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.
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."
The Tutor (2015)
"A sumptuous, page-turning account of William Shakespeare's muse in 1590âs England. I was completely captivated."
We Were the Lucky Ones (2017)
"Will leave you breathless...a brave and mesmerizing debut."
The Half-Drowned King (2017)
(Golden Wolf Trilogy, book 1)
"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)
"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)
"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 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)
"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)
"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 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)
"I’ve always been fascinated by homing pigeons, and Alan Hlad makes these amazing birds and their trainers shine in The Long Flight Homea 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."
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