Reading Room Book Reviews: New Books by Hudson Valley Authors in January 2014
New and noteworthy books with a local flavor
The folklore-happy village of Tarrytown is home to the Stitchery Yarn Shop in author Lisa Van Allen’s The Wishing Thread (Ballantine Books, $15). This magical realism novel follows the story of the estranged Van Ripper sisters, a trio of modern-day young women — some people think they are witches — who are said to have the ability to grant wishes by knitting them into hats, scarves, and other wearable woollens. When the three inherit the Stitchery, their family’s legacy, their bonds with each other — as well as their “magic powers” — are all put to the test. Van Allen seamlessly blends all-too-common family situations with a touch of the supernatural, knitting together — literally and figuratively — intriguing relationships and personable characters.
Ulster County author Carol Goodman remembers writing her first magical story, a 90-page crayon-illustrated tale, as a fourth-grader. Published under the pseudonym Juliet Black, Goodman’s The Water Witch (Ballantine Books, $15) is the second book in her “Fairwick Chronicles”
trilogy. This paranormal romance novel introduces readers to Callie, a professor of (appropriately) gothic literature who lives in Fairwick, a town in the Catskills that is home to fairies, vampires, and mythical creatures of all sorts. As a “doorkeeper” between the natural and supernatural worlds, the heroine must use her emerging powers to help save the town from a group of sinister witches — even though she may lose her heart in the process. Atmospheric and suspenseful, this fast-moving fantasy shows off Goodman’s storytelling skills to good advantage.