Epic Yarns in Teen Fiction

yarn, knitting needles

Back in the day knitting used to be grandmas making ugly, itchy sweaters that never fit right and that you never EVER wanted to wear in public. Now, thanks to the DIY revolution, I'm getting some of my favorite patterns from teens and there are at least two video games featuring yarn (Kirby's Epic Yarn […]

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Dancing Through Books

dancer's feet in tondue

When I was young, I dreamed of being a ballerina. Not in a casual way-- was serious about it. (And by serious, I mean sort of a little bit obsessed.) And to this day, I will immediately grab any book that is a tiny bit about dance. Pointe shoe on the cover? Done. Street dancers mid leap? […]

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Tough Broads

tough broads 1

It is with great pleasure that I welcome a new author to the mystery genre: Minerva Koenig. In Nine Days, she creates truly memorable characters and a quick-turn-that-page story. Julia Kalas is staring down forty and is not a completely socially acceptable dress size. An expert house renovator and remodeler, she is now in the federal witness protection […]

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Ladies of Dagenham, Unite!

We_Can_Do_It!

Rita O'Grady (Sally Hawkins) is nothing out of the ordinary, working at the Ford factory and raising her children with her husband in their blue-collar suburb of London in 1968.  O'Grady works in the all-female section of the plant sewing seat covers, along with 146 other women. What starts out as a dispute over job designation grows into […]

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The Problem With Virtue

farthing

Often when I read historical fiction, it seems that the 21st-Century world view is imported with the characters.  No more is this true than with the themes of sex and religion.  Fortunately, Marci Jefferson manages to avoid this pitfall in Girl on the Golden Coin. Young Frances Stuart, the protagonist, wishes only to make a good […]

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Hellenga and his Women

Galesburg

I picked up The Confessions of Frances Godwin by Robert Hellenga not entirely sure what to expect, but I thought a book in which a woman has conversations with God had to be at least somewhat interesting. I liked it even more than I thought I would. Frances does indeed talk to God (and He answers her back, […]

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Beware a Dashing Man

bras and books2

  England, 1961, is in a full post-colonial hangover. Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is sixteen and full of dreams of Paris and the wider world. She gets them for a brief time by becoming the girlfriend of an older man, David (Peter Sarsgaard). David is dashing, glamorous, good looking, and rich. How he gets his money is a bit unscrupulous, […]

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The Midwife of Venice and the Harem

Roberta Rich has written only two books so far, but I enjoyed both of them immensely. In The Midwife of Venice, Hannah Levi, a midwife of legendary skill and confined to the Jewish Ghetto, makes a decision to help a countess in natal distress. She takes along her "birthing spoons", a form of forceps, with her despite the […]

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Afghan Women Breaking the Mold

Afghan Women 3

Though the past decade and a half has brought enormous change to Kabul and other cities in Afghanistan, very little has changed in the villages, especially for women. Nadia Hashimi's The Pearl That Broke Its Shell tells the parallel stories of Shekiba, a woman at the turn of the last century, and her great-great-granddaughter Rahima just after […]

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Between the Unspeakable and the Unknowable

Israeli Menorah

After the Holocaust, many of the surviving European Jews went to British Palestine, soon to become the nation of Israel. However, the forces that destroyed their families often destroyed their vital documents as well, so those without official papers or family already in Palestine were put in detention camps until things could be sorted out.  Anita Diamant […]

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