Readers’ Corner – Jan. 2021

Colorado Women in World War II, Gail M. Beaton. While the war itself was no cause for celebration, it did bring massive changes to American society and a kick in the seat of the pants to the American labor force, with barriers slowly pried open by females. Colorado’s a good example of how women filled critical, vital roles, earning the respect and accolades of their male peers. It could be a handbook on how to move ahead, and shove your way into the mainstream, with accounts, photos, interviews.

All Adults Here. Beginnings are possible any time in life, and all the characters in Emma Straub’s multi-generational novel embark with trepidation but courage even while asking questions about the value of their lives and themselves. Aging Astrid, starting a romance with another woman, witnesses an accident that destroys an acquaintance. Her children and grandchildren exhibit insight, courage, and excitement along the way as they grow through set-backs and challenges.

Lisa Wingate’s best-seller, Before We Were Yours, chronicles the life of Rill Foss and four siblings, growing up on a Mississippi River shanty during the Great Depression. After the children are stolen from their parents, they end up at the Tennessee Home for Children, a real, notorious orphanage, where they are separated and their names changed before being placed with adoptive parents. Chapters alternate between Rill’s point of view and her descendant, attorney Avery Stafford, who unwittingly stumbles upon enduring family secrets. The author has done an excellent job of researching the book’s historical context. Unfortunately, contemporary characters fall flat by comparison.

Brynn Greenwood’s contemporary fiction best-seller, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, presents the reader with a moral dilemma: can a relationship that exists far outside conventional societal norms ever be considered acceptable? With themes of drug abuse, child neglect, and pedophilia, the story of Wavy and Kellen is at times heart-breaking, unsettling, and ultimately triumphant. Not many authors could present such controversial subject matter in a non-judgmental way, but Greenwood handles it exceptionally well.

Author Kathleen Duhamel writes humorous contemporary romance featuring “seasoned” characters. Her newest is Fed Up. Author Bonne McCune’s latest is Never Retreat, a suspenseful romance in Colorado’s wilderness.

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