Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Megan Chance

Megan Chance is the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of more than twenty novels, including A Splendid Ruin, Bone River, and An Inconvenient Wife. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest.

Chance's new novel is A Dangerous Education.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
The Whalebone Theater by Joanna Quinn

I picked this one up because I am a sucker for books about artists and actors, but also because I have a real soft spot for Europe after the first World War, and aristocratic families left with huge estates and no money, and though I don’t really love and in fact am growing really tired of books about WWII, and am unlikely to read one unless you’ve got something very new and unusual to add, there was enough in the description here, with theaters made of whalebone and intrepid missions and innocence lost, and again—actors and theater—that I decided to try it.

I was very glad I did. I knew from the first paragraphs that I was in the hands of a very good writer, and I ended up not being able to put it down. In fact, I loved this book, and it became my first favorite read of 2023. It was intricate, complicated, and emotional, with a complex family that is more than only biological, and bonded in strong and interesting ways. I heartily recommend it.

We That are Left by Clare Clark

I have loved Clare Clark since I first read her The Nature of Monsters. I think she’s a wonderful and subtle writer. This book also happens to be set during and after WWI, and again, in a English estate with a family greatly impacted by the war. So … pushing my buttons again. This one I went into knowing I was going to have a good writer to guide me. The book is about the Ellinghurst estate, the Melville children who will inherit it, and their friend, Oskar. The story takes them through the war and into adulthood, revealing secrets and intricacies as it goes. It's a story about change and resilience, and it’s an intense and intelligent, with a sense of place and period that just grabs hold and doesn’t let go. The melancholy mood of this one stayed with me for a while. It felt very real.

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy

Another of my favorite periods is the time of the Troubles in Ireland. This book was recommended to me by a bookseller friend, and it is wonderful. It takes you right into a small town near Belfast, where the heroine, Cushla, tends to her alcoholic mother and works as a teacher at a parochial school. Her brother runs a pub there, where he carefully treads a neutral line between Protestants and Catholics. Then Cushla becomes involved with a married barrister who is famous for defending IRA members, and everything in her life is called into question. The novel illustrates in a heart-wrenching way how brutally we deal with one another, and whether it’s ever possible to find freedom for oneself within the constraints we place upon ourselves and our world, those of allegiance, passion, community and family.
Visit Megan Chance's website.

Q&A with Megan Chance.

The Page 69 Test: A Dangerous Education.

My Book, The Movie: A Dangerous Education.

--Marshal Zeringue