In Cradle Cross, where local women are characterized as "the Ruths and the Naomis," alliances run deep. Little surprise, then, that the arrival of a half-blind woman should raise suspicion or that much of the plot depends on the unraveling of three questions: who Isa Fly is, where she is from, and why she is here. Many a novel has begun with a stranger settling in a small town, but Anna Lawrence Pietroni has taken this familiar scenario and spun an intelligently conceived, atmospheric tale rife with maleficia, mermaid folklore, religious references and a darkness mirrored by the "Cut," the brackish canal dredged by a woman ominously known as "The Blackbird." She revisits themes including revenge, the power of rumors, and the nature of cruelty (whether premeditated or simply reactionary) in ways that gradually reveal how certain characters share a common bond.
Though Ruby's Spoon ...
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