PositiveThe Boston Globe...[a] charming and illuminating mystery series ... Stewart’s generous helpings of period detail occasionally distract from the story but who can complain about the appearance of minor characters such as the local Rutherford, N.J., doctor whose sign out front reads 'W.C. Williams, M.D' ... Whether Constance is tackling a criminal 'in what had to be the most undignified position a woman had ever been seen in on the streets of Brooklyn' or pouring punch in a theater lobby for Fleurette’s Christmas pageant, her days and nights come vividly to life.
The Violet Hour: Great Writers at the EndKatie Roiphe
RaveThe Boston GlobeRoiphe makes no judgments about the choices made by these writers and that is one of the book’s many virtues. She is willing to report the truth as her subjects experienced and expressed it. She admits that she questioned her own motives at times, but readers will not: This is a beautiful and thoughtful book.
The WitchesStacy Schiff
RaveThe Boston GlobeSchiff balances an elegant, almost imperial narrative style befitting the scale of the tragedy with a sensitivity to the individual lives that were destroyed.
The Snow ChildEowyn Ivey
PositiveBoston GlobeThe Snow Child is a reimagining of the Russian fairy tale “Snegurochka,’’ or “The Snow Maiden,’’ about an elderly couple who yearn for a child ... Ivey’s prose is beautiful and precise; her descriptions of the landscape evoke a wilderness that changes with the weather and reflects the emotional state of the people who live there ... It is Mabel, not the snow child, whose story is the heart of the book. Ivey’s portrait of this middle-age woman is loving and complex ... Mabel is not just a woman who longs for a child; she is a woman who longs to find her purpose in life. This is the source of her saudade, and through Ivey’s magical telling, her longing feels as real and mysterious as the winter’s first snowflake.
The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest DestinyMichael Wallis
RaveThe Boston GlobeA cautionary tale at the time, it becomes in Michael Wallis’s thorough and persuasive new telling, The Best Land Under Heaven, emblematic of the more shadowy aspects of Manifest Destiny ... A Faustian sense of overreach permeates Wallis’s narrative as the migrants brag of 'killing more buffalo than we can [eat].' Such are the spoils of Manifest Destiny ... Horrifying as it is, this is also a story of incredible perseverance and heroism.