Who Was Mata Hari?

Mata Hari

With the recent publication of Mata Hari's Last Dance, Michelle Moran expertly paints fiction between what we know for sure about the famed dancer, courtesan, and terribly inept spy. Born Margaretha Zelle in Holland, Mata Hari chose her stage name upon coming to Paris after a miserable youth. Teaming up with the ambitious lawyer/agent Edouard Clunet, she […]

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Tough Broads 3: Broads In Space

Peggy Whitson

Are you a fan of captains Kathryn Janeway and Susan Ivanova? Think Rey may be the best new character in a galaxy far, far away? Then there are books to keep you occupied between installments. These are the newest in the tradition of female derring-do among the stars. K.B. Wagers' Behind the Throne stars Hail Bristol, heir […]

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Neo-Southern Gothic

Peacock

While the term "Southern Gothic" may bring to mind Carson McCullers and Flannery O'Connor, there are writers working now that are of close if not equal quality. What is Southern Gothic? Along with occurring south of the Mason-Dixon Line, it often concerns misfits, creepy situations, and sinister events caused by poverty, violence, or faults in the characters' […]

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Tudor Queens

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As Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her birthday last weekend, it might be fun to take a look at her female predecessors on the throne, especially the mightiest of them all: the Tudor queens. Alison Weir made her name writing biographies of English royals, including the excellent The Life of Elizabeth I. Her new fictional series, […]

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Love and War: Novels of World War II

WWII Women

Nothing in the 20th century seems to capture the imagination quite like the Second World War. Lots of books have been written by and about men, but there are also some very good books written by and featuring women. These are just a few of the most recent. Martha Hall Kelly has never written a […]

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Books for Opera Buffs

Civic Opera 1

Chicago Lyric Opera recently announced its next season, and while only subscriptions are currently on sale (tickets for individual performances become available in July), this is a good time to look at recent novels that involve operas and those who sing them. The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee is as full of drama and incident […]

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Books and Beats Inspired by Beyoncé’s Lemonade: Magical YA Fiction

Source: hilarycl, morgueFile

This post is the second in the series Books and Beats Inspired by Beyoncé's Lemonade. If you still can't stop talking about Lemonade, you're not alone. Beyoncé's latest album is a pop music masterpiece, packed with star-studded cameos; eclectic samples of poetry, historic speeches and home videos; killer fashion and a distinct aesthetic. Love the way the style of Lemonade […]

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New Releases Honoring Charlotte Brontë

Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain

April 21, 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth. Perhaps one of the most celebrated authors of the 19th century, students today are still reading her beloved classic Jane Eyre.  If you didn't have the pleasure of reading Jane Eyre in English class, don't fret, publishers have recently released more contemporary works inspired by […]

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Women of Terrible Virtue

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger came by her beliefs honestly. After watching her mother suffer through nearly 20 pregnancies and listening to her ex-Catholic father's radical speeches (often at the neighborhood watering hole), she took up the cause of women controlling their own sexuality and fertility. Ellen Feldman's biographical novel, Terrible Virtue, captures her zeal. Told mostly in […]

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Tough Broads 3

Desert Hwy 1

Minerva Koenig's sequel to Nine Days, South of Nowhere, is out, to which I say, hooray! Julie Kalas is renovating a house while recovering from stab wounds inflicted by the woman she bought the house from when she discovers a mummified corpse in the heating chase. Must be time for a very long vacation in, say, […]

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