CATCH ME WHEN I FALL by Patricia Westerhof

Whenever she doubts her role as “just a housewife,” Vicky recalls Oma, giving her the above advice. Oma had escaped to Canada from Holland in January 1945 with Vicky’s father and her other four children with nothing but the clothes they wore, the family Bible and a piece of paper giving the name of somebody to contact. Now, Vicky wants to make good by bringing her Alzheimer suffering father into her home.

March 16, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Canada, Family Matters, Short Stories


These thoughts hover in the mind of the protagonist of this uneventful but satisfying novel-memoir, Agnes Scofield, a once-feisty widowed schoolteacher living in a community of intricately enlaced relatives and friends. The year is 1953; the place a small town in mid-Ohio called Washburn. Everybody seems to know everybody else, but nobody is immune from the fallout of events in the outside world.

February 10, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, Facing History, Family Matters, US Midwest, y Award Winning Author


In Hannah Pittard’s absorbing THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY, missing children territory is mined again, and quite convincingly. Sixteen-year-old Nora vanishes one day and no one knows quite what happened. What’s left is a series of rumors, imaginings, suspicions, and what-ifs from teenage boys whose lives she touched.

January 26, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Amanda Davis, Contemporary, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

FRAGILE by Lisa Unger

FRAGILE is set in a small town 100 miles from New York City, called “The Hollows.” The dynamics between family clusters, over the generations within the sometimes stifling small-town boundaries, form the emotional backbone of this well-crafted thriller.

The central group is the Cooper family. With Jones (the father) being the chief detective in the Hollows police force and Maggie (the mother) being a psychologist, they are strategically placed to know what’s going on in town when something out of the ordinary happens. Their son Ricky is a high school student, and the disappearance of his girlfriend Charlene is the signal for the mystery to begin in earnest.

January 8, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Family Matters, Mystery/Suspense, NE & New York, Reading Guide, Theme driven

THE DARK VINEYARD by Martin Walker

The first time readers met this village lawman was in Bruno, Chief of Police. He was something of a French version of Andy Taylor of Mayberry: as a matter of course he didn’t carry a gun, he sometimes upheld the spirit of community well-being rather than enforce the letter of the law, and he dealt with the villagers with a natural but unadvertised psychology instead of simply compelling obedience. He was also single and had a history of discreetly dating a number of women. He was the only local police officer, having no Barney Fife at his side, but when crimes of greater significance than a parking ticket arose he had to collaborate with his immediate boss, the town mayor, and with wider French enforcement agencies, including the national police. He, unlike Sheriff Andy, had a bit of a repertoire in the cooking department and was especially famous in the tiny Périgord commune for whipping up heavenly truffle omelettes. Bruno, whose actual but never used name was Benoît, was deeply content to remain in Saint-Denis, although as a highly decorated former soldier who had traded in one uniform for another, his services would have been eagerly accepted by the Police Nationale in Paris itself.

December 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: France, Sleuths Series

THE LAST RIVER CHILD by Lori Ann Bloomfield

The setting is Walvern, a small village in rural Ontario, where everybody knows everybody else. Or they think they know them, for acquaintance can turn easily into gossip and suspicion. Peg Staynor, the heroine, becomes a victim of it, even as a child. For her curiously pale grey eyes and solitary manner play into local suspicions that she is a “river child,” the reincarnation of someone previously drowned, who will bring them bad luck. It is a barely credible device (and unfortunately not the only example of somewhat strained plotting), but it works well as a metaphor for a loneliness that gradually turns into independence and strength. For this is essentially a coming-of-age story with a sweet touch of romance, and Peg makes a heroine who is very easy to care about.

December 3, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Canada, Coming-of-Age, Debut Novel, Facing History, Family Matters