Author: Betty Hafner

‘The Light Between Oceans’ Written by M. L. Stedman

The achingly beautiful debut novel of Australian-born M. L. (Margot) Stedman deserves all the attention it is getting from critics and readers. The idea for the story, Stedman tells interviewers, began with a picture she had in her mind of…

“The Widower’s Tale” Written by Julia Glass

National Book Award winner Julia Glass’s fourth novel, “The Widower’s Tale” (2010), is a perfect choice for readers looking for a good, old-fashioned, plot-driven novel. Don’t get me wrong, though. There is nothing out-of-date about the dynamic, messy world Glass…

“The Madonnas of Leningrad” Written by Debra Dean

I am in awe of what Debra Dean has accomplished in her stunning first novel, “The Madonnas of Leningrad” (2006). The narrative pulled me in immediately as it wove around the issues of war, starvation, art, beauty, memory loss and…

“How It All Began” Written by Penelope Lively

For a book that begins with a quote concerning science’s chaos theory, “How It All Began,” (2011) is one surprisingly entertaining story! I knew to trust British writer Penelope Lively, though, after reading a few of her 20 novels. In…

“On Canaan’s Side” Written by Sebastian Barry

Irish writer Sebastian Barry dug into his own family history to bring readers a wise and kind-hearted protagonist in the novel “On Canaan’s Side” (2011). Lilly, the 89-year-old narrator is based on his great-aunt and is the sister of two…

‘When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present’ Written by Gail Collins

In 1964 when Bob Dylan released, “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” he’d been touring the country and wrote about the grassroots movement he perceived. At the time, Gail Collins, now the witty New York Times columnist, was in college and…

‘This Burns My Heart’ Written by Samuel Park

The inspiration for Samuel Park’s impressive first novel, “This Burns My Heart” (2011), came from an episode in his mother’s life. He was intrigued by the idea that on the day before her wedding, another man had begged her to…

“The Postmistress” Written by Sarah Blake

The year is 1940, and President Roosevelt stands firm in his commitment to keep America out of the war. Europe is in the throes of the Nazi takeover, and London is suffering under the Blitz, yet life in America goes…

“The World We Found” Written by Thrity Umrigar

When I picked up Thrity Umrigar’s newest novel, “The World We Found” (2012) at the bookstore, I expected to read a poignant story about the reunion of three college classmates from Bombay in the 1970s with their friend who emigrated…