Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau: A Review

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Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau is a poignant, bittersweet, and powerful novel of love, loss, and an exploration of both New England and the vaudeville circuit in the first half of the 20th Century. She shows the reader a world that few have known personally and of which few are aware, and she draws the reader into that world seemingly effortlessly.

Gauffreau skillfully tells the story of Faby Gauthier and her life in Vermont both during and after she met, was seduced, and married a dancer named Slim White on stage and Louis Kittell in his real life. Sonny is a selfish man who uses his sophistication to take Faby’s virginity and impregnate her. At this time, for a girl with a child on the way, this was a difficult situation. Gauffreau handles the story beautifully. It is neither overly sentimental nor it is maudlin. Gauffreau weaves her story and tells us the lives of people and how they survive.

Gauffreau, through excellent dialogue and description, creates this past world and in an historical and literary novel, pulls the reader into the tale and makes us care about Gaby and her son.

Gaby is faced with having to tell her grown son who is waiting for his wedding that his father, who abandoned them is now dead from a car accident. Gauffreau adds this layer of tension to this novel and does it quietly and with precision and care.

This is a tale of quiet strength and desperation, of love and abandonment, and of death and life. It is a novel of family, of connection, and ultimately of love.

Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau is a sweet, lovely, insightful, and compelling novel, and I give it my highest recommendation.

The Stone Arch Secret by K.D. Dowdall: A Five Star Book!

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This fine novel by K.D. Dowdall is a wonderful crossing of the genres of mystery and romance. Mixing genres has potential difficulties, but none of those exist in this sophisticated and engaging book. Rather than getting confused about where to take the tale, K.D. Dowdall skillfully infuses elements of both genres and effectively creates her own new genre: mystery-romance!

From the moment I began reading, I was pulled into the story in this book. The narrative moves between the contemporary mystery and the backstory with Lilly, Noah, and Dax. The tone of Karen’s story is subtle and complex, in which she weaves together a love story, grief for the death of a friend, mystery in an old town, and the threat of a well-drawn, compelling, and threatening villain.

One of the themes of the novel is the potential for corruption in religion and the consequences that can emerge from the combination of political power and, what is essentially a cult, in small town New England. K.D. Dowdall’s rendering of this political/religious threat is powerful and frightening.

K.D. Dowdall shows a mastery of history as well as using convincing dialogue with a welcomed restraint in her description of violence and threat. In all parts of this book, it is well-drawn and carefully crafted.

I will not give any spoilers in this review, but I will say that I recommend this book completely and give it a five star review. If you are a fan of books with a subtle and sophisticated writing style, a fan of mysteries, or a fan of romance, then you will enjoy this wonderful tale.

Please do yourselves a favor, and buy and read this novel!

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