Welcome to my library! We are all readers looking for the next fabulous book. In my search I have found many books that will just knock your socks off. Books that I have to share. So come on in and look around. Pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable; gently flip open the pages, the magic is about to begin.

My intentions for this blog are:

1) To have monthly author spotlights in which I will write about the authors themselves and give several reviews of their different books.

2) Biweekly book reviews. I will review one book but also discuss similar books of the same topic. Because one book is never enough.

3) Newbie writer alert will review books of new unheard writers whose work deserves to be heard.

4) I will endeavor to talk about Canadian writers and titles.

Book Hunt section where people can ask about books they would like to read and get suggestions. If you have read a great book that you want to share with someone else, please feel free to leave your comments.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Newbie Writer Alert- Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli

Today we will be discussing the new writer Jessica Maria Tuccelli and her new book Glow which will be released on March 19, 2012.

Quote of the Week

Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”
Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections

As you have noticed I am new to blogging.  I have been having technical difficulties with the site but I have decided to let that go, learn on the fly and JUST START WRITING!!!  Which, of course, is why I am blogging in the first place, I need to write.  Also, I love reading and feel the need to express my opinions to an unsuspecting public and if possible contact a few like minded people. (A scary thought I am sure for people who actually know me.)  Eventually, I will get the comment section and the email sections and even figure out to how to get pictures in my post but for now this is what I have.

I tend to cluster read.  When I find a good book or author I want to read that subject or everything that person has ever written.  Yes, I am a book junkie and now have become a book reading enabler…. Perhaps we should form a self help group.  I will lead.  I confess that I have several books hidden in my sock drawer.  Well I feel better but that was possibly too personal since we have only just met.  What I want to say is that with any book review I will always give you other similar titles and the names of writers who write in a similar style.  

Back to business.

My intentions for this blog are:
1)      To have monthly author spotlights in which I will write about the authors themselves and give several reviews of their different books. 
2)      Biweekly book reviews.  I will review one book but also discuss similar books of the same topic.  Because one book is never enough.
3)      Newbie writer alert will review books of new unheard writers whose work deserves to be heard.
4)      I will endeavor to talk about Canadian writers and titles.
5)      Book Hunt section where people can ask about books they would like to read and get suggestions.  If you have read a great book that you want to share with someone else, please feel free to leave your comments. 

Newbie Writer Alert of the Month
Jessica Maria Tuccelli

Genre: Historical fiction with a smidge of the paranormal
Depth: Serious topic some disturbing scenes/topics but not overly graphic
Topic: Racism in the southern states, slavery, treatment of indigenous peoples
Book complexity: Multiple storylines, multiple timelines, many characters
Rating: 5 stars. Exceptional book
Received from: Goodreads First-reads giveaway
Publisher date: To be published-March 19, 2012

Book Description from Goodreads:
A breathtaking Georgia-mountain epic about the complex bond of mothers and daughters across a century.
In the autumn of 1941, Amelia J. McGee, a young woman of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish descent, and an outspoken pamphleteer for the NAACP, hastily sends her daughter, Ella, alone on a bus home to Georgia in the middle of the night-a desperate action that is met with dire consequences when the child encounters two drifters and is left for dead on the side of the road.
Ella awakens to find herself in the homestead of Willie Mae Cotton, a wise hoodoo practitioner and former slave, and her partner, Mary-Mary Freeborn, tucked deep in the Takatoka forest. As Ella begins to heal, the legacies of her lineage are revealed.
Glow transports us from Washington, D.C., on the brink of World War II to 1836 and into the mountain coves of Hopewell County, Georgia, full of ghosts both real and imagined. Illuminating the tragedy of human frailty, the power of friendship and hope, and the fiercest of all human bonds-mother love-this stunning debut will appeal to readers of both Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees and Amy Green's Bloodroot.

Jackleen’s Review

Glow is the exceptionally well written debut novel of Jessica Maria Tuccelli.  Indian legends, ‘haints’ and hoodoo magic flickers through this brilliantly written novel of the history of the southern states.  This is an expertly weaved tale written in the vernacular of several different characters from the small mountainous community of Hopewell County, Georgia ranging back and forth in time from the onset of WWII to 1836. 

Tuccelli illuminates the history of slavery and the forced exodus of the Indians native to this region of Georgia and their often cruel treatment at the hands of the overpowering white population.  The surprising interconnectedness of the community and the contrasting racial barriers are honestly explored in this riveting epic.  Most importantly, this is a story about the bonds of family and friendship, as well as, the special relationship between mothers and daughters.  It is about human love, kindness and hope in the face of tragedy, shame and cruelty.  Ghosts weave in and out of this story as the stains of shame and guilt thread through the tapestry of the history of the colonization of North America.

 Too often these days, I have picked up books to read based on the back summary only to find upon completion that the descriptions given about the novel have in no way met my expectations.  I can honestly say that the back description of Glow does not do this fabulous book justice.  The story line of Ella McGee lost and left for dead at the side of the road, on the back of the book is one small thread in a multicoloured tapestry consisting of four main storylines. The alternating storylines include: Amelia McGee, of Scotch-Irish and Cherokee descent, and Ella’s mother, in two different timelines of 26 years old, searching for her lost daughter, and at the age of nine, surviving a lonely childhood while being bullied as a ‘half-breed’; Willie Mae cotton, former slave and wise hoodoo practitioner, who tells her story of growing up on a plantation at the beck and call of an unstable mistress; and, Riddle Young, whose father was white and mother Cherokee, orphaned as a teenager with a small sister to raise on his own, goes on to form a bond with the wealthy Solomon Bound, building and eventually managing the large plantation but never belonging to the white community.  Tuccelli like a busy spider spins a tale consisting of these seemingly disconnected stories drawing us further into the center of her web whereupon the connectedness of all the characters is revealed.  Yet, this small storyline of Ella is the alpha and the omega of the story, literally the beginning and the end; and in the end, she is the sum total of the community and their future hope.

The strength of this novel is literally the writing.  The prose is fluid and, yet sharp.  The storylines are distinct, and each told from the first person POV.  And, each is told in a different variation of the vernacular and immediately recognizable.  In fact, you could easily open the book at any page and know with which character you are reading without hunting for the chapter heading.  The characters are so well drawn they could step off the page.  The scenery and environs of the community of Hopewell, with the mountains and farms, the alternating heat and rain storms, are well drawn and reflect each different timeline with abundant detail.

I love big epic stories with multiple storylines and characters.  Glow does have a large number of characters some of which flit in and out of the different storylines, and I was quite grateful for the family tree at the beginning of the book and used it repeatedly to the keep characters straight in my own mind.  While I enjoyed the challenge of keeping track of who is who, I can see how others could find this frustrating.  Both the manner and subject matter of this book are in no way light hearted; however, the satisfaction upon the completion of this book was huge. 

Days after completing this book, I continue to think of the characters of Glow and their stories.  This book was insightful and lent a unique perspective of the non-white history of American.  And, although terrible wrongs were committed, the story never lost sight of hope, love and the interconnectedness that makes us human.

I can only hope that Jessica Maria Tuccelli continues to write and I look forward to the next novel. 

Similar Books


Lawrence Hill- The Book of Negros
I read this many years ago. Excellent book.  Describes the neglected history of the black persons of Canada and presents Aminata, a remarkably resilient woman.  As a young girl abducted from her West African village, and sent in slavery to a plantation in the southern states she clings to the memory of her mother and what she learned at her side, midwifery.  In seeking her freedom Aminata travels from the south to New York City on to a camp in Nova Scotia then to Sierra Leon in which 1200 former slaves return to Africa.  Strong female character, very interesting history combined with excellent writing. 

Any Known Blood
 I bought this several months ago as I loved Hills first book.  It has been lost in my socks/ TBR pile.  Dusting off the lint and see potential author spot light in the future.  (From book Cover) “ …a sweeping saga of five generations of black Canadian family whose tragedies and victories merge with the American experience… tale about one man’s attempt to find himself through unearthing and giving voice to those who came before him.”  That does sound good doesn’t it!

Marie Jakober- The Halifax Connection
A Canadian historical mystery set during the time of the American Civil War.  Not exactly the same topic but similar timeline. Very Good book.  I am sure it will surprise quite a few Canadians to discover what our forefathers were getting up to at this time in history.

Thomas King-Green Grass Running Water
An excellent example of Native American fiction describing the difficulties for modern natives to live both within their traditional ways and modern society.  Reflects on the historical treatment of the Native Americans in both Canada and the United States.  Despite topic, very funny.  Satirical.

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