Acclaimed author Amy Bloom dramatizes the love that blossomed between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena “Hick” Hickok in her well-crafted novel White Houses. In 1945, following a separation of eight years, Hick pays Eleanor a visit. Franklin Roosevelt is dead, and World War II is nearing an end. The reunion sparks memories for Hick, who looks back on her life. After a rough upbringing in South Dakota, she becomes a successful journalist, covering politics for The Associated Press. She meets Eleanor in 1932, and their connection intensifies over time. Hick moves into the White House and eventually works for the Roosevelt administration. As chaotic political events unfold, the love between the two women proves to be a lasting force. Skillfully mixing fact and fiction, Bloom creates a poignant portrait of the pair—two kindred spirits who were ahead of their time. Fans of historical novels will find much to savor in Bloom’s moving book.
Ali Smith follows up her acclaimed 2017 title, Autumn, with Winter, the second entry in her series of season-inspired novels. It’s Christmas 2016, and Art is headed to Cornwall, where his mother, Sophia, awaits him and his girlfriend—with whom he just broke up. So when Art meets Lux, a lesbian Croatian woman, he pays her to pretend to be his ex, and they arrive at Sophia’s for what turns out to be an unforgettable holiday. The presence of Sophia’s radical, estranged sister, Iris, creates friction as the foursome debate Brexit and the state of politics in America. Past events come into play through scenes of Iris’ involvement in protests and the first meeting between Sophia and Art’s father. Smith employs a daring narrative style in this book that is at once a powerful family novel and a shrewd exploration of the Trumpian era. Readers will be eager for the next installment in Smith’s compelling series.
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Award-winning novelist Louise Erdrich, known for her realistic portrayals of American Indian life, moves into the realm of speculative fiction with Future Home of the Living God. Twenty-six and pregnant, Cedar Hawk Songmaker is living in a dying world. Instead of progressing, evolution appears to be moving in reverse: Plants have a prehistoric quality, and pregnant women are bearing primitive infants. Cedar was adopted by a kind, forward-thinking couple in Minneapolis, but she hopes to connect with her Ojibwe birth mother. Presented as a letter written by Cedar to the child she carries, this haunting tale portrays America as a police state in which pregnant women are imprisoned. When Cedar is captured and held in a hospital, she must fight to survive. Convincingly rendered and filled with suspense, this futuristic tale is a remarkable departure for Erdrich. Her storytelling skills are on full display in this all-too-resonant narrative.