“Big Eyes” Witnessed it all – The Conning of Margaret Keane

As a young girl, I had two Keane paintings hanging in my bedroom–the harlequins with the multi-coloured dresses and the mandolins. I spent many hours staring at the harlequin’s big eyes, and basking my young brain in the colours of the paintings. Little did I know, the artist who had painted them had been mistreated…

A Blissful Variation of “Female in Love”: Shroud of Roses by Gloria Ferris

Mystery is not my genre of choice, but I’ve read Corpse Flower and Shroud of Roses by Gloria Ferris, and have thoroughly enjoyed both novels because of the outrageous antics the main protagonist, Bliss, gets up to. She’s a meddling, sometimes intuitive, self-made detective who won’t listen to orders, especially those delivered by a man in uniform. (I’m not talking the postman here).

Mail Order Prostitutes in the Old West: Juliet James’ “Emily”

At first glance, especially at the cover, and in the second and third chapters, you might think “Emily” by Juliet James is a light read. However, as you read further you will be surprised to discover, just as I was, a dark undercurrent running through the mail-order-bride plot.

Good Gargoyle, It’s Gothic!

The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (1765) is one of the first recognized English Gothic novels. As an author, I get goose pimples just thinking about being the writer who started a genre, hooking its conventions like claws into a National readership. That’s what Horace Walpole did with his novel, Otranto. Readers of the time were thrilled by the…

A Zany Grey Romance: The Cowboy and The Vampire

The vampire genre has been thrilling readers since the 1700s, with few changes to the tropes of this horror category. Depending on the author, vampires have been presented as the undead (Bram Stroker’s Dracula 1897), as an alien species (Gustave Le Rouge’s Le prisonnier de la planète Mars 1908), and as products of disease (Richard Matheson’s…

Fang is for Vampire: Stories with Bite!

The vampire story has been popular with readers for over a century, and vampire literature even has its own genre. There are many people who are not comfortable with teenagers becoming enticed by  vampire literature and some who even say that times have changed for the worse because of this fixation with the undead. However, history shows…

PAWN – A Good Novel Study Match for The Hunger Games

Pawn by Aimée Carter is a YA novel featuring a strong female protagonist (Kitty) whose identity is taken from her by those who have social power. Kitty wakes up with the face and life of Lila, a young woman who is entitled to privilege through birth status. Kitty could never have attained this status in her…

An Unimaginable Act – Erin’s Law

An Unimaginable Act by Erin Merryn is not a book for every reader, but it does carry a message for every parent, teacher and anyone else who has contact with children. The book is informally divided into three parts: the author’s victimization and ensuing difficulties as a survivor of child sexual abuse, a detailed historical…

Forgive the Scarlet: The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim

The Outcast provides a unique perspective into issues for women who are living in groups that adhere to belief systems not commonly shared by the majority of society. The novel is about an Old Order Mennonite woman, Rachel Stoltzfus, who is held solely accountable for an unforgivable act of fornication. Cast out by her family,…