Novels Both Contemporary And Historical
Arliss Ryan gives readers a different perspective on the life of William Shakespeare in “The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare” (NAL Trade Paperback, $15).
Some scholars have opined that many works attributed to Shakespeare were written by Anne or perhaps Ben Jonson. That’s something that will likely never been known for sure, but Ryan’s historical novel takes the view that Anne, Shakespeare’s wife, did indeed either write or co-write some of her husband’s plays.
The engaging novel gives readers a version of the life of a woman barely mentioned in history.
Another novel with a historical bent is “My Name Is Mary Sutter,” by Robin Oliveira (Penguin, $15). Oliveira’s debut novel received rave reviews when it was published in hardcover last year, and it’s easy to see why.
Mary Sutter, a midwife like her mother before her, wants more. She wants to be a surgeon, but getting a real doctor to take her under his wing for study doesn’t seem to be in the cards — until the Civil War begins. Willing to start out as a nurse, she soon endears herself to one of the surgeons and finds herself assisting in amputations and more. But her decision to stay and work at the hospital instead of going home to help with her sister’s confinement may backfire.
Heather Newton’s debut novel, “Under the Mercy Trees” (Harper, $13.99), is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Martin Owenby, who has been living in New York City, trying to be a playwright (and pretty much failing), is called home after his older brother, Leon, goes missing. For Martin, returning to the small town of Solace Fork is tough. This story is told through the eyes of Martin, his family and his old friends, including Liza, the girl they all thought he would marry. It’s a fascinating tale woven with care. Newton will be at The Country Bookshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, to discuss her book.
“The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted” by Bridget Asher (Bantam Books Trade Paperback, $15) is another great read. After the death of her husband, Heidi’s mother, who is worried that her daughter is not moving on with her life, convinces Heidi to travel to the south of France to a little cottage that has belonged to the family for many years. Against her better judgment, Heidi takes her 7-year-old son and 16-year-old niece and heads over, never expecting that she might find love again.
This book was difficult to put down once I started reading.
Contact Faye M. Dasen at email@example.com or (910) 693-2475.
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