Paula McLain's picture

Paula McLain

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Paula McLain received an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan and has been a resident of Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. She is the author of two collections of poetry, as well as a memoir, Like Family, and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. She lives in Cleveland with her family.

Genres: Historical, Mystery

   Less of Her (poems) (1999)
   Stumble, Gorgeous (poems) (2005)
Series contributed to
Non fiction
Paula McLain recommends
City of Women (2012)
David R Gillham
"A moving and masterful debut . . . Powerful and piercingly real. You won’t soon forget these characters."
Euphoria (2014)
Lily King
"With Euphoria, Lily King gives us a searing and absolutely mesmerizing glimpse into 1930's New Guinea, a world as savage and fascinating as Conrad's Heart of Darkness, where obsessions rise to a feverish pitch, and three dangerously entangled anthropologists will never be the same again. Jaw-droppingly, heart-stoppingly beautiful. I loved this book."
The Tutor (2015)
Andrea Chapin
"A sumptuous, page-turning account of William Shakespeare's muse in 1590’s England. I was completely captivated."
The Truth According to Us (2015)
Annie Barrows
"In 'The Truth According to Us', Annie Barrows leaves no doubt that she is a storyteller of rare caliber, with wisdom and insight to spare. As she subtly unpacks the emotional intricacies of the Romeyn family and their small West Virginia town in the wake of the Great Depression, we re struck by the slipperiness of history how the stories we tell each other and ourselves often demand to be interrogated; how the things we re driven know about our families, our towns, our closest intimates, will always change us, sometimes over and over. Barrows is at her best here. Every page rings like a bell."
Leaving Lucy Pear (2016)
Anna Solomon
"In Anna Solomon's marvellously textured new novel, Cape Ann in the late 1920s thrums with the issues of the day. When two seemingly dissimilar women become bound to the same child, we're given a piercing and often profound look at motherhood, what it is and isn't, as well as the ways suffering makes and unmakes us all, sometimes many times over. Solomon is an enormously gifted writer, and her penetrating tale will linger in your mind long after the last page has turned."
We Were the Lucky Ones (2017)
Georgia Hunter
"Will leave you breathless...a brave and mesmerizing debut."
The Half-Drowned King (2017)
(Golden Wolf Trilogy, book 1)
Linnea Hartsuyker
"Linnea Hartsuyker brings myth and legend roaring to life in this superbly good page-turning saga of Viking-era Norway. Hartsuyker is fearless as she navigates a harsh, exacting and hair-raising world, with icy fjords and raiding seasons and ancient blood feuds. But the book’s fiercest magic shines in the characters of Ragnvald and Svanhild, as unforgettable a brother and sister duo as I can remember in recent literature. Linnea Hartsuyker is an exciting, original voice in historical fiction, and The Half-Drowned King is nothing short of mesmerizing."
White Houses (2018)
Amy Bloom
"It seems a minor miracle, what Amy Bloom has done in White Houses. In Lorena Hickok’s unforgettable voice, she brings an untold slice of history so dazzlingly and devastatingly to life, it took my breath away. Easily, the most intimate, crackling, and expansive rendering of Eleanor Roosevelt in print, and, more than this, a dizzyingly beautiful tale of what it means to be human, and what it is to love."
The Verdun Affair (2018)
Nick Dybek
"The Verdun Affair is ravishingly beautiful, and as much about love as about war. I found myself drawn in immediately, believing the place, the characters, everything in Nick Dybek's magnificently woven story, which is as finely painted and meted out as Anthony Doerr's, All the Light we Cannot See, and yet fully its own book. Dybek is a storyteller of great power. If there's any justice, this novel will be widely read and recognized. I absolutely adored it."
Becoming Mrs. Lewis (2018)
Patti Callahan
"Patti Callahan seems to have found the story she was born to tell in this tale of unlikely friendship turned true love between Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis."
Marilla of Green Gables (2018)
Sarah McCoy
"L.M. Montgomery's Marilla Cuthbert flares to life in Sarah McCoy's enchanting novel of Avonlea. But this Marilla feels very much earned by McCoy, and her story, one of wrenching family sacrifice and the enduring pleasures of home, as much a love letter to the world of Green Gables as it is a breath of fresh air. Hats off to McCoy for enlivening this classic with such heart and grace."
A Well Behaved Woman (2018)
Therese Anne Fowler
"In this captivating novel about the indomitable Alva Vanderbilt, Therese Fowler plunges us with wonderful energy into New York's Gilded Age. Alva provides a fascinating prism for the challenges and pleasures of era, and is endlessly engrossing as a character, full of action and vision and will--just the sort of woman I love knowing more about. I dare you not to dive right in."
Finding Dorothy (2019)
Elizabeth Letts
"Old Hollywood is its own kind of Oz in Finding Dorothy, complete with false dazzle and complex combinations of threat and allure. But what really satisfies here is the unlikely friendship between L. Frank Baum's unsinkable widow, Maud, and the young Judy Garland, on the vulnerable cusp of fame. It's an alliance that seems touched with magic and serendipity and something even more transformative, true understanding between women."
The Guest Book (2019)
Sarah Blake
"Sarah Blake is such a beautiful writer she can make any world shimmer, but The Guest Book is particularly fascinating?an intergenerational exploration of memory, identity, love, and family loyalty?of what it costs to inherit a name, a place, and a difficult alignment with history. Powerful and provocative storytelling."
The Long Flight Home (2019)
Alan Hlad
"I’ve always been fascinated by homing pigeons, and Alan Hlad makes these amazing birds and their trainers shine in The Long Flight Home—a sweeping tale full of romance and espionage, poignant sacrifice and missed chances, uncommon courage and the ongoing costs of war. A compelling debut told with conviction and great heart."
Before the Devil Fell (2019)
Neil Olson
"Here is a writer to watch."
Girl at the Edge (2020)
Karen Dietrich
"Karen Dietrich can stop your heart with a sentence."
The Book of Lost Friends (2020)
Lisa Wingate
"A tale of enduring power."
The Narcissism of Small Differences (2020)
Michael Zadoorian
"In The Narcissism of Small Differences, Michael Zadoorian writes with smart, skewering accuracy about relationships and midlife, about the costs of irony and complacency, and about how change comes for all of us, whether we're ready for it or not. Zadoorian's humor does that rare thing: packs a punch even as it moves us to sympathy and emotional connection. With Detroit as his steady muse and memory palace, Zadoorian is a writer of consequence in full command of his gifts."
The Exiles (2020)
Christina Baker Kline
"Master storyteller Christina Baker Kline is at her best in this epic tale of Australia's complex history--a vivid and rewarding feat of both empathy and imagination. I loved this book."
The Fortunate Ones (2021)
Ed Tarkington
"The Fortunate Ones feels like a fresh and remarkably sure-footed take on The Great Gatsby, examining the complex costs of attempting to transcend or exchange your given class for a more gilded one. Tarkington’s understanding of the human heart and mind is deep, wise, and uncommonly empathetic. As a novelist, he is the real deal. I can’t wait to see this story reach a wide audience, and to see what he does next."
Eternal (2021)
Lisa Scottoline
"Powerful and absorbing…at the heart of the novel is an enduring message, that what’s perhaps most heroic in any life is to love fiercely and completely, in spite of loss and betrayal, and even beyond death."
Palace of the Drowned (2021)
Christine Mangan
"In her taut and mesmerizing follow up to Tangerine, the preternaturally gifted Christine Mangan plunges us into another exotic and bewitchingly rendered locale, this time Venice off-season, moody and damp, where well-known novelist Frankie Croy has gone to escape dark memories. Instead, a surprise entanglement with a mysterious young woman sets Frankie on edge, threatening to unravel her already precarious mental state. Voluptuously atmospheric and surefooted at every turn, Palace of the Drowned more than delivers on the promise of Mangan's debut, and firmly establishes her as a writer of consequence."
Rock the Boat (2021)
Beck Dorey-Stein
"Beck Dorey-Stein’s buoyant first novel is about finding out who you are and what matters most when everything tips sideways. It’s about rediscovering what love costs and finding your way back to the people who truly mean home. Funny and effervescent, hope and heart-filled, Rock the Boat is a breath of delicious and utterly fresh air."
Songs in Ursa Major (2021)
Emma Brodie
"Songs in Ursa Major reads like sexy, confessional liner notes to the age of the singer-songwriter. Emma Brodie sieves through history to give us a behind-the-scenes, behind-closed-doors view of an aspiring singer’s tumultuous rise to fame. But if Jane Quinn and Jesse Reid will be familiar to fans of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, they are also intimate and sparklingly original. A drenching, delicious and impressive debut."
The Last Guest (2021)
Tess Little
"With skewering intensity and taut, unsettling prose, Tess Little plunges us into the kaleidoscopic glamour of Hollywood, where the eccentric birthday party of a brilliant, sadistic director forces the eruption of long-buried pain. The Last Guest is a sharp, unshrinking look at the costs of submission—to power and control, to ambition and desire, even to the wish to protect those we love by forcing memory underground. It’s timely, smart, and satisfying."
The Christie Affair (2022)
Nina de Gramont
"The Christie Affair is a pitch-perfect hat-trick of a novel, delivering a fascinating glimpse into history, with the sensational and unexplained disappearance of Agatha Christie, a layered and completely satisfying murder mystery, and a moving, emotional rendering of love, loss, revenge and redemption - all with effortlessly stunning prose. I loved every page, and will be recommending this to everyone I know!"
Notes on an Execution (2022)
Danya Kukafka
"In Notes on an Execution, Danya Kukafka gives us something wrenchingly original, a rare and unsettling reading experience that challenges us to peel back what we believe about the criminal justice system, good and evil, and what human beings are capable of, both in darkness and in light. A moving tour de force of empathy and insight. I loved this book."
Wingwalkers (2022)
Taylor Brown
"Taylor Brown writes with rare energy, spinning out history with the force of myth. Wingwalkers thrusts us into the lives of two daredevil aeronauts during the Great Depression, who happen to awaken and inspire William Faulkner. Brown's vision is as fresh and audacious as his language. Gutsy, original, and powerfully imagined."
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau (2022)
Silvia Moreno-Garcia
"The brilliant and unstoppable Silvia Moreno-Garcia continues to weave her magic in The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, a smart, sinister fable about social inequality and exploitation, isolation and abuse of power. In her usual fashion, Moreno-Garcia has given us an extraordinary heroine to root for in Carlota, a young woman who can't know until she's tested how much power is hers to claim. Both lacerating and deeply empathetic, this story satisfies the reader on every page."
I'm the Girl (2022)
Courtney Summers
"Scorchingly smart and on point, Courtney Summers' latest novel advances her even more fearlessly into the conversation about female autonomy, sexuality, and the damage wrought when young women try to win in a system rigged against them. Taut, unfiltered and unapologetically emotional, I'm the Girl digs in its nails and doesn't let go."

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