Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s — The mountains sing *****

Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s — The mountains sing *****

Huong is the granddaughter of Grandma Dieu Lan who learns about the Tran family’s tragedies through her Grandmother. In the 1950s when the Land Reform committee arrived in their northern Vietnamese village, everything they own is stripped from the family and their lives are in danger. Grandma’s brother, Cong is murdered but the rest of the family escapes with help from a faithful employee. But Grandma is without money, and as she journeys to Hanoi, her children become separated. Once Grandma Dieu Lan has re-established her life, the U.S. war on Vietnam begins decades later and her home is destroyed by bombs. Can she start over again? Can she find her children missing once the war is over?

Nnedi Okorofor’s — Who fears death *****

Nnedi Okorofor’s — Who fears death *****

Set in Africa, this futuristic fantasy focuses on the life of Onyesonwu. After her mother is raped, Onyesonwu’s mother escapes to the east away from the genocide of the Nuru tribe against the Okeke. In Jwahir, Onyesonwu is born but she is of mixed blood and the Okeke avoid her. But something is changing. Strange powers begin to develop — her singing attracts owls, she can change into a vulture and soar above the landscape. She goes to the town’s sorcerer and begs him to train her, but he turns her away because she’s a girl. Her destiny is written in the Great Book, but how will she accomplish these tasks to stop the bloodshed happening in the west that will eventually catch up with the Okeke living in the east?

Claire Holden Rothman’s — The heart specialist *****

Claire Holden Rothman’s — The heart specialist *****

Agnes’s father is acquitted of murdering his maimed sister, but he still loses his teaching position at McGill University, and abandons his pregnant wife and daughter. But Agnes cannot forget the image she holds of her father. She is not like her younger pretty sister, Laura. She is determined to follow in her father’s footsteps and seek a medical degree at McGill and determined to find her father. In the late 1900s when women are barred from entering the medical faculty, will she succeed?

This fictional book was inspired by the work and professional life of one of Montreal’s first female physicians, Dr Maude Elizabeth Seymour Abbott.

Karen Connelly’s — The lizard cage *****

Karen Connelly’s — The lizard cage *****

Teza is a political prisoner jailed in solitary confinement in a Burmese prison. He endures his punishment with patience, an ability to focus on any tiny distraction within his cell, and the limited contact with the prison authorities.

I am at a loss as to how this entire novel took place in a jail cell, but still had me captivated by every sentence.