The Furies by Natalie Haynes

I loved this book.  It really did keep me up all night reading.  Natalie Haynes has written a compelling story.  Not only is it an exciting thriller it is a beautifully moving story of grief and finding your way back. While it is a dark and suspenseful novel it is also laugh out loud funny and very human.

In order to go on after a shocking tragedy results in the death of her fiancé  Alex Morris moves from London and her life as an actress to Edinburgh where she accepts a teaching position.  “The Unit” is a last chance school for teens expelled from all over the city and the students in her classroom all have difficult personalities and troubled pasts. Alex, who is an inexperience teacher, is still drowning in her own grief.

Through trial and error she discovers that the Greek tragedies open a channel of communication for them all, student and teacher alike. These tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge seem to be teaching more than Alex ever intended as the students take them to heart and begin interweaving their darker lessons into real life.

The character are extremely well drawn and fully realized.  Her use of foreshadowing is well-timed and creates a strong and  believable stage for the story.  The juxtaposition of ancient wisdom as expressed in the Greek tragedies and the modern setting with kids in trouble

Natalie Haynes’ The Furies is a psychologically complex, dark and twisting novel about loss, obsession and the deep tragedies that can connect us to each other even as they blind us to our fate.

About the Author

NATALIE HAYNES is a graduate of Cambridge University and an award-winning comedian, journalist, and broadcaster. She judged the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and was a judge for the final Orange Prize in 2012. Natalie is a regular panelist on Radio 4’s Saturday Review and the long-running arts show, Front Row. She is a guest columnist for The Independent and The Guardian. The Furies is her debut novel.

UN-REMARRIED WIDOW by Ardis Henderson

In this poignant memoir a free-spirited young woman falls deeply in love and changes her life completely. It is not only the tragic story of a husband lost too soon in the Iraq war but a story of discovery, of love and hope. In impeccable prose, Artis chronicles the years bookended by the loss of two men, her father and her husband, each of whom she knew for only a short time but each of who had a profound impact on her life and on the woman she has become. The book beautifully combines the love story of her parents and her own love story. It is a book that will make you cry but also lift you up and renew your belief in true love.