What I'm Reading by Laura - The Missing Clue - August 2019

In the last month, I've been able to get some titles off my Want-To-Read list. First, I highly recommend Ilaria Tuti's debut novel, Flowers for the Inferno, (HC, 31.95) which arrived in April 2019. This kicks off her Teresa Battaglia trilogy, though it's hard to say that Teresa is the main character - the narrative often jumps between characters and time periods. It primarily focuses on a murder in an isolated Italian village, investigated by an outside group of police officers led by Teresa. It's dark, broody, and slightly graphic without being terribly gorey.

Two Canadian authors are featured here as well - Esi Edugyan's acclaimed Washington Black, (TP, 24.99) which was released August 2018, follows the life of the title character born a slave in Barbados and selected as the personal servant to his tyrannical master's brother. The brother, a naturalist and inventor, sympathizes with the abolitionist cause, and after a tragic turn of events, escapes the island with Washington in tow. This book is not without themes of hate and violence, but Edugyan has created a beautiful, thoughtful story without ignoring the historical context.

Next, Marie-Renee Lavoie's Autopsy of a Boring Wife (TP, 22.95) is a story about heartbreak and healing. While at times incredibly sad, the sarcasm and blunt attitude of the narrator, a woman recently left by her husband, balance this and results in a wonderful sort of coming of middle-age story.

Finally, another historical fiction and another debut - Stacey Halls' The Familiars,(TP, 22.99). I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this one up, but I found it really enjoyable. Set during the Pendle Witch Trials of 1612 in Lancaster, the main character Fleetwood Shuttleworth is desperate to conceive a child, and resorts to hiring a woman as a midwife who has connections to those accused of witchcraft. There are themes of truth, empowerment, and agency explored, and it was an entertaining read.