• When the Stars Go Dark

    I couldn’t put down this riveting story of a detective who goes back home to Mendocino, California, and finds herself caught up in the case of a local girl who goes missing and then by other real-life murders in the past. Proof positive of what I was saying above, that genre classifications matter not, since McLain transitions from historical fiction to suspense seamlessly with this novel.


  • The cover of the book Sunflower Sisters

    Sunflower Sisters

    This emotional and beautifully-written novel is set during the Civil War and conveys with authenticity how the lives of a Union nurse, an enslaved person, and the mistress of a plantation entwine. Each character is rendered with such truth and dimensionality, and, with it, Martha has topped even Lilac Girls, one of my favorite books.


  • The cover of the book The Book of Lost Friends

    The Book of Lost Friends

    I could not recommend this book more highly because it tells a layered story of freed slaves during the Reconstruction Era and movingly shows how the essential struggle of the Civil War continued after the last shot was fired, even through to today. And it features a modern-day teacher who learns something she didn’t know, either.


  • The cover of the book Ghosts of Harvard

    Ghosts of Harvard

    I loved this book, and full disclosure, I love its author too, because she’s my daughter and this is her fiction debut. That said, it’s a deeply engrossing novel about a young girl who goes to Harvard after her brother, a genius who suffered from schizophrenia, dies by suicide on campus. Soon, she finds herself haunted by voices, some from history, and wonders if she is going down the same terrifying path as her brother.