, historical note, glossary, bibliography) (Historical fantasy. 14-17) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Two young women-Botille, a tavern wench, and Dolssa, a noblewoman possibly in communion with God-form a deep bond in a world that seeks to destroy them. Berry has reimagined 13th-century France with vigor, from the small intricacies of daily village life to the brutal ruthlessness of the Inquisition. Readers looking for a work steeped in female friendship, mysticism, and blood, with extensive back matter to boot, will be well rewarded. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly When Botille Flasucra finds Dolssa de Stigata lying on a riverside close to death, she takes the stranger to her family's tavern. Botille, a young matchmaker, and her sisters nurse Dolssa back to health in secret-a Dominican friar obsessively hunts Dolssa, whom he condemned as a heretic to be burned at the stake. The year is 1241 in Provensa (now Provence), where the aftereffects of the Albigensian Crusade have led to an inquisition meant to rid the Christian world of heretics. Dolssa, however, feels called to heal the sick in the name of her beloved Jhesus, and her miracles eventually bring danger to the small town of Bajas. Berry (All the Truth That's in Me) again delivers an utterly original and instantly engrossing story. Drawing from meticulous historical research (highlighted in extensive back matter), she weaves a tense, moving portrait of these two teenage girls and their struggle to survive against insurmountable odds. Love, faith, violence, and power intertwine in Berry's lyrical writing, but Botille's and Dolssa's indomitable spirits are the heart of her story. Ages 12-up. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog At the Mountains Base
by Traci Sorell.

Book list A group of women gather in a cabin to sing and pray for the safe return of one of their kin, a pilot who is away at war. As their song reaches her, she too prays for the safety of her loved ones the women in the cabin at the base of the mountain. The well-crafted brevity of Sorell's poem belies the weight of the women's emotions and the significance of the topic being honored. We learn from the author's note that Native women have always held military roles: in intertribal conflicts, against European colonialism, and in the U.S. Armed Forces. With illustrations by award-winning comic artist Alvitre, a more powerful pairing of art and text is difficult to imagine. At the core of the poem is a grandma who is weaving. / And worrying. The strands of her weaving spin across the pages, framing panels of stunningly detailed and realistic renderings of the mountain, the cabin, and the women's faces. Sorell and Alvitre invite readers to think about intergenerational connections, the power of love, and the juxtaposition of vulnerability and strength that the women embody. With a message that is universal while also centering on Native women, this blend of fiction and nonfiction, the human and the divine, is simply brilliant.--Amina Chaudhri Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus The engaging tale of a Native woman in the military during World War II.A Cherokee family sits around a hearth in a cabin in the woods. They are weaving and thinking of their female family member who is enlisted in the military. She flies a support plane, exhibiting courage as she hopes for safety and a return to peace. The text is simple and circular: As the family prays for their warrior, she is depicted in her plane, remembering and praying for them. With her colorful illustrations, Alvitre (Tongva/Scots-Gaelic) introduces an effective visual theme, depicting the connection between weaving and meditation as threads loop and twine through the artwork. The author is Cherokee, which may be the reason she makes the family in her story the same, but it makes for a bit of a disconnect when the author's note informs readers that the story is based on that of Oglala Lakota pilot Ola Mildred Rexroat, "the only Native woman among 1,074 Women Air Force Service Pilots in World War II." Still, the meditative text is lovely, and the artwork brings the small Cherokee abode to life with warmth and love. Children will find comfort in the story's repetition as well as its message of prayer and peace.A Cherokee family's worry for their loved one at war reminds readers of the sacrifices made by Natives in our military. (Picture book. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In an author’s note, Sorell (We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga), who is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, explains that Native women have served in the U.S. Armed Forces “at proportionately higher rates than all other Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard Servicemembers.” In this lullaby-like poem, she imagines the Cherokee family of one such woman. The lines join with an incantatory rhythm: “At the mountain’s base/ grows a hickory tree. Beneath this sits a cabin./ In that cabin” a grandmother weaves with help from younger women and a small girl. The women, “tending and singing,” praise a missing family member: a WWII military pilot flying a combat mission. Alvitre (Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream), who is Tongva/Scots-Gaelic, paints her in her cockpit above the clouds as her thoughts circle back to her family: “Within that pilot/ forms a prayer,/ pleading for peace./ Because at the mountain’s base,/ beneath the hickory tree” awaits her beloved family. High above, with flowing hair and outstretched arms, the figure of a larger-than-life entity watches over the family and the pilot. Sorell honors an Oglala Lakota pilot and holds up her courage in this expansive, intimate picture book. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal K-Gr 3—A military family awaits the return of their loved one in this lyrical tribute to modern warrior women. At the mountain's base, beneath a hickory tree, sits a cabin, and inside, next to a cozy stove, a grandmother weaves and prays, surrounded by family members singing. Within their song, a pilot flies into danger seeking peace, and Sorell's simple yet poetic text circles back to the family in the cabin, huddled together, "waiting for her return." Individual color strands woven throughout Alvitre's watercolor and ink illustrations come together to form a striking tapestry encircling the cabin, linking its inhabitants to the pilot. Generous white space and colorful frames focus attention on the connections between the human figures. An afterword summarizes the achievements of Indigenous women in the armed forces and briefly mentions the career of Ola Mildred Rexroat, an Oglala Lakota pilot and member of the WASPs in World War II. VERDICT Accessible to a wide range of young audiences and military families, this picture book is also a unique and specific recognition of the strength and courage of Indigenous women. A first-purchase for any library.—Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Hennepin County Library, MN

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Finding Winnie: The True Story of the Worlds Most Famous Bear
by Lindsay Mattick

Publishers Weekly Mattick is the great-granddaughter of Capt. Harry Colebourn, the Canadian veterinarian who set all things Winnie-the-Pooh in motion: while en route to join his unit during WWI, Harry rescued an orphaned bear cub from a trapper (it cost him $20) and named her Winnipeg (Winnie for short), after his hometown. She accompanied Harry to England and became the mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade. Knowing Winnie couldn't follow him to France, Harry arranged for a new home for her at London Zoo, where a boy named Christopher Robin discovered her, and the rest is literary history. Framed as a bedtime story that Mattick tells her toddler son, Cole (who interjects questions such as "Is twenty dollars a lot?"), the book strikes a lovely, understated tone of wonder and family pride. It also suits Blackall (A Fine Dessert) to a T. While her work usually has a strong streak of fantasy, or at least ethereal otherworldliness, she proves that she's equally imaginative at chronicling straight-on reality, too. Ages 3-6. Author's agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. Illustrator's agent: Nancy Gallt, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-This sweet tale of the black bear that inspired the legendary children's book character Winnie-the-Pooh will resonate with readers. In the framing story, a mother tells her son, Cole, a bedtime tale about how veterinarian Harry Colebourn, a young Canadian soldier on his way to train and fight in Europe during World War I, stumbled upon a baby black bear that he bought off a trapper at a train depot. Colebourn named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, a gentle reminder of his hometown, and took the bear with him to England. Winnie quickly became the mascot of his unit. But when the time came to ship out to France for combat, Colebourn left his beloved pet in the capable hands of the London Zoo. Later, Milne and his son, Christopher Robin, visited the London Zoo and Christopher Robin took an immediate shine to Winnie, developing an unusually strong bond with the animal and even playing with her in her enclosure. The boy imagined all sorts of adventures for Winnie, which became the basis for the now-famous stories written by Milne. Washes of muted colors convey a cozy cheeriness that imbues the book with warmth and comfort, while occasional interjections from young Cole add to the fun. Blackall's characters are rosy-cheeked and expressive, while Winnie is curious and whimsical. A perfect melding of beautiful art with soulful, imaginative writing, this lovely story, penned by Colebourn's great-great granddaughter, is ideal for sharing aloud or poring over individually. VERDICT Children everywhere will enjoy this tale for years. A must-have.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Mattick's family ties to Winnie-the-Pooh form the backbone of her cozy debut. Framed as Mattick telling a bedtime story to her young son, Cole, her tale begins in 1914 in Canada, when veterinarian Harry Colebourn, her own great-grandfather, sets off to join the war in Europe. A fateful whistle-stop encounter with a gentle bear cub begins the historic friendship, when Colebourn buys the cub for 20 dollars. Though officers in Colebourn's division were initially aghast that he would bring a wild animal along, they were quickly won over by her irrepressible charm (and appetite), and the bear, named Winnipeg after their hometown, became the division's mascot. Winnie accompanied the soldiers all the way to England, where Colebourn eventually took Winnie to the London Zoo. There Christopher Robin met Winnie and the rest is literary history. Blackall's warm, beautiful gouache-and-ink illustrations capture an impressive depth of feeling, even in relatively simplified faces. The visuals not only complement the fablelike cadences of Mattick's text but also include subtle details that enrich the story the opening pages, for instance, recall a storybook forest before melting into the surroundings of Cole's bedroom, where he hears the story of Colebourn and Winnie. Little ones who love A. A. Milne's classic stories will be enchanted by this heartening account of the bear's real-life origins.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Rough Sleepers
by Tracy Kidder

Kirkus Noted long-form journalist Kidder rides along as clinicians try to serve one of Boston’s most marginalized populations. The term rough sleeper is not used much in American English. It’s a borrowing from the British way of describing the people who sleep where sleep is not intended: doorways, sidewalks, culverts, etc. Kidder’s hero, Dr. James Joseph O’Connell, has spent decades with volunteer and paid workers driving in a medicine- and supply-stuffed van to the places where this population gathers. Many of the rough sleepers are mentally ill or addicts. Most are White, perhaps because, as O’Connell ventures, “the Black and Latino communities are more willing than Boston’s white world to harbor their homeless.” In any event, “once people have fallen to living on the streets, they have reached a certain horrible equality.” Against the work of O’Connell and his Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program stand an array of bureaucrats and the police, who regularly roust the homeless from their camps and nooks, forcing them to find even less hospitable places to survive the night. O’Connell, now well past retirement age, is the tutelary angel of the piece, but many lesser heroes work around the clock to save lives and treat the downtrodden with dignity. The job is thankless and endless. As O’Connell’s mentor told him, “We’re way down on the solution scale,” and indeed, finding a solution to homelessness is a sociological and economic problem more than a medical one. For all that, said one worker, O’Connell keeps on trying: “This is really about accountability, system design, performance. Until that’s fixed, Jim is basically standing at the bottom of a cliff, trying to save people.” Sometimes he succeeds, but too often, for reasons institutional and personal, some people can’t and won’t be saved, and many who can be will slip between the cracks. A searching, troubling look at the terrible actualities of homelessness. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Pulitzer winner Kidder (A Truck Full of Money) spotlights in this poignant account the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, “the country’s largest medical system wholly devoted to the care of homeless people.” At the center of the narrative is Jim O’Connell, the program’s founding physician and organizer of its Street Team, which ministers to people who shun shelters and live “mainly outside or in makeshift quarters.” According to Kidder, the Health Care for the Homeless Program works against the grain of corporate medicine by emphasizing continuity of care and the importance of listening attentively to and spending time with homeless people. Interwoven with O’Connell’s story are those of his patients, including Tony Columbo, who spent 18 years in prison for sexual assault and struggles with substance abuse and mental disorders. Drawing on five years’ worth of reporting, Kidder vividly portrays life on the streets and in the program’s health clinics, and sheds light on various legal and policy matters, though the focus is less on the institutional forces that contribute to chronic homelessness than on the individual lives it touches. Keenly observed and fluidly written, this is a compassionate report from the front lines of one of America’s most intractable social problems. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. A lavish middle-grade novel, Gaiman's first since Coraline, this gothic fantasy almost lives up to its extravagant advance billing. The opening is enthralling: There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. Evading the murderer who kills the rest of his family, a child roughly 18 months old climbs out of his crib, bumps his bottom down a steep stairway, walks out the open door and crosses the street into the cemetery opposite, where ghosts take him in. What mystery/horror/suspense reader could stop here, especially with Gaiman's talent for storytelling? The author riffs on the Jungle Book, folklore, nursery rhymes and history; he tosses in werewolves and hints at vampires—and he makes these figures seem like metaphors for transitions in childhood and youth. As the boy, called Nobody or Bod, grows up, the killer still stalking him, there are slack moments and some repetition—not enough to spoil a reader's pleasure, but noticeable all the same. When the chilling moments do come, they are as genuinely frightening as only Gaiman can make them, and redeem any shortcomings. Ages 10–up. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Gr 5–8—Somewhere in contemporary Britain, "the man Jack" uses his razor-sharp knife to murder a family, but the youngest, a toddler, slips away. The boy ends up in a graveyard, where the ghostly inhabitants adopt him to keep him safe. Nobody Owens, so named because he "looks like nobody but himself," grows up among a multigenerational cast of characters from different historical periods that includes matronly Mistress Owens; ancient Roman Caius Pompeius; an opinionated young witch; a melodramatic hack poet; and Bod's beloved mentor and guardian, Silas, who is neither living nor dead and has secrets of his own. As he grows up, Bod has a series of adventures, both in and out of the graveyard, and the threat of the man Jack who continues to hunt for him is ever present. Bod's love for his graveyard family and vice versa provide the emotional center, amid suspense, spot-on humor, and delightful scene-setting. The child Bod's behavior is occasionally too precocious to be believed, and a series of puns on the name Jack render the villain a bit less frightening than he should be, though only momentarily. Aside from these small flaws, however, Gaiman has created a rich, surprising, and sometimes disturbing tale of dreams, ghouls, murderers, trickery, and family.—Megan Honig, New York Public Library

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd

Publishers Weekly Sarah and Handful Grimke split the narration in Kidd's third novel, set in pre-Civil War Charleston, S.C., and along an abolitionist lecture circuit in New England. Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees) is no stranger to strong female characters. Here, her inspiration is the real Sarah Grimke, daughter of an elite Charleston family, who fought for abolition and women's rights. Handful, Kidd's creation, is Sarah's childhood handmaid. The girls are friends. Sarah teaches Handful to read, and proclaims loudly at dinner that she opposes slavery. However, after being severely punished, she abandons her aspirations-for decades. Time passes, and Handful is given the freedoms she was formerly denied. The book's scope of 30-plus years contributes to a feeling of plodding in the middle section. Particularly insufferable is the constant allusion, by both women, to a tarnished button that symbolizes perseverance. But Kidd rewards the patient reader. Male abolitionists, preachers, and Quakers repeatedly express sexist views, and in this context, Sarah's eventual outspokenness is incredibly satisfying to read. And Handful, after suffering a horrific punishment, makes an invaluable contribution to an attempted slave rebellion. Bolstered by female mentors, Kidd's heroines finally act on Sarah's blunt realization: "We can do little for the slave as long as we're under the feet of men." Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, WME Entertainment. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Inspired by the true story of early-nineteenth-century abolitionist and suffragist Sarah Grimke, Kidd paints a moving portrait of two women inextricably linked by the horrors of slavery. Sarah, daughter of a wealthy South Carolina plantation owner, exhibits an independent spirit and strong belief in the equality of all. Thwarted from her dreams of becoming a lawyer, she struggles throughout life to find an outlet for her convictions. Handful, a slave in the Grimke household, displays a sharp intellect and brave, rebellious disposition. She maintains a compliant exterior, while planning for a brighter future. Told in first person, the chapters alternate between the two main characters' perspectives, as we follow their unlikely friendship (characterized by both respect and resentment) from childhood to middle age. While their pain and struggle cannot be equated, both women strive to be set free Sarah from the bonds of patriarchy and Southern bigotry, and Handful from the inhuman bonds of slavery. Kidd is a master storyteller, and, with smooth and graceful prose, she immerses the reader in the lives of these fascinating women as they navigate religion, family drama, slave revolts, and the abolitionist movement. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Beginning with her phenomenally successful debut, The Secret Life of Bees (2002), Kidd's novels have found an intense readership among library patrons, who will be eager to get their hands on her latest one.--Price, Kerri Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Women played a large role in the fledgling abolitionist movement preceding the Civil War by several decades but were shushed by their male compatriots if they pointed out their own subservient status. One of several recent novels noting the similarity between women having few rights and slaves having none in the pre-Civil War American South (others include Marlen Suyapa Bodden's The Wedding Gift and Jessica Maria Tuccelli's Glow), Monk's (The Secret Life of Bees) compelling work of historical fiction stands out from the rest because of its layers of imaginative details of the lives of actual abolitionists from Charleston, SC-Sarah and Angelina Grimke-and Handful, a young slave in their family home. With her far more desperate desire for freedom, Handful steals the story from the two freethinking sisters while they wrestle with their consciences for years, still bound by society's strictures. VERDICT This richly imagined narrative brings both black history and women's history to life with an unsentimental story of two women who became sisters under the skin-Handful, a slave in body whose mind roves freely and widely, and "owner" Sarah, whose mind is shackled by family and society. [See Prepub Alert, 7/8/13.]-Laurie Cavanaugh, Holmes P.L., Halifax, MA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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