The following reviews have recently appeared in the Sunday edition of The Gazette. Want more reviews? Check out the archive.

Irish author Roddy Doyle is often heralded for his snappy dialogue and humor, but his literary greatness comes from routinely providing readers with a heartbreaking kick in the gut alongside. This rough juxtaposition grounds his working-class Dublin stories in the hard-scrabble world he knows so well: days full of work and disappointment, as well as the humor and love needed to see them through. Despite it all, Doyle seems to say, there’s still a bit of hope. 

Not so in Doyle’s latest novel, Smile, which has a whiplash ending so tragic and unexpected reading it feels like being knocked to the ground by your own mother: a startling and tragic turn that changes the way you see everything that came before. 

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In February of 1864 Princess Eulalia was born to Queen Isabel II of Spain, a stubborn, independent child who would become as famous and beloved as Princess Diana was in the 20th century. In a new work of historical fiction, author Chantel Acevedo uses the facts of Eulalia’s extraordinary life as a springboard into a gripping fictional tale of one woman’s quest to break from the rigors of palace life and pursue an independent autonomous course.

Both a page-turner and a clever exploration of gender roles and decorum, “The Living Infinite” is an engaging read sure to inspire armchair historians and those, like Eulalia, tired of having their voices ignored. Read full review

 

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Irish author Karl Geary’s first novel, Montpelier Parade, is filled with the sort of smart dialogue and quick turns that have brought Geary success as a scriptwriter. But what makes this novel soar is the careful plotting and attention to detail which result in a series of dark – and heartbreaking - turns. A surprisingly suspenseful novel about love and family, Montpelier Parade is a marvelous debut. Read full review.