• Becky Bechhold

A's B's and D's

Though I try to vet books before I read them, sometimes all the critics are just wrong. So I am concluding this post with a book I found bewildering for it's positive reviews. But we start with a true literary star.


Ron Rash is a spectacular writer. Thoughtful, literary,and a diligent craftsman of every sentence. You do not have to read his previous work, Serena, to appreciate the novella in In the Valley, but it is worth it to gain the full characterization of Serena. The short stories at the front of the book are exquisite. Do NOT watch the wretched movie version of Serena with Jennifer Lawrence. I wish they would remake it with Gwendoline Christie (Brienne from GOT). A+


This is a debut novel from Kelli Jo Ford who has won numerous writing awards including the Plimpton Prize.

Croooked Hallelujah follows a family of hard- headed, but determined women from the Cherokee nation in Oklahoma as they try for a better life in the 80's between OK and TX in the shadow of an overbearing church. A+



Arlene Heyman writes the story of a women who becomes a scientist and mother against all the barriers-academic, social, psychological- of the 60's, 70's and 80's. Many of the scenes in artifact were familiar to me as I worked in the summers as a lab tech before attending med school. Heyman's descriptions are spot on in the hospital as well as the classroom. Lottie, the main character was not particularly appealing to me but her story resonates. B+










This book was just laughable to me. The critics loved it as some sort of modern feminist revenge, but the story is preposterous. Smart girl marries man who becomes billionaire (with her help) then he dumps her and for revenge she creates a billion dollar personal products company- in 3 years, with no money or experience- by way of social influencers. It does include very explicit sex scenes which I did not expect, but maybe this is a good pandemic, beach, porch or pool escape novel. Just too unbelieveable for me. D.


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