Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

June 19, 2022
Feel-Good Novel About Family, Friendship, and Finding Your Own Path; and a Multi-generational Saga of an Indigenous Southwest Family
Flying Solo by Linda Holmes. The author of Evvie Drake Starts Over delivers another charmer here. In her new novel, a woman returns to her small Maine hometown, uncovering family secrets that take her on a journey of self-discovery and new love in what Booklist calls "a delightful story about the bonds of family and friendship."

Smarting from her recently cancelled wedding and about to turn 40, Laurie Sassalyn returns to her Maine hometown of Calcasset to handle the estate of her great-aunt Dot, a spirited adventurer who lived to be 93. Alongside boxes of Polaroids and pottery, a mysterious wooden duck shows up at the bottom of a cedar chest. Laurie’s curiosity is piqued, even when she's told that the duck has no financial value. But after it disappears under suspicious circumstances, she sets out to uncover why anyone would steal a wooden duck—and why Dot kept it hidden away in the first place. Soon, Laurie finds herself swept up in a caper that has her negotiating with antiques dealers and con artists, going on after-hours dates at the local library, and reconnecting with her oldest friend and her first love.

Kirkus Reviews praised Flying Solo's protagonist in its review, writing that " Laurie is refreshing as a heroine who is entering her forties, a size 18, and completely comfortable with her life as an unmarried, child-free woman. . . . A charming and easygoing look at all kinds of love and the beauty of independence, featuring supremely likable characters."
Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. This June's Indie Next pick from the author of Sabrina & Corina - a finalist for the National Book Award - is an epic novel of betrayal, love, and fate that spans five generations of an Indigenous Chicano family in the American West.

Luz “Little Light” Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, is left to fend for herself after her older brother, Diego is run out of town by a violent white mob. As Luz navigates 1930s Denver, she begins to have visions that transport her to her Indigenous homeland in the nearby Lost Territory. Luz recollects her ancestors’ origins, how her family flourished, and how they were threatened. She bears witness to the sinister forces that have devastated her people and their homelands for generations. In the end, it is up to Luz to save her family stories from disappearing into oblivion.

In a rave review, book industry newsletter Shelf Awareness wrote: "Combining extensive research with a propulsive narrative that spans decades, Fajardo-Anstine delivers a historical novel that never feels like a history lesson. She does so in prose often joyous and warm but unsparing in its depiction of oppression based on race, gender, and class. Mysterious and vivid, Woman of Light is an extraordinary painting of a vibrant world both old and new."