Monthly Replay, November 8

This feature has a two-fold purpose: 1. To allow those recently added to our followers list to discover books they might have missed and 2. To make sure previously featured authors and their work aren’t forgotten. If you’d like to learn more about any of the books revisited here, simply click on the “Authors” page, then on that author’s name.


History of Gone is a collection of poems inspired by the life and unsolved disappearance of Barbara Newhall Follett, a once-famous child prodigy writer of the early 20th century. By the age of 14, BNF had published two books to glowing reviews and H.L. Mencken was congratulating her parents for raising her. She was expected to be the Next Great American Writer. Instead, her father left; she and her mother set sail on an open-ended sea voyage; The Great Depression hit, and she found work as a secretary; she met a fellow free spirit, travelled to Europe with him for a few months and returned to marry him. Then, one December night in 1939, after arguing with her husband, Barbara left the house with a notebook and $30. She was never seen nor heard from again. She was 25.


Influenced by the Czech artist Mucha’s series on women and seasons, the title story of Dina Rabadi’s debut fiction collection follows an aging moonlight photographer’s quest for success and his models’ (all ordinary women) quest for a sense of beauty. Like the women in Mucha’s series, each of the women represents a season—summer, fall, winter and spring and in representing seasons represents Everywoman. Other stories range in theme and setting from the questionable success of the building of the atomic bomb to a motherless Spanish boy who becomes a perfume maker in the south of France.


 Kerry Waite is a 49-year-old freelance copywriter. Married 20 years to Charles, a research scientist, she’s reasonably content with her life, except for recurrent black periods, mostly in the autumn, when all she can focus on is how different her life would have been with Tom. Tom died in a car crash nearly thirty years ago that also claimed the life of her unborn baby and any chance for future children.

A letter from Tom’s sister informs her that Tom’s mother has died, and a memorial service is planned. Kerry has had no contact with Mrs. Crandall for many years, but the finality of the woman’s death opens old wounds and thrusts her into the past. Through the story’s transitions from present to past, she recalls her relationship with Tom as it struggled and grew into a deep love, only to lose him when they were about to be married. At Tom’s funeral, she watched the faded colors of the falling leaves, trying to focus on anything but the flower-draped casket about to be lowered into the ground.


Writes on reviewer: “Don Tassone’s stories, like so much of what we love to read, are about the boy next door, growing up and finding a way in the world — a way that often involves finding a way back to one’s first loves and dreams. Take a break from the over-serious world we live in and spend time remembering the way it was, the way it sometimes can be again. Though loss and sadness are here, this is ultimately a joyful, hopeful book.”


Esperanza Morales is a young woman from the destitute village of Puroaire. Leaving a life of poverty and abuse, she finds work as a maid in the home of an upper-crust Mexican family. She works hard and builds a life for herself. But the stability won’t last long, after she loses her job and she’s convinced by a boyfriend to try their luck on the other side of the border. Her harrowing adventure and life as an undocumented worker in the U.S. could be the story of millions of migrants in America. Except that Esperanza’s ultimate fate is to find herself in a Louisiana jail cell, facing trial for the murder of her eleven-month-old baby.

When Richard takes on Esperanza’s case, the boundaries of his closely circumscribed life explode. The young woman’s story resurrects his novelistic instincts, and undermines his stoic approach to his job as he pursues clear answers in a case that offers anything but. Suddenly, Richard is aspiring for more, far more, than he ever believed he would. 


Thestories cross the borders and boundaries of Hong Kong, Korea, and the United States. This is an intimate look at those who dare to explore the geography of hope and love, struggle with dreams of longing and home, and wander in the myths of memory and desire.The stories explore the personal conflict that arises when we confront difference, the role of women in multiple cultural contexts, and the struggles of how we invent and remake ourselves, forever led by feelings of love, curiosity, and pathos.

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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