Braille Book Review

March-April 2002
Books for Adults--Fiction


Dakota Born: Buffalo Valley Trilogy, Volume 1 BR 12925
by Debbie Macomber
3 volumes
Buffalo Valley, North Dakota, is a dying town. Lindsay Snyder used to visit her grandmother there, and now she has become the town's only schoolteacher. As Lindsay comes to know the town and its people, she learns she has a serious disadvantage--she's not Dakota-born. Prequel to Dakota Home (BR 12926). 1999.

The Perfect Elizabeth: A Tale of Two Sisters BR 12941
by Libby Schmais
2 volumes
Eliza dislikes her job as a legal secretary. She also worries about her actor boyfriend's fear of commitment. Her confidante is her divorced sister, Bette, who has been diagnosed with a social phobia and is doing academic research on literary references to food. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. 2000.

The Smoking Book BR 12942
by Lesley Stern
2 volumes
Vignettes on the pleasures and pain of cigarette addiction. "Suspended Forever" is the cherished memory of two sisters growing up in Africa, who secretly purchase cigarettes and then sneak off to try them. In "The Body Has a Mind of Its Own," a woman resorts to some unusual "cures" for smoking. 1999.

After Lucy BR 12973
by Daniel Jones
3 volumes
Three weeks after his wife Lucy dies of cancer, Porter impulsively buys an old camper. Despite disapproval from Lucy's wealthy parents, Porter sets off with his kids--Kaylie, twelve, and Ben, eight--on a cross-country vacation. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. 2000.

No Crystal Stair BR 12974
by Eva Rutland
3 volumes
Semiautobiographical novel about African American Ann Elizabeth Carter, who grew up in a privileged Atlanta neighborhood. Her way of life changes when she marries Californian Robert Metcalf, a lieutenant with the Tuskegee Airmen. Over the years they face challenges that include a world war and the civil rights movement. Some strong language. 2000.

The First Time BR 13257
by Joy Fielding
3 volumes
Jake, who married Mattie sixteen years ago because she was pregnant, leaves her for his latest mistress. Meanwhile, Mattie experiences odd symptoms and learns she has Lou Gehrig's disease. When Jake insists on moving back in, the couple's relationship slowly changes. Some explicit descriptions of sex and some strong language. 2000.

The Cabal and Other Stories BR 13266
by Ellen Gilchrist
2 volumes
An ironic novella about a psychiatrist is followed by five short stories. In "The Cabal," a group of patients who consulted Dr. Jim Jaspers are confounded when he goes berserk at a funeral and begins spouting their secrets all over town. Some strong language. 2000.

A Daughter of the Land BR 13267
by Gene Stratton-Porter
3 volumes
Kate Bates, the youngest daughter in a large family of rich Indiana farmers, resents the fact that she is not to be educated or given her own land. Kate finally rebels and spends years struggling to achieve her dreams. 1918.

Murder, with Peacocks BR 13270
by Donna Andrews
3 volumes
Meg is knocking herself out trying to be a bridesmaid for the weddings of her brother, mother, and best friend. As she tries to help her ditzy relatives prepare for their various outrageous festivities, one of the guests is murdered, old crimes are uncovered, and she falls in love. 1999.

The Shining BR 13271
by Stephen King
4 volumes
Jack and Wendy Torrance come face-to-face with terror when they become caretakers of a haunted old hotel in the snowy mountains of Colorado. Their five-year-old son, Danny, who appears to have psychic powers, is the first to sense the evil in the building. Violence and strong language. Bestseller 1977.

The Advocate BR 13282
by Bill Mesce and Steven G. Szilagyi
3 volumes
England, 1943. Two American bombers suddenly attack a third plane as well as civilian witnesses on the ground. As Major Harry Voss of the Judge Advocate General's office delves into the incident, he uncovers secrets that the higher-ups want to keep concealed. Some violence and some strong language. 2000.

Deep Sightings and Rescue Missions: Fiction, Essays, and Conversations BR 13289
by Toni Cade Bambara
2 volumes
A collection of Toni Bambara's fiction and nonfiction pieces, gathered by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison after the author's death in 1995. In "How She Came by Her Name," Bambara discusses the evolution of her own name. In "Deep Sight and Rescue Missions," she addresses race and politics. Some strong language. 1996.

Akhenaten: Dweller in Truth BR 13296
by Naguib Mahfouz
1 volume
Years after the death of Akhenaten, the first Egyptian pharaoh to profess monotheism, a young scholar seeks out the recollections of Akhenaten's contemporaries, both friends and enemies. His final interview is with Nefertiti, the former pharaoh's still-faithful wife. Originally published in 1985 by the Egyptian Nobel laureate. 1998.

Caution, Men in Trees BR 13303
by Darrell Spencer
2 volumes
Nine short stories about men and their failings. In "Blood Work," a son, after his second divorce, moves back to his ailing father's house. In "There's Too Much News," a man relocates to the country for his wife's third round of psychotherapy. Some strong language. Flannery O'Connor Award. 2000.

Wild Decembers BR 13304
by Edna O'Brien
2 volumes
When Mick Bugler returns to Cloontha, Ireland, to claim the land he inherits from his uncle, he befriends neighbors Joseph Brennan and his sister Breege. But a disagreement revives a long-standing feud between the families, and tragedy strikes. Strong language. 1999.

Traveling Light BR 13305
by Katrina Kittle
3 volumes
At twenty-six, Summer deals with lives and dreams cut short. An accident ends her promising dancing career, her indecision ruins her future with her lover, and AIDS takes her beloved brother's life. Still she learns that love can transcend many things. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2000.

As We Are Now BR 13306
by May Sarton
1 volume
Elderly spinster schoolteacher Caro Spencer is left in a desolate old folks' home by her older brother. As boredom and lack of mental stimulation increase for her, she keeps a journal and plans for the inevitable. 1973.

Welcome to My Planet: Where English Is Sometimes Spoken BR 13310
by Shannon Olson
2 volumes
Protagonist Shannon Olson keeps her sense of humor as she struggles to find happiness during years of therapy sessions, entering and exiting relationships, quitting her dead-end job for graduate school, watching lots of television, and having ongoing conversations with her mother. Descriptions of sex and strong language. 2000.

The Telling BR 13313
by Ursula K. Le Guin
2 volumes
As a trained linguist and literature expert, Sutty feels redundant as an observer on planet Aka, where history in all forms is suppressed. But when she travels as a lone emissary to the remote town of Okzat-Ozkat, she gradually perceives the remnants of a banned culture and religion. 2000.

Legacy of the Dead: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery BR 13317
by Charles Todd
3 volumes
Scotland, 1919. Shellshocked Inspector Ian Rutledge investigates a case involving a murdered woman who had given birth to an illegitimate child. Rutledge discovers that the person accused of the crime is none other than the fiancée of Corporal Hamish MacLeod--the soldier he executed for cowardice during the war. 2000.

An English Murder BR 13321
by Louise Doughty
2 volumes
Alison, a young newspaper reporter, lives in a small English village where nothing ever happens. But then the couple next door is murdered and their teenaged daughter disappears. When someone offers Alison a clue to the girl's whereabouts, she must decide on a course of action. Some strong language. 1998.

Diamond Dust: Stories BR 13325
by Anita Desai
2 volumes
Nine tales by the acclaimed author, set in her homeland of India and in New England, Britain, and Mexico. In the title piece Mrs. Das exclaims that her husband's dog, Diamond, will kill her one day with his rambunctious behavior. But she is not the one who dies. Some strong language. 2000.

The Wedding Jester BR 13326
by Steve Stern
2 volumes
Collection of nine action-packed stories set in Stern's magical Jewish otherworld. In the title story writer Saul Bozoff accompanies his mother to a wedding in the Catskills. His shining moment comes when he exorcises a dybbuk who takes possession of the bride during the ceremony. Some strong language. National Jewish Book Award. 1999.

The Lucky Gourd Shop BR 13329
by Joanna Catherine Scott
2 volumes
Three adopted Korean American teenagers are curious about their roots. What they do not know is that their birth mother had been a foundling raised in a Seoul coffeeshop. After the death of their father, the children's grandmother saved them from starvation by taking them to an orphanage. 2000.

The Dark Side of the Sun BR 13334
by Elizabeth Palmer
3 volumes
England, 1928. Teenager Mary Fox, the governess's daughter, falls in love with the eldest of the privileged Harding children. Then World War II intervenes, and Mary finds work in the London war office. After her mother is killed in an air raid, Mary discovers her secret past. Some descriptions of sex. 1999.

A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You: Stories BR 13335
by Amy Bloom
1 volume
Eight stories about the survivors of stressful situations. In the title piece, single-mother Jane accompanies her beloved daughter Jessie for a transsexual operation to become the man she's always wanted to be. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. 2000.

Sam the Cat and Other Stories BR 13336
by Matthew Klam
2 volumes
An O. Henry Award winner presents seven short stories previously published in the New Yorker. In the title entry, a young womanizer ruminates on his lifestyle. In "Not This," a man relishes the prospect of donating sperm to his sister-in-law. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. 2000.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles: Poirot's First Case BR 13337
by Agatha Christie
2 volumes
In Hercule Poirot's first case, the retired Belgian police detective investigates the death of Emily Cavendish, an elderly heiress who, to the distress of her stepchildren, had recently married a fortune hunter. 1920.

Being Dead BR 13340
by Jim Crace
2 volumes
A married couple, both doctors of zoology, are found spread-eagled, murdered, and robbed on a beach--Joseph's hand clasping Celice's ankle, a loving gesture even in death. Descriptions of their bodies' return to the elements are interspersed with the couple's love story beginning on that same sand thirty years before. Some descriptions of sex. 1999.

Eleanor Hill BR 13343
by Lisa Williams Kline
2 volumes
Early 1900s. Twelve-year-old Eleanor Hill is growing up in a small North Carolina fishing village yearning for an education and a fuller life. With the encouragement of a suffragette teacher and her brother, Eleanor finds the courage to leave home and become an independent person. For junior and senior high readers. 1999.

Burning for Revenge BR 13344
by John Marsden
2 volumes
In this sequel to Darkness, Be My Friend (BR 12596) the teen guerilla band members led by Ellie are abandoned in Australia and have to fight their way out of an enemy airfield--destroying it in the process. Some violence and some strong language. For junior and senior high readers. 1997.

Crazy BR 13345
by Benjamin Lebert
1 volume
The German teenage author's sixteen-year-old protagonist is repeating the ninth grade, this time in a remedial boarding school. Benni's roommate welcomes him into a group of friends who easily accept his partial paralysis and introduce him to sex and other wild behavior. Explicit descriptions of sex and strong language. 2000.

The Name of the World BR 13346
by Denis Johnson
1 volume
Fifty-three-year-old professor Michael Reed probes his four-year-long emotional numbness since his wife and young daughter were killed in a car accident. He vaguely hopes that his fascination with college student Flower Cannon, a risqué performance artist, will reignite his feelings. Some strong language. 2000.

Lone Eagle BR 13361
by Danielle Steel
3 volumes
Kate Jamison, seventeen, falls for Joe Allbright, twenty-nine, in 1940. Unwilling to commit to marriage, Joe, a pilot, goes off to war. Kate marries another and has children. Eventually Joe reenters her life, forcing Kate to confront her love for him and his need to fly free. Bestseller 2001.

Driving Lessons BR 13364
by Ed McBain
1 volume
Detective Katie Logan investigates the case of a woman run over by a student driver. Then she discovers that the victim is the wife of the instructor. Some strong language. 1999.

The Last Lover BR 13373
by Laura Van Wormer
2 volumes
In this sequel to Exposé (BR 12705), reporter Sally Harrington becomes a police suspect when her lover, Spencer Hawes, and Hollywood starlet Lilliana Martin both disappear after a party. Then, after visiting Sally, Lilliana's gangster boyfriend is murdered. Explicit descriptions of sex and strong language. 2000.

Kissing Tennessee and Other Stories from the Stardust Dance BR 13385
by Kathi Appelt
1 volume
Eight eighth-grade students attend their graduation dance with different hopes and expectations. All have questions about love and life. Their experiences include crushes, friendships, true romance, siblings, and physical abuse. Some violence. For junior and senior high readers. 2000.

Death in Holy Orders BR 13402
by P.D. James
4 volumes
Young seminarian Ronald Treeves is found dead on the beach near his school. Although an inquest rules the death accidental, his adoptive father, Sir Alred (a wealthy arms manufacturer), receives an anonymous note and insists on a murder investigation by Adam Dalgliesh. Bestseller 2001.

The Sooterkin BR 13404
by Tom Gilling
2 volumes
1821. Sarah Dyer, a convict in an Australian penal colony, gives birth to her second child, Arthur. Unlike nine-year-old Ned, Arthur has a bizarre appearance--like a seal pup--and is dubbed sooterkin, or monster. Arthur's family still loves him, and when he disappears Ned sets out to find him, with unexpected results. 1999.

Tightrope BR 13406
by Gillian Cross
2 volumes
Fourteen-year-old Ashley helps her disabled mother after school every day, but by night she is "Cindy," an expert graffiti artist, tagging the walls of the shabby English town where she lives. When someone begins stalking her, Ashley turns to a local gang leader for help. For senior high readers. 1999.

Facing the Dark BR 13411
by Michael Harrison
1 volume
When Simon's father is arrested for murdering a rival taxi cab company owner, Simon begins his own investigation. At the scene of the crime he meets the victim's daughter, Charley. The two soon join forces to solve the mystery. For junior and senior high readers. 1999.

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