Girl at War by Sara Novic (Random House) When most Americans think about the Balkan states and the wars which raged there in the second half of the 20th century we think about Bosnia or Kosovo. In Girl at War, Novic offers another perspective, that of a young woman caught up in the fear and heartache of the Croatian War for Independence. Whelan’s narration is very well balanced, striking the appropriate emotional notes without being melodramatic.
The Well by Catherine Chanter (Washington Square Press) It should have been a bad time to move from the city to a farm, what with the persistent drought throughout not only the UK but all of Europe. But Ruth and her husband Mark are plagued by rumors and bad memories, and they are assured that the farm they are buying has a persistent water table. It is more than that at The Well, though. Here there is rain, crops grow prolifically. It doesn’t take long before their neighbors begin to resent them and their land becomes a magnet for the desperate. Chanter’s tale is enchanting, spinning a web which ensnares readers quickly into Ruth’s life and the dramatic events caused by the catastrophic drought.