Elevate Difference

Reviews of Unbridled Books

Reading Lips: A Memoir of Kisses

Let the whole world put on a pair of rubber gloves and plunder and pillage. We have no secrets any longer. We have become public property. Women who write about their lives face challenges that male writers do not. Not only are women charged with writing about their own lives, with creating selfhood on paper, they are somehow additionally responsible for upholding the idea of womanhood. In this way, they bear the responsibility for representing, and in a sense, for creating the lives of all women. (Considering the diversity of possible identities which women take on for themselves, this is at the very least, a difficult task.)

Stranger Here Below

Stranger Here Below tells the stories of three generations of women whose lives are connected by a single institution and a changing America. Amazing Grace “Maze” Jansen and Mary Elizabeth “M. E.” Cox meet at Berea College in Kentucky in 1961. Maze is a poor white mountain girl and M. E. is one of just a few African American students at the college. The young women come from difficult backgrounds and both have mothers who have struggled.

The Singer’s Gun

Emily St. John Mandel’s book The Singer’s Gun sounds like a paperback thriller, but in a pleasant surprise, delights the reader with a still and quiet prose and a keen eye for the details that uncover the interconnectedness of all our lives. Beautiful images of ancient trees and Mediterranean utopias find a home with New York’s summer heat and the sticky lives of its characters.

Angel and Apostle

Deborah Noyes’s Angel and Apostle, styled as a sequel to The Scarlet Letter, is a fascinating journey and an interesting effort to flesh out the life of a child attempting to live under the shadow of shame, guilt, and community exile.


Captivity is a historical novel based on the true story of the Fox sisters, who claimed they could communicate with the dead. Able to convince a group of people of their abilities, they garnered a following that would grow to become a religious movement known as American Spiritualism, or simply Spiritualism.

31 Hours

Following the event, I promised myself I would never read "a 9/11 book," fiction or not. Having admitted that, I can't explain what exactly led me to almost eagerly pick up John Updike's Terrorist in the year it was published, save for the vague hope that this was a writer who could help make some sense out of a senseless situation.


Upon receiving my copy of Vanishing, Candida Lawrence’s writing was relatively new to me. The fourth offering in a series of standalone memoirs, Lawrence’s stories cover various stages in her life, from childhood father-daughter power struggles to marriage and child-rearing to aging. Her writing covers a vast array of life experiences and the resulting emotions.  Lawrence vividly describes experiences that have happened to many other women.

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is the type of book that serves as a virtual passport allowing the reader to travel from one reality into another. The story is set in Washington, D.C. and Mexico City at a time when America was in the throes of civil war and Mexico was struggling to find its own place in the world under the reign of Archduke Maximilian von Habsburg.

Last Night in Montreal

Emily St. John Mandel’s premier novel, Last Night in Montreal, is a cocktail of neurotic travel, obsession, and misunderstandings. As a child, Lilia Albert’s father abducted her and crossed the Canadian-American border, taking her away from her mother and half-brother. Once in America, they never live in one city for too long for fear of being caught by the police. Most of Lilia’s childhood takes place in a series of road trips, aliases, and motel rooms.