The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of March 9, 2021

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March 9, 2021

How far would you go for the life you want?

In his interview with Ed Tarkington last month for Reader Meet Writer, Wiley Cash called The Fortunate Ones "an old school sweeping saga done in a surprisingly slim number of pages." A story of the vulnerability of youth and an empathetic exploration into how power corrupts, the bookseller buzz for The Fortunate Ones was almost deafening, long before it had been published. The story was compared to The Great Gatsby (which surprised the author), and Catcher in the Rye (which did not), and promptly marked for book clubs and school reading lists.

"This is a character driven novel with a storyline as opulent as the mansions within." -Damita Nocton, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC

" I fell in love with Charlie's voice and story, and it's him I kept turning the page for. " -- Annie Jones, The Bookshelf in Thomasville, GA

Ed Tarkington

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Coming up on the Reader Meet Writer Author Series:

When the Apricots BloomWhen the Apricots Bloom with Gina Wilkinson
Thu Mar 11th 7:00pm - 8:00pm | REGISTER

Gina Wilkinson is an award-winning journalist, author, former foreign correspondent, and documentary maker who’s reported from some of the world’s most intriguing and perilous places for the BBC, NPR, ABC, and other renowned public broadcasters. During two decades living and working in hotspots across the globe, she spent more than a year in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein. At that time, Iraq was virtually sealed off from the outside world, and Gina lived under tight surveillance. One of her closest Iraqi friends even worked as a secret police informant, reporting on her every move. Gina now works in international development, supporting efforts to end poverty in the developing world. She lives in Australia and can be found online at

A Town Called SolaceA Town Called Solace with Mary Lawson
Tue Mar 30th 6:00pm - 7:00pm | REGISTER

Mary Lawson was born and brought up in a small farming community in Ontario. She is the author of three previous nationally and internationally bestselling novels, Crow LakeThe Other Side of the Bridge, and Road EndsCrow Lake was a New York Times bestseller and was chosen as a Book of the Year by The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others. The Other Side of the Bridge was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Lawson lives in England but returns to Canada frequently.

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies...

Astrid Sees All by Natalie Standiford


Astrid Sees All by Natalie Standiford
Atria Books / April 2021

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More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

A fresh-faced Baltimore native initially enters New York City trying to emulate her cool uptown NYC native friend from college. Ultimately it is through loyalty to the memories and movies of her childhood that she becomes “Astrid,” the in-house fortune teller at the hottest club in town. The beat of the Lower East Side in the 1980s leaps off the page as “Astrid” bounces through friends, drugs, fun and danger.

--Kimberly Daniels, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews

Alexandra Andrews

In his blurb for Andrew's debut psychological thriller, James Patterson says "by the end of the book, you'll start wondering if author Alexandra Andrews is a murderer herself." Andrews, on the other hand, admits that her own frustrations with her life was a driving force in writing the novel. ") I finally set out to write this novel in my early thirties while pregnant with my first child, and all that pent-up frustration became the premise of my plot." she says in an interview with The Nerd Daily.

A deeply creepy story about how far into the dark any of use might go to be able to live the life we want, Who Is Maud Dixon? has been called "a modern day Ripley" by bookseller fans.

Who is Maud Dixon

What booksellers are saying about Who Is Maud Dixon?

  • This book is completely addicting to read and I loved the genuinely unpredictable plot twists. Who Is Maud Dixon? really delivers with compelling character development. If you've ever wished to be in someone else's shoes, this will be a fun read. --Caida Stanelle,  Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC

  • Maud Dixon is the nom de plume of the writer of a literary sensation, but only a handful of people know her real identity. Florence Darrow, a middle-class Florida girl who works for a New York publishing company, becomes entangled in the mystery of Maud Dixon in this cleverly written thriller that is full of twists, turns, and captivating characters.. --Anne Peck, Righton Books, St. Simon's Island, GA

  • I really liked this book until the ending and then I absolutely loved it. You will ask yourself several times who is the victim and who is the villain. --Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC

  • For those who loved Social Creature and Gone Girl. Florence Darrow, our desperately dark, protagonist has been fired from her editing job and taken on the position of an assistant to the infamously anonymous Maud Dixon. What should be a privileged position turns into something completely the opposite after a horrible work trip to Morocco. Who Is Maud Dixon? will keep you guessing till the end and even after you'll still be asking questions (in the absolute best way possible). -- Olivia Schaffer, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA

About Alexandra Andrews

Alexandra Andrews has worked as a journalist, editor and copywriter in New York and Paris. Who Is Maud Dixon? is her first novel. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.

Prison by Any Other Name by Victoria Law and Maya Schenwar


The Prison by Any Other Name by Victoria Law and Maya Schenwar
New Press / July 2020

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More Reviews from Firestorm Books & Coffee

When I read Prison By Any Other Name, I knew that it was one of the most important books of 2020. In fact, if you read only one work of nonfiction this year, please consider this brilliant exploration of “alternatives” to policing and incarceration! It’s a meticulously researched exploration of popular reforms that centers the stories of real people to craft a highly readable but utterly devastating critique. Importantly, it also offers transformative, community-based solutions.

--Libertie Valance, Firestorm Books & Coffee in Asheville, North Carolina

Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog


Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog by Lisa Papp
Peachtree Publishing Company / September 2020

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More Reviews from Copperfish Books

With beautiful illustrations and a sweet message about patience and caring, Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog is an awesome picture book for kids 4-8 years old. This is the third “Madeline Finn” book (previous were the Library Dog and the Shelter Dog). In this one, little Madeline helps her dog train to visit nursing home residents and learns that some people need more time to make friends.

--Serena Wyckoff, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida

The Vanishing Half


The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Riverhead Books / June, 2020

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More Reviews from Square Books

Brit Bennett is a master storyteller who has created an intergenerational tale full of place, relevant commentary, the complexities of human nature, and life’s unexpected turns. I was sucked into the story from the beginning and absolutely loved how the idea of a “vanishing half” kept presenting itself in the storyline. Wow, this was just so smart and effortlessly crafted. I didn’t want my reading experience to end!

--Asia Harden, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Illicit Intent


Illicit Intent by Debbie Baldwin
Gatekeeper Press / January, 2021

More Reviews from Main Street Reads

I read this for the Valentine’s Day potential and wow, what an elevated experience! Well drawn characters combine with an impossibly intricate plot to keep you turning pages. And it’s got it all, hot romance, an art heist based on a true crime mystery, high finance, murder, hidden identities. This is the second in a series and I’m looking forward to more in the Bishop Security series; I can see where minor but intriguing characters will no doubt be brought to the foreground in future installments.

--Shari Stauch, Main Street Reads in Summerville, South Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Winter 2021 favorites from Southern indies...

Act Your Age, Eve Brown


Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Avon / March, 2021

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More Reviews from Story on the Square

A Winter 2021 Read This Next! Title

After reading Eve's story, I'm wishing that there were five or ten Brown Sisters that we could read about and enjoy! Eve is the happy and free Brown sister; she is trying to get her life together after her parents give her some tough love about another failed job. She just happens to see a job available for a chef at a bed and breakfast owned by the serious and grumpy Jacob Wayne. After he tells her absolutely no to the position, Eve hits him with her car accidentally. Now that Jacob has a broken arm, he reluctantly hires Eve and her sunny personality begins to defrost his cold exterior and soon their hate and dislike for one another turns into something more. You will fall in love with Eve just like you did with Chloe and Dani!

– Deanna Bailey, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Southern Bestsellers

What's popular this week with Southern Readers.

Mexican Gothic Four Hundred Souls The Dutch House
Hood Feminism Milo Imagines the World

[ See the full list ]

lady banks bookshelf

Parting Thought

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance /
Editor: Nicki Leone /
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett /
The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

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