“My favorite character was Beatrice,” says RIFer Barbara M. “She is a compassionate and forgiving woman who led a difficult life, and in spite of the anger, bitterness and disappointment she sometimes felt, she never purposely allowed those feelings to influence her twin daughters.”

At once a family epic and a historical drama that brings the streets and neighborhoods of Boston vividly to life from World War II through the civil rights era to the present day, A Life Apart takes readers along for the emotional journey as Morris and Beatrice’s relationship is tested by time, family loyalties, unending guilt, racial tensions, death, and the profound effects of war.

The force that drove me to be with animals defied all reason. I was compelled to have them near me no matter what.

“I began feeling little whispers deep inside – not in words, just in knowing,” writes Ellie Laks, author of My Gentle Barn.

“Go to the stream. Cross the bridge. Now turn right. I would follow this invisible force right to a bird who had fallen from her nest or to a turtle in the woods who had cracked his shell, and I would nurse those animals back to health the best I could, sneaking them into my room and making a nest out of straw and mud or setting up a box with a bowl of water and lettuce pilfered from the fridge.”

Master storyteller Ben Macintyre’s most ambitious work to date offers a powerful new angle on the twentieth century’s greatest spy story.

“The Philby story has been told many times,” says The Times of London in a review of A Spy Among Friends, “but never with such sensitivity.”

“Macintyre’s focus on friendship brings an intimacy to this book that is missing from the cardboard stereotypes that populate spy novels and conventional espionage histories. I’m not a lover of spy novels, yet I adored this book.”

Something has to give, and apparently I can’t leave my clothes behind in order to stack the wardrobe with books.

“The thing about being a critic is that you get sent a lot of review copies,” says Kaite Welsh, “and while that’s wonderful, sometimes I feel like Mickey Mouse in The Magician’s Apprentice when his spell goes wildly out of control.

We move in a week. There are 28 boxes of books, and that’s not counting the pile I need to read in the next fortnight which I have optimistically refused to pack yet. In comparison, my clothes only fit three relatively small suitcases.”

The first sentence of my novel Bittersweet reads, “Before she loathed me, before she loved me, Genevra Katherine Winslow didn’t know that I existed.”

“I’m grateful to every one of the best friends who offered herself as inspiration; without them, I’d have never been able to write about Genevra and Mabel, the best friend who tells of loving and loathing and everything in between,” says Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, author of Bittersweet.

“When I look back on these best friends as a whole, I can see that I have hardly known greater passion, heartbreak, loyalty, fierceness, envy, and need than I did with them.”

Tea cakes seem to remind everybody of a certain old lady. These simple round cookies get grown men to speak longingly of their grandmothers.

“For me, though,” says Alexe van Beuren, “these cookies remind me of Miss Lela McMinn, who is the voluntary grandmother to scores of children. She looks the part, too, with a cloud of snow-white hair and china-blue eyes.”

“During my time in the Deep South, I have found that the majority of sweet-faced, cheek-pinching, back-patting older women down here have backbones of pure steel. They have weathered vast losses and pains and have come through the storm shining and burnished.”