Contributions by Nicole Bartley

Book Review: The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers

By | Book Review, Nicole Bartley, Prose

The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers The Viking Press, 2013 Hardcover: $26.95   Everyone has a story. For The Cleaner of Chartres, Salley Vickers chose the one belonging to a quiet cleaner in Notre Dame, the famous cathedral in Chartres, France. Vickers’s problem with this choice, however, is the style with which she began …

Book Review: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

By | Book Review, Nicole Bartley, Prose

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler St. Martins’ Press, 2013 Hardback: $25.99   The Golden Couple of the Roaring ’20s was actually tarnished pyrite. This is revealed in Therese Anne Fowler’s recent novel, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. Its overall message seems to be that reputations lie; it shatters any …

Book Review: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

By | Book Review, Nicole Bartley, Prose

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra Hogarth, 2013 $26.00 A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is depressing darkness filled with war-torn horrors and punctuated by bright moments of fragile tenderness. Individual points of light converge to create a story—to convey connected lives. To view a constellation is to see each star’s past during the …

Book Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

By | Book Review, Nicole Bartley, Prose

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce Random House, 2012 When he woke up, retired 65-year-old Harold Fry probably didn’t know that he would be the man who would walk 500 miles to see a dying friend. Yet that is exactly what happens in Rachel Joyce’s national bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold …

Book Review: The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

By | Book Review, Nicole Bartley, Prose

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood is a quiet exploration of womanhood within the confines of damaged relationships. Readers are rocked between eras as they learn about love and grief throughout the novel’s parallel plotlines, which interchange between chapters. In 1919, Vivien is a “spinster” mistress who believes that her married lover, David, suffered from …

Book Review: The Golem and the Jinni

| Book Review, Nicole Bartley, Prose

The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker HarperCollins, 2013 Reviewed by Nicole Bartley In the beginning, a sickly Jewish man breathes an incantation on a ship destined for New York City, and his golem wakes. And he saw that the creation was good. Then he dies and severs the master-servant connection with the golem, …

Book Review: Scent of Darkness

| Book Review, Nicole Bartley, Prose

Scent of Darkness by Margot Berwin Pantheon Books, 2013 Review by Nicole Bartley The Scent of Darkness by Margot Berwin dabs a touch of exotic into the readers’ lives but, in the end, is just a cheap perfume. It explores glamorous, romantic dreams that many women have—dreams that those same women would not want to …

Book Review: The Angel Makers by Jessica Gregson

| Book Review, Nicole Bartley, Prose

The Angel Makers by Jessica Gregson Soho Press, 2012 Reviewed by Nicole Bartley Readers already know the ending of The Angel Makers by Jessica Gregson when they begin the story. That’s what happens when it’s based off historical events, the back summary describes those events, and the prologue reveals too much. We know the main …