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Rachel Beanland

Rachel Beanland is an MFA candidate in creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds bachelor's degrees in art history and journalism from the University of South Carolina and lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and three children.

Genres: Historical, Literary Fiction
Rachel Beanland recommends
The Painter's Daughters (2024)
Emily Howes
"In the tradition of Maggie O'Farrell and Tracy Chevalier, Emily Howes brings us the story of Thomas Gainsborough's two daughters, Molly and Margaret, whom she imagines were equal parts muse and millstone for the famed eighteenth-century portrait painter. Howes' thorough research and exquisite prose brings both girls to life, but it is the author's deep understanding of mental illness and how it affects families that sets the novel apart. Emily Howes is a true talent, and I did not want this book to end."
The River, The Town (2023)
Farah Ali
"The River, The Town shimmers like a clear, blue stream. Farah Ali's debut novel, which is set in a small town in Pakistan against the backdrop of a debilitating drought, will force you to rethink everything you ever thought you needed. Ali is a talent, and where she shines is in her ability to blend the catastrophic with the everyday. This is a book you'll want to read, but it's one you need to read, too."
The Refugee Ocean (2023)
Pauls Toutonghi
"Two musicians. Two countries. Two conflicts. Two time periods. Pauls Toutonghi's breathtaking new novel, The Refugee Ocean, presents two narratives that are equally engrossing yet so far removed from one another that one of the book's central questions becomes how exactly Toutonghi will ever manage to weave the two storylines together. When he eventually does, it is more like he has brought together a pair of crash cymbals. The sound is so loud and so clear and so powerful it reverberates in your ears long after you've turned the last page."

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