In their most recent novels, national bestselling authors Cathy Marie Buchanan and Karma Brown both write about women and their fight for their future. Whether it is in the magic-filled world of an Iron Age Britain or the parallels between the modern day and a 1950s New York suburb, the issues of love, resilience and family tether these novels.
Watch a recording of this event below:
Cathy Marie Buchanan
Cathy Marie Buchanan transports readers—not only in time and place, but to a world painted rich with detail and textured with her imagination. Daughter of Black Lake is her first novel since The Painted Girls in 2012, a New York Times best-seller. Deciding the setting for Daughter of Black Lake appeared when Buchanan was flipping through a newspaper when the photo of a preserved thousand-year-old body with lines in the face and a noose mark around the neck caught her attention. Peat from a bog had carefully upheld the remains, hence the name “bog bodies.” From this vivid article she became curious about earlier generations and societies that were bound by the land, offering sacrifices in return for a high crop yield. Buchanan then recognized that the research for her next book would be very different than her other novels. Once it was clear that there was little written word and poor archaeologic record because of the various points of view, she zeroed in on an expert of the British Iron Age to take her on a trip to see for herself.
Magic flows freely through the traditions and rituals of a remote, ancient settlement during the first century AD. “I included magic because it was integral to how [the people] understood their world at the time. We have science and our origins, they have magic,” says Buchanan. She used more speculation and imagination while filling in the unknown of the world at this time and “it was very liberating!”
Daughter of Black Lake is full of enchantment and at its heart details a kinship with the earth. Hobble, daughter of Devout, has a remarkable gift propelling her deeply into the powers of the natural world. Cathy Marie Buchanan reminds us of our utter reliance on Mother Nature, that we have lost our sense of “awe” with regards to all she does for us. Buchanan closes with, “Hopefully while reading, people will look around and see what is around them.”
Karma Brown’s captivating fifth novel, Recipe for a Perfect Wife, is a dual narrative that leaps across sixty years. In a suburban town outside of New York City, Alice Hale has relocated with her husband only to feel the overwhelming pressure to settle down and start a family. It is only when she finds a cookbook in her new home that she begins to find purpose in her day-to-day. The cookbook ties Alice to Nellie Murdoch, the 1950s housewife and former inhabitant of her new home. As Alice immerses herself in Nellie’s essence, disconcerting parallels begin to reveal themselves.
Being a lover of vintage cookbooks, a copy of The Purity Cookbook 875 Tested Recipes, became Brown’s talisman, a tangible object where she could center her characters. As Alice becomes obsessed with Nellie and the 1950s housewife culture, Karma Brown considers the correlation between the modern marriage and a time when a Ladies’ Home Journal existed. Though Nellie has had a more constricted life and must exude a more aggressive stance about how to achieve her independence, Brown highlights with great force that the fight for women’s autonomy has been a long and winding road.
A simmering mystery and timely novel, Recipe for a Perfect Wife is not shy about reiterating the dialogue we need to hear surrounding feminism, empathy, happiness and respect.
To Cathy Marie Buchanan and Karma Brown, thank you for a powerful evening so full of knowledge surrounding your writing process and the overflow of research you sift through to weave your stories together. It was an enchanting to share a screen with you. Thank you to Bush Pilot Brewing Company and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for providing two lucky winners with your stellar giveaways! For signed copies of our featured novels, contact our beloved Epic Books of Hamilton.
This blog post was written by our fwonderful guest blogger Teanne Teeft, thanks Teanne!
November Grimsby Author Series
Monday, November 23
Amy Stuart and Samantha M. Bailey
Enjoy this Grimsby Author Series event from the comfort of your own home! Bestselling Canadian authors Amy Stuart and Samantha Bailey will be discussing their latest novels and taking questions from the audience via a free Zoom Webinar.
This evening this will feature giveaways from Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra! One lucky winner will be chosen for each of the giveaways from those who complete our post-event survey.
Signed copies of the books
If you would like to get a signed copy of either Still Here or Woman on the Edge please email or call our wonderful sponsors at Epic Books of Hamilton. They’ll have signed books ready, just tell them you would like to order one as a guest of the Grimsby Author Series.
Deliveries are free within Hamilton (on orders over $25), or if you’d like to pick it up at the library, let them know at the time of purchase. We’ll let you know when it is ready to pick up here.