Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged novel

The Pregnant Widow

I’m so upset that I’m not at Hay Festival right now. Because the lineup looks phenomenal. Not only is Stephen Fry doing a talk, but Zadie Smith and Martin Amis are both on the lineup.

Half Life

Love stories aren’t really my thing, but Roopa Farooki’s newest novel, Half Life, shows many shades of love in a way that warms the heart, wets the eye, and expands the mind. The book opens with Aruna Ahmed Jones’ seemingly crazy and impulsive decision to leave her year-old marriage.


Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado is the novel made for re-reading. There are continual twists and turns and questions about the nature of fiction writing that immediately attune one to the constructed nature of the textual landscape.

A Thread of Sky

Six Chinese American female characters form the main narrative perspectives of Deanna Fei’s ambitious first novel, A Thread of Sky. There is family matriarch Lin Yulan, once a revolutionary for the nationalist party in China, and her daughters Irene and Susan.

The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl is like a multilayered Flemish painting or tapestry. On the surface, it’s the story of the marriage of two painters, Clara and Einar. However, Einar Wegener was the first male to undergo successful gender affirming surgery.

Letter to My Daughter

I admit that I am influenced by book titles in my choice of books to read. In that sense, Letter to My Daughter was somewhat off putting for me. I was expecting a somewhat predictable story of a mother writing a letter to her daughter.

The Tricking of Freya

The Tricking of Freya is a multi-generational family story narrated by a girl named Freya Morris, following her life from early childhood through middle age. Freya grows up in suburban Connecticut, but her heart lives in a small village called Gimli, the Canadian settlement of her Icelandic ancestors. In Gimli, her family is revered as the descendants of two of Iceland’s best-loved poets.


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.

Dark Heart of the Night

The gross reality of genocide brings one’s spirit to feel a deep sadness for groups and individuals who don't understand different cultures. Delineating a brutal world of power and defeat, the author of Dark Heart of the Night doesn't hold back and the shocking truth of this topic engenders an incredulous curiosity in the reader: how can a village not support their people, even those who are related to some in the village?

All the Living

It doesn’t take much of a search to learn that All the Living by C. E. Morgan has been very well-reviewed. The story itself is simple: girl and boy meet; event pushes them toward a commitment neither of them had thought through; life gets rough and someone thinks about finding a way out; a certain kind of intimate conversation between girl and boy becomes possible as a result of the difficulties they learn to endure together.

The Spare Room

Many of us love our friends just as much as our family members. We often believe we would go to great lengths to protect them, as does Helen, the narrator of The Spare Room.

Jesus Boy

Star-crossed intergenerational love between a Christian matriarch and a young church pianist sounds like an unlikely fictional masterpiece, but in Jesus Boy, Preston L.

The Lacuna

A Barbara Kingsolver novel can often be defined in just one word: captivating. In her first work of fiction in nearly a decade, The Lacuna delivers (in true Kingsolver style) with intricate characters, potent settings, and a sturdy construction built on extensive research.

Secrets of Eden

Like Midwives and The Double Bind, Chris Bohjalian's newest suspense novel, Secrets of Eden, was (no exaggeration) nearly impossible for me to put down.


Damaged epitomizes a feeling of darkness and reeling loss with an utterly profound yet utterly hopeful ending. Continually faced with ongoing loss and disappointment, protagonist Camille Logan deals with a progression of horrifying moments, save for a small light of a boyfriend who seemingly will do anything for her.

Hotel Iris

Having been forced to drop out of school to work at her family's seaside hotel in Japan, a young woman named Mari suffers through days marked by routine. She cleans rooms, minds the desk, and attends to the needs of the guests. The novel Hotel Iris explores what happens when a girl breaks free of a life of controlled repetition, only to fall victim to an even more brutal cycle of submission and domination.

Song Over Quiet Lake

In Song Over Quiet Lake, Sarah Felix Burns tells several intertwining stories of loss, love, and healing. The novel centers on an unlikely friendship between a young white woman, Sylvia, and a Tlingit elder, Lydie Jim. Both are students at the University of British Columbia, and they meet when Sylvia is assigned to be Lydie’s tutor.


The latest novel from Canadian author Betty Jane Hegerat, Delivery is a story about the bonds that attach mother, daughter, and granddaughter. It’s about the stark choices that women have to make when facing an unanticipated pregnancy and an abrupt mid-life transition.

The Last River Child

The Last River Child is the story of a town caught up in a legend: they believe there are children possessed by the spirit of the river meant to bring misfortune to everything around them. Everyone is taught to stay away from the river, but a young girl named Peg feels drawn to the river and refuses to believe the story.

How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly

The title of Connie May Fowler’s novel How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly comes close to saying it all. It is the story of a thirty-five-year-old woman’s inner struggle for independence and self-acceptance, which she slowly succeeds at achieving over the course of one single day—the summer solstice of 2006. The novel takes place in the hot, sticky forests and savannas of northern Florida, and it starts as one imagines the weather might feel.

The Lotus Eaters

When I read a book that keeps me enthralled to the final page, that is so absorbing I have to tear myself away from it, I find myself amazed (and envious) that anyone can be so gifted. That’s how I felt after reading The Lotus Eaters. Having attended my share of writing seminars, I realize you can’t really soar as a writer until you have truly mastered the craft; however, some writers seem to have talent that defies reason.

The Pistachio Seller

“How does a woman fall in love?” The opening line of Reem Bassiouney’s The Pistachio Seller is dangerously full of clichéd melodrama and trite gender assumptions; however, Bassiouney avoids these pitfalls by presenting complicated characters who exhibit the complexity of religion, love, and belief. Bassiouney explains the significance of the pistachio in an Author’s Note, which reveals the historical significance of the pistachio and ties the nut to a very

Remarkable Creatures

I'm a huge fan of Tracy Chevalier. Like a lot of people, I began with Girl with a Pearl Earring, and have since made my way through all but one of her other books. So of course I leapt at the chance to sample her newest offering. Like all her books, Remarkable Creatures begins with something tangible.

My Estonia: Passport Forgery, Meat Jelly Eaters, and Other Stories

Long Island native Justin Petrone, like many young people, wanted to shake up his life after graduating from college. He wasn’t sure how, but he managed to do it in a big way. My Estonia tells his true story of a life-altering year of love and timeliness. “Finland really was my last hope.


The dark psyche of greed gone wild is at the heart of Uptown. In this energetic and sexy page turner of a story about the high stakes world of Manhattan real estate, winners take all—but the price turns out to be far more than they negotiated for...

Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story

Traveling With Pomegranates tells the two parallel stories of its authors, a mother and daughter. The two women learn about themselves while abroad in Greece and France, as well as in their respective homes in South Carolina. Ann comes to terms with her disappointment in receiving a rejection letter from the only affordable school offering a Master's degree in Greek history.

Abby and Jules

Early in Lia Quince’s novel Abby and Jules, adolescent protagonist Abby steps onto a street in Beijing on her own for the first time. She is conflicted, carrying both the naïve adolescent confidence that she can survive alone in any city and the awareness that she is a white woman in China. The swirl of teenage emotions is thoughtfully captured. Unfortunately, this one moment is the high point of the novel.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Some of the best American literature tells the story of the immigrant experience. Numerous writers have written about the sense of loss both material and psychological that comes with leaving your country and everything that is familiar to start a new life. Many of the characters in these novels never seem completely at home in their new land, but they soldier on for economic reasons, or because they’re committed to making a life in this new world Equally compelling is the story of first-generation Americans who have one foot in the modern world and one foot in the past.

Shark Girls

Shark Girls presents the reader with something horrific, and turns it into something humane. When a shark attacks eight-year-old Willa, her older sister Scat realizes that their lives are about to shift. At school, Scat becomes the one made fun of, because her peers don’t know what to do with the traumatic situation, but they know it would be mean to make fun of the victim of a shark attack.

One Amazing Thing

One Amazing Thing is one amazing set of well-woven characters and stories.