The Writing Circle

November 22nd. 2010

Finished a novel recommended on an agent’s blog, The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas. The characters in this novel were, if nothing else, hauntingly memorable. Anita Shreve writes an endorsement, and it’s important to say if you like Anita Shreve’s style of writing, drama, and resolution, you’ll love this book. Ms. Demas has a stylish hand when it comes to paring down a scene or a motivation to its bare bones and letting it poke you. This story, told from many different POVs, is a collection of interior and exterior reactions to events that are remarkably linked. It’s the seven laws of Kevin Bacon in 300 pages or less. I’ll tell you my favorite character (the one most developed, in my opinion) was the self-absorbed villain. I won’t name names so as to not spoil the end for you. . .but suffice it to say this plot is the stuff of most writing critique nightmares–plagiarism.

On a more feel good note: I also re-read one of my most favorite novels this weekend, Susan Meissner’s Blue Heart Blessed. Let me just say, I’d move into the Finland Hotel if I could.

Dining with Joy

November 1st. 2010

In between visits from trick or treaters last night, I finished reading Rachel Hauck’s new novel, Dining with Joy. I’m sorry to say I raced through the pages, but that’s the way it goes when I get my hands on one of her books. I love the way she spins stories that I can’t stop until I get to the end (kind of like with those “fun” sized Snickers that kept leaping into my mouth last night.) This book is a perfect fit with her other two Low Country novels –Beaufort, SC never had it so good as in the hands of R.H.– and her characters are, as always, memorable. This story felt so fresh because it’s set amid the spilled flour and melted butter of a cooking show. But instead of the expected setbacks, there was one huge secret that colored everything–the cooking show host can’t cook. Rachel handled the conflicts with a touching reality that didn’t let everything come out souffle perfect. Her genuine characters, their humorous dialogue, and heart-tipping crisis pulled the reader in and I just couldn’t shake free until long after the last of the candy was given out and the pumpkins had been brought in. Rush out to buy Rachel’s Dining with Joy, and while you’re at it, grab a slice of bananna bread–you’re going to want some. Believe me.