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Compelling Storytellers- A Little Bit of Everything

Nancela "insatiable reader"
The list author says: "I will read anything that eludes to France and the French, as well as anything vaguely historical both fiction and otherwise. Join me for a walk through my favorite recent "reads"."
The Enchanted April
The Enchanted April
"With a Preface by author Catherine Schine: A tale of 4 women who sojourn to Italy to get away from a dreary English Spring, circa 1920's.  A well written story of the wonders that a beautiful environment can work on the soul."
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
"Everything it's cracked up to be.  One woman's spiritual journey across time and countries."
The Constant Princess (Boleyn)
The Constant Princess (Boleyn)
"Like all Phillipa Gregory's historical fiction about the Tudors, this story of the young Katherine of Aragon is a spellbinding romance AND a well researched look into Tudor times and customs."
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel
"A story of two women in 19th century China. Much insight into the life of women,part mystery,part coming of age story and beautifully written"
I Am Madame X : A Novel
I Am Madame X : A Novel
"An absorbing fictional rendering of the life of the woman who inspired John Singer Sargent's "notorious " portrait."
Fire in the Blood
Fire in the Blood
"After "Suite Francais" I have become totally hooked on Nemirovsky.  This novel (more like a short story), although it ends abruptly, is a totally absorbing mystery in the lives of the 'paysan' in France between the two Great Wars. Kudos to the translator!"
The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel
The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel
"A good, old fashioned gothic novel with ruins, insane relatives, ghosts, feral twins & creepy old ladies.  An excellent story to lose yourself inside."
The Memory Keeper's Daughter: A Novel
The Memory Keeper's Daughter: A Novel
"A moving story of love, loss and redemption.Relates the story of twins, (one healthy, one with Down Syndrome), separated at birth by their physician father, and the reprecussions of that decision over the next 18+ years"
The Virgin's Lover
The Virgin's Lover
"Another great tale from Phillippa Gregory.  The story of Elizabeth I and her relationship with Robert Dudly.  Interestingly, follows up on some of the characters from previous novels (The Other Bolyen Girl et. al) History comes alive through Gregory's pen."
Arthur & George
Arthur & George
"A finely crafted and engaing tale of two men --one a great writer, one a nondescript solicitor--whose paths cross at a critical time of life for each. A witty yet studied view of Victorian life and morals. A Great Read!"
Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--And the Journey of a Generation
Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--And the Journey of a Generation
"For women of a "certain age", lover's of folk/rock or just anyone: Weller reveals the 'backstory' of the female icons of a generation. Thouroughly researched, it is a study of the times as well as the women (and men)who broke the mold and made the sea change of the 60's"
Blue Shoes and Happiness (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Book 7)
Blue Shoes and Happiness (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Book 7)
"Not a fan of "mystery writers', still, I adore these brief stories.  The mystery is nearly incidental to the people and country of Botswana.  Written with great humor & a love of the characters and the land."
Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi (Compass)
Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi (Compass)
"This is an excellent, highly readable biography of a true saint whose life has been obscured by embellishment & legend. Spoto delves into the cultural & political movements of Francis times (early 1200's) to reveal this man for the true saint that he was."
The Widow of the South
The Widow of the South
"An incredibly moving story based upon the real life Carrie McGavock, the Widow of the South,creator & keeper of a private cemetary of close to 1,500 confederates who were killed in one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War,at Franklin, Tenn. A must read novel of courage, faith & ultimately, transformation"
Loving Frank: A Novel
Loving Frank: A Novel
"Insight into the life and times of Mamah Borthwick Chaney.  We learn of this creative woman as a writer and translator as well as the  infamous lover and muse of Frank Lloyd Wright. The story pulls  you inexorably toward its tragic conclusion"
Kaaterskill Falls
Kaaterskill Falls
"Engrossing story of several Orthodox Jewish families during a period of personal & religious change the 1970's.  Their summers in Kaaterskill(a small town in the Catskills) as part of a community of Jews living alongside Yankee 'year-rounders' and the rest of the year in Brooklyn. Excellently written, past- paced read. Highly recommended."
The Painted Kiss: A Novel
The Painted Kiss: A Novel
"Fictionalized account of Gustav Klimt & Emilie Floge, one of his many muses and the subject of his famous painting, The Kiss.Much like Nancy Horan's "Loving Frank" (see above), it gives insight into the times (1880's Viennese Cafe society) and the cultural milieu that influenced the artist.  As told in flashback by Emilie it also details the life of women of that era. Very good"
Malinche: A Novel
Malinche: A Novel
"Esquivel spins a compelling story the of Malinche,the woman known as "The Tongue"; consort of Cortez and, ultimatley a traitor to her race who aided the Spanish in their conquest of what we now call Mexico"
Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles (Eminent Lives)
Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles (Eminent Lives)
"As always, Francine Prose gives us a spellbinding story.  With very little verifiable information to go on, she reconstructs the life of the great master, Caravaggio, combining what is available through the few sources (court records &  stories by his contemporaries)available and provides deep insight into the works of this troubled, yet groundbreaking artist"
The Monster of Florence
The Monster of Florence
"A spellbinding account of Florence's serial killer, a la Son of Sam.  Interesting twist as the authors become part of the story."
The Maytrees: A Novel
The Maytrees: A Novel
"This book reads like a beautiful poem...I adore Dillard's prose.  Outcasts and eccentrics in Provincetown..they grow, they change but Provincetown remains.  A Must read!"
The Queen's Fool: A Novel (Boleyn)
The Queen's Fool: A Novel (Boleyn)
"Another great story from Philippa Gregory.  This time out it is Hannah Verde,the Queen's Fool who becomes emmeshed in the court intrigues of Queen Mary Tudor, the young Princess Elizabeth and Robert Dudley.  A fine historical novel revolving around the struggle for the throne between Bloody Mary and Elizabeth, the Protestant Princess."
The Jane Austen Book Club
The Jane Austen Book Club
The Other Queen: A Novel
The Other Queen: A Novel
"For the first time I was not knocked over by a Gregory "Tudor" novel.  Had difficulty finding Mary a sympathetic figure or feeling concern re: her historical situation(although she certainly came tortured end!). Still, better than many of your average historical novel."
The Story of B
The Story of B
"More from the author of Ishmael. Not nearly as compelling as the first book...but lots more of his philosophy.  Fans of Ishmael may be dissapointed by this one."
Armageddon in Retrospect And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace with an Introduction by Mark Vonnegut
Armageddon in Retrospect And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace with an Introduction by Mark Vonnegut
"I will miss Kurt Vonnegut's dry, wry prose and his insight into why this world is such a lunatic place. God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut"
Bridget Jones's Diary
Bridget Jones's Diary
"While hardly "compelling reading", this book is laugh out loud funny, esp. for women of any age.  A great diversion into female neurosis.  Whay are we all like thi, anyway?"
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
"A beautifully written, excellently translated story of hidden genius, beauty & love. A Must Read"
Gods Behaving Badly: A Novel
Gods Behaving Badly: A Novel
"Hilarious romp with Greek Gods in their modern guises.  Bawdy, funny and a light read.  Good beach reading for summer"
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
"The story of a love that conquers time.  It reels you in and you don't want to let it go.  Highly recommended"
Beyond Suspicion
Beyond Suspicion
"Very good...very noir."
The Lace Reader: A Novel
The Lace Reader: A Novel
The Three Weissmanns of Westport: A Novel
The Three Weissmanns of Westport: A Novel
Push
Push
Homer and Langley
Homer and Langley
The Pig Did It
The Pig Did It
The Swan Thieves: A Novel
The Swan Thieves: A Novel
Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel
Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel
A Dog's Purpose
A Dog's Purpose
Noah's Compass
Noah's Compass