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Archive for May, 2011

Picoult tackles the controversial topic of gay rights in her latest novel. When music therapist Zoe Baxter’s latest pregnancy ends in a stillbirth, her husband Max decides he can’t handle any more heartbreak and leaves her. As she picks up the pieces of her life, Zoe is surprised to find herself falling for a school counselor who happens to be a woman. While Zoe is finding happiness with Vanessa, Max falls off the wagon and is helped by a pastor from his brother’s evangelical church. Vanessa and Zoe wed in Massachusetts, and Vanessa offers to carry one of the fertilized embryos Zoe and Max stored. Excited by the prospect of being a mother, Zoe goes to Max to get him to release the embryos to her and is shocked when he instead sues her for custody of them, backed by his church. Told from the perspectives of all three major characters, Picoult’s gripping novel explores all sides of the hot-button issue.

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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In 2005, the author, Lemmon, went to Afghanistan on assignment for the Financial Times to write about women entrepreneurs. When she met a dressmaker named Kamila Sediqi, Lemmon knew she had her story. It’s an exciting, engrossing one that reads like a novel, complete with moments of tension and triumph, plus well-researched detail on daily life in Kabul under Taliban rule. When that regime descended in 1996, it brought fear, violence, and restrictions: women must stay home, may not work, and must wear the burqa in public. After Sediqi’s parents left the city to avoid being pressed into service (or worse) by the Taliban, it fell to her to support the family. Hers is a fascinating story that touches on family, gender, business, and politics and offers inspiration through the resourceful, determined woman at its heart.

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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