Perkins, Lynnne Rae. All Alone in the Universe.

NY: Greenwillow Books, 1999.

What does a twelve-year-old girl do when her best friend since Third Grade sudden begins spending most of her time hanging out with someone else? Someone the protagonist doesn’t even much like?

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Published in: on 16 April 2012 at 5:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Heyer, Georgette. Charity Girl.

NY: Dutton, 1970.

This is one of the author’s later Regency romances (her next-to-last one, in fact) and while it’s not nearly her best, it’s not bad at all. It could also practically be titled “Regency Road Trip.” Charity Steane (but who prefers to be called “Cherry”) has the misfortune to be the daughter of a con man and wastrel who essentially abandoned her to a private school when she was small — and then neglected to pay the bills.

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Published in: on 5 October 2011 at 11:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Byatt, A. S. The Shadow of the Sun.

NY: Harcourt, 1964.

Sometimes, a young writer’s first novel is a blockbuster, a runaway bestseller. (This seems more likely to be the case when its style is heavily cinematic.) And this is unfortunate, in a way, because any subsequent work then has a sort of doom hanging over it for its author: Will the next one be as good as my first book? More often, though, for a “literary” author, the first book is likely to be a bit tentative, just a toe in the water. Then the work improves and draws more attention as the corpus grows. Practice makes perfect.

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Published in: on 10 May 2011 at 5:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Robinson, Peter. Bad Boy.

NY: Morrow, 2010.

Twenty-three years ago, this author began a series of detective novels set in the Yorkshire Dales in the north of Britain (a region Londoners traditionally regard as being not far from the edge of the Earth), featuring a prickly, mavericky detective inspector named Alan Banks. He was a sort-of refugee from London himself, facing burnout after a series of physically wearing and emotionally draining cases, and hoping for some kind of redemption Up North. He arrived with a wife and two small children and set about learning the local ropes, which were quite different from the South. Even though I’m a “professional” reader, I somehow only discovered the series myself about three years ago and was almost immediately captivated by the character of now DCI Banks and the supporting players, by the author’s view of the Dales (he’s originally from there, of course), and by the cases with which the police force of Eastvale and environs have had to deal. (more…)

Published in: on 26 November 2010 at 6:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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