Recommendations and reviews from indie booksellers

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Daughters of Shandong by Eve J. Chang

The plight of women after the communist takeover of China is the subject of this engaging story, based on the life of the author’s grandmother. The historic second-class status of women was not erased entirely by the social, cultural and political upheaval of Mao’s ascendancy.

All Our Yesterdays by Joel H. Morris

The backstory of an historically reviled character which reveals the true woman behind the culturally iconic wife of Macbeth, from one of Shakespeare’s most fascinating works.

Wild and Distant Seas by Tara Karr Roberts

Ishmael, he of Moby Dick notability, is the impetus for this far-ranging and entertaining novel of three women who seek his whereabouts and answers to their questions about his abandonment of them. Well-written and continuously engaging.

The Fury by Alex Michaelides

A truly engaging tale with echoes of Agatha Christie will keep the reader’s attention riveted throughout this thriller/mystery with a magnificent twist at the end. As it should be.

One Hour of Fervor by Muriel Barbery

The completion of a story left untold in the author’s book A Single Rose, this loving tribute to Japanese culture is an enlightening experience for westerners. Beautifully told and exquisitely translated, it is a profoundly pleasurable read.

You Dreamed of Empires by Álvaro Enrigue

A wildly imaginative tale of the clash between the Spanish, as represented by Cortes and the American natives, led by Moctezuma. Bloody and violent, this depiction of a tragic historic encounter is enlightening, if grim.

Hard by a Great Forest by Leo Vardiashvili

This dark novel set in post-Soviet Georgia by a native of that region now living in the UK speaks with Russian soulfulness of loss and atonement, both recurring themes in the history of this contentious and deeply spiritual people. It is finely written and richly adorned with detail which makes the whole a compelling and engrossing read.

Harbor Lights by James Lee Burke

Short stories and a novella from one of the finest living writers of American literature, these grim and gritty tales are propelled by a doomed sense of honor, dignity and justice that always leads to tragedy in the service of truth and right.