Skip to main content

Book Review:When the Stars Go Dark

A total departure for the author of The Paris Wife, Paula McLain’s emotionally intense and exceptionally well-written thriller entwines its fictional crime with real cases.”—People (Book of the Week) Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing.The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with saving the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in. Weaving together true crime, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this tense, affecting story is about fate, unlikely redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives–and our faith in one another”–

A mystery that is more thought-provoking than murder and mayhem, When the Stars Go Dark touches on what makes a family, and what can break a family. A fallible, strong, female detective, Anna Hart tugs at you throughout the book, praying she solves the case but hoping it doesn’t tear her apart in the process. And if you are doing the 2021 yearly reading challenge, it can fit in categories 13,29, and 35!

Book Review: Poisoned

Poisoned is Jennifer Donnelly’s latest fairytale retelling, a new YA interpretation of Snow White.

Too kind to be a ruler, Princess Sophie has lived her life pretending to be cruel, like her stepmother. When Sophie has her heart cut-out by the huntsman, she is saved by seven brothers who give her a clockwork heart instead. But the clock won’t last forever. Now Sophie must find a way to save herself so she can save her kingdom from the cruelty of her stepmother.

With a swift writing style and entertaining plot, Donnelly has produced yet another exciting book. Filled with colorful characters, magical creatures, and friendship, Donnelly takes you across her fantastical kingdom and into the heart of social problems and disputes. Strung-through with morals and life lessons, Poisoned is a great read for everyone looking for a little hope in bleak times. Fans of fairy tales and adventure will adore this book and all of Donnelly’s works.

Book Review: Piranesi by Suzanne Clarke

“Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant.”

This is the setting of Piranesi, a beautiful and enormously creative new novel by Susanna Clarke that is equal parts mystery novel, survival story and journey of self discovery. The reader follows Piranesi “The Beloved Child of the House” as he gathers food and supplies from the House’s seas while occasionally receiving gifts from his only friend, the enigmatic Other. As Piranesi journeys through his home, aids the Other in the search for some lost and secret knowledge, and delves into the mysteries of his own past. All the while readers are given glimpses of the strange and wonderful world that Piranesi inhabits, and the many shadowy corners of Piranesi’s own mind.

Piranesi is one of the best books I have read in years, and one that stuck with me long after I had finished it. I’d recommend Piranesi to readers who enjoyed Circe, House of Leaves, or The Ocean at the End of the Lane.