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    Review

    The Sea Gate

    In Jane Johnson's novel, The Sea Gate, set in England, readers are introduced to Becky, a young woman facing multiple crises in her life. Her mother, Genevieve, has just died from cancer. Becky herself has already had a double mastectomy and has just been told her latest scan is abnormal and she ...

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    Beyond the Book

    Parrot Trivia

    One of the characters in Jane Johnson's novel, The Sea Gate, is a foul-mouthed, multilingual African grey parrot (Psittacus Erithacus). Parrots are members of the Psittacidae family, which is comprised of over 300 species including lovebirds, cockatoos, macaws and budgerigars (aka 'budgies'). While ...

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    Review

    Stories from Suffragette City

    Our First Impressions readers were fascinated by the historical fiction from a range of authors presented in Stories from Suffragette City, edited by M.J. Rose and Fiona Davis, collectively awarding the book 4.7 out of 5 stars.

    What it's about:

    Thirteen talented and well-known authors ...

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    Beyond the Book

    Black Women in the Suffrage Movement

    A couple of the pieces in Stories from Suffragette City — most notably 'American Womanhood' by Dolen Perkins-Valdez — explore the often forgotten reality that Black and other non-white women were explicitly excluded from the movement for women's suffrage in America. In the late 19th/...

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    Review

    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict, notable author of previous historical fiction such as The Other Einstein and Lady Clementine, earned an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from our First Impressions reviewers.

    What the book is about:

    This cleverly structured, well-researched, ...

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    Beyond the Book

    Agatha Christie's First Marriage

    In The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, Marie Benedict explores mystery writer Agatha Christie's marriage to Archibald Christie through the lens of Agatha's mysterious temporary disappearance in 1926. Many different theories have been proposed as to the exact details regarding how and why the famous ...

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    Review

    To Be a Man

    While, as its title hints, To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss is concerned with masculinity, it renders a variety of characters — heroic and otherwise. Throughout the book, Krauss weaves present-time situations with emotional, ancestral echoes of destruction and deep, unburied grief. The past ...

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    Beyond the Book

    Megiddo

    In To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss, a character in the story 'End Days' is an archaeologist working at Tel Megiddo, the site of the ancient Palestinian city of Megiddo, which is situated near present-day Haifa, Israel. 'Tel' refers to the 'mound' on the site in which excavations have uncovered 26 ...

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    Review

    The Office of Historical Corrections

    In The Office of Historical Corrections, the second story collection from Danielle Evans, readers are given a revelatory look at injustice, forgiveness, identity and history. With each story, Evans reveals the realities of present-day America, focusing in particular on the experiences of Black women...

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    Beyond the Book

    Ovarian Cancer

    In Danielle Evans' collection The Office of Historical Corrections, the short story 'Happily Ever After' centers around Lyssa, who at 30 years old is navigating life after her mother's death from ovarian cancer and has been advised to have her own ovaries removed as soon as possible. Ovarian ...

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    Review

    The Dutch House

    The Dutch House is my introduction to Ann Patchett, which, after reading it, surprises me. I had only heard of her in passing, while always on the way to another author, another novel, never really turning her way. Why did it take me so long to discover her? As I see it now, Patchett is one of those...

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    Beyond the Book

    The Stories That Houses Can Hold

    Having moved 17 times in the wake of my late father being transferred at his job, I don't have a nostalgic connection to anywhere I've lived. The connection many people feel in their bones, heart and soul to a specific home is a mere curiosity to me—an interest in what people remember, how ...

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