All posts filed under: Reviews

When The New Mrs Collins moves to town terror follows

Leena has been looking forward to marrying the father of her child since he proposed on bended knee during a vacation in Myrtle Beach. Now the big day has arrived, Leena looks beautiful in her wedding dress, the church is packed with her loved ones, and happily-ever-after is barely a few “I dos” away. Except Leena’s fiancé never makes it to the church. It turns out he’s fallen in love with another woman. A beautiful, poised, accomplished woman called Adira. And instead of running away, shamefaced, Leena’s cheating fiancé moves Adira into town and quickly marries her. It’s a combustible situation, especially in a small, Southern town where people make a point of knowing (and sharing) their neighbours’ business. Leena, hurt and humiliated, cannot let the betrayal go. But when she goes looking for dirt on Adira she uncovers secrets better left hidden and soon understands that it doesn’t pay to anger the new Mrs Collins. Quanie Miller’s Southern Paranormal novel is a fantastically fun read. The narrative tugs you into the close-knit town of …

Louisiana life is bittersweet in Queen Sugar

Charley Bordelon is a widow and single-mother. When she inherits a sugarcane farm from her father she opts to leave her failed life in LA behind, pack up and move in with her grandmother in Louisiana. Unbeknownst to Charley her grandmother has also invited her half-brother, Ralph Angel, to stay – a bitter man angry at being excluded from his father’s will. As tensions escalate at home, Charley must also contend with a host of problems on her new farm. Between the acres of neglected and dying crop and her hostile neighbours both black and white, she soon wonders if this is a feat she can pull off. The notion of a black woman owning a sugarcane farm in the Deep South a century after The Great Migration lends itself wholly to drama and conflict. When you throw in a bunch of charismatic relatives the stakes get even higher and the end result is highly compelling. I found Charley flawed and relatable and could only admire her tenacity: “She joined the crew, pulling armloads of …

Melancholy and magnificent: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

I found I couldn’t read The Twelve Tribes of Hattie as a straight shot. The narrative was so relentlessly bleak I had to take the odd break to remind myself that joy exists in the world. But I returned to the novel eagerly each time, partly because the story is compelling, but largely because the writing is flawlessly beautiful. We first meet Hattie, the title character, at 17-years-old. She’s holed up in the bathroom of her rented house, fighting to save her twin babies from pneumonia. The children, Philadelphia and Jubilee, have been named to reflect Hattie’s hopes for life in the north. She “wanted to give her babies names that weren’t chiseled on a headstone in the family plots in Georgia, so she gave them names of promise and hope, reaching forward names, not looking back ones.” When the babies die, Hattie’s optimism leaves with them. Her grief is compounded by disappointment in her husband. He turns out to be a self-defeating man who drinks his pay cheques and sleeps around with women who …