Ann's Blog
Ann McCauley is a Pennsylvania women's literature author, who wrote the books Runaway Grandma and Mother Love, both available for sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

October 2023
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June Blog
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann @ 11:22 am
Be careful what you wish for - summer is here and so far its been a ride, we’ve gone from drought with brown dying grass to days of heavy rain with high grass that’s begging to be mowed. Now we are shut inside with the windows closed under air quality red alert due to the massive Canadian forest fires. And so it goes, we’re all in the same boat and it feels like no one has a paddle!

We’ve had grad parties, family picnics and time with friends and family. I’ve also been able to squeeze in time to reorganize my office… 4 large garbage bags have gone out the door. I am not quite finished, hopefully before July 1, the last bag will go out the door! It’s the first REAL cleaning of files, drawers,  stacks and stacks of books since I began seriously writing in 2005. I also mailed books to a few friends and gave some to Goodwill. It is a process I find necessary preparation to finally finish my new novel.

I’ve also read several books this month:

A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay. 2011. Historical Fiction. This novel is about family secrets. (Spoiler note: It’s not the same level of suspense and intrigue as the author’s blockbuster bestseller - Sarah’s Key.) But it is a good story that pulls the reader into a web of distrust and misunderstandings. Characters are varied, original and well developed. The transformation of Antoine, one of the protagonists, was especially remarkable. The plot twists are surprising and it has a satisfactory conclusion. It made me feel like I’d spent some time in France, without the hassle of travel or the worry of learning French. 

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan. 2022. Fiction. This was our book club’s choice for June. It has a complicated plot, which of course, the reader expects given the depth of the two co-writers experiences and impressive lists of published novels. It was an in-depth look at transgender issues, a surprise to most of our group and it promoted a lively and long discussion of the issues. The characters were well-developed and the issues well-researched. We learned more about bee keeping than we ever wanted to know…and perhaps the same is true about transgender issues. Two mothers from different parts of the USA escape abusive relationships and start over in a small New England town. They each have one child who meet as adolescents in high school and fall in love. Both are estranged from their fathers. One  dies and a trial follows. It’s very well-written. I recommend it to anyone who is even a bit curious about the transgender buzz that’s so much in the news these days.

Hang the Moon by Jeanette Walls. 2023. Historical Fiction. Set in a small Virginia town near the Blue Ridge Mountains during Prohibition, the characters are well-developed and the era is well-researched. The story starts with Sallie Kincaid, age 8, wanting to be the fastest girl in the world as she races her wagon down the family’s long curving driveway. She’s the apple of her daddy’s eye, he’s the biggest and richest man in their small town. All that changes suddenly when she attempts teaching her 3 year-old brother how to steer the wagon down the hill. Miscalculating a curve, he upsets and loses consciousness. Her stepmother blames Sallie and her father is forced to send her away for ‘a while‘ which tuned into 9 years until her stepmother’s unexpected funeral. The novel is layered with complicated relationships, clan fighting, government corruption, unexpected plot twists and Sallie’s steadfast fearless leadership, loyalty and empathy. The reader can’t help loving our gal Sal. I highly recommend this novel.(J Walls’ first novel was the NYT’s Bestselling The Glass Castle, made into a great movie.)

The Trackers by Charles Frazier. 2023. Historical Fiction. This well researched Depression-era novel has wonderfully well-developed characters, and enough suspense threaded through the twisting plot to keep the reader turning pages. The descriptions of the land and mountains are amazing, describing a clear sunny day with a “bland blue sky.” The protagonist, Val, is a recent art school graduate who’s personally not been affected by the Depression, except for lack of opportunities after graduation. His former art professor connects him with a post office in a small Wyoming town to paint a western themed mural on the wall. Val meets a wealthy rancher, his ranch staff and and his lovely young wife. Master storyteller Frazier takes these facts and creates another classic. Layers of tension between the haves and have nots add another dimension to this novel. (Frazer also wrote NYT bestselling Cold Mountain, also made into a great movie.)

And one more, I will not mention the author’s name or book title. But I browsed through Walmart’s book section a few days ago and there were 29 titles on the various shelves by this writer! 29!! She is very successful but sadly our young people who read and love these books are becoming addicted to trashy fiction. I will say no more.

We’ve also watched a couple movies on Prime and Netflix but I forgot to write them down. Sorry! if I remember them, I will write them down to share with you next month.

Till then please stay well and keep reading, my friends.


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