Among the many women who became giants throughout the history of literature, none appear quiet as formative as the Brontë sisters. Condemned to live as free-thinking women in a man's world, the Brontës - steadfast Emily, passionate Charlotte, and sensitive Anne - famously wrote under pseudonyms that led publishers and audiences to believe they were men, seemingly the only path available to them that would allow them to write freely and publicly. Determined to support their family and themselves, the sisters published in a way that would allow them to be taken seriously and to not be judged or shamed for their aspirations; yet, they could never be themselves. Nonetheless, their legacies have managed to carry on through history not as the brothers (presumably) Bell, but as the sisters Brontë, where they serve as beacons of quiet courage and resilience for generations of passionate women across world-changing new territory.Read More
Romance, family, and the art of being true to oneself are at the heart of Christine Nolfi’s latest novel, Sweet Lake. Moving from the fictional town of her treasured Liberty series, Nolfi gives her readers a new piece of quaint Ohio country charm in the little hamlet of Sweet Lake, where devoted daughter Linnie Wayfair is struggling to manage the family inn after her wayward brother caused a financial calamity in the town years earlier. Now, with Linnie finally feeling like her luck with restoring the inn is changing, a new wind finds her scandalous brother blown back into town from his lucrative Hollywood career. As if it's not enough to be protecting her inn from her brother’s heartbreaking reputation, Linnie also finds herself handling heated conversations with her parents, Florida retirees with old fashioned views of women and work. Add to the mix an untimely relationship with a handsome lawyer, and Linnie's life is at full overload. Enter the Sirens, Sweet Lake’s own unforgettable hippy-dippy Golden Girls who delight in midnight beach romps and especially helping the good people of Sweet Lake find their way in life, and in love. As Linnie’s story unfolds, Nolfi once again proves her unique skill for creating worlds that readers will quickly and comfortable slip into.
One of my favorite things about Christine Nolfi’s stories is the colorful way she paints her characters and how vividly they come to life for the reader. This, combined with a knack for sentiment and chemistry between her characters, makes Sweet Lake an escapist pleasure while also reaching a tender place of heartwarming honesty. From Linnie’s budding romance with the impossibly charming attorney Daniel Kettering to her friction-laden relationship with her brother, there’s no shortage of opportunities for Nolfi to explore the bonds of love and family, and the vulnerabilities we risk in order to see them truly thrive.
Perhaps most unforgettable are Sweet Lake’s sassy, spirited Sirens who practice “kindness given in secret,” a particularly warm and wonderful hallmark of the novel's greater message. Whether by voodoo antics or intentional heart-to-hearts (over mojitos, no less), the Sirens are a wealth of wisdom that guide Linnie in the most delightful way.
True to her credit as a teller of inspiring stories, Nolfi vividly unravels a portrait of a small town with soul which readers will cherish the opportunity to revisit.
Tyler Knott Gregson is beloved for his typewriter series of poems scattered meaningfully upon found scraps of paper, makeshift canvases for simple, profound pieces of introspection. He writes of courage and love and wanderlust, and the picture he paints with his words becomes a representation of a life lived wholly, fearless of the dark places and brilliant in the light. Wildly into the Dark is his third outing in the publishing world – Gregson regularly shares his work on social media – and within the latest collection he goes on a journey into territory deeper still, sharing poetry and poetic wonderings as well as what the book’s subtitle charmingly calls, “rattlings of a curious mind.”Read More