Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today’s spotlight is on an ARC from Amazon Vine:  The Arsonist, by Sue Miller.




Intro:  Later, Frankie would remember the car speeding past in the dark as she stood at the edge of the old dirt road.  She would remember that she had been aware of the smell of smoke for a while.  Someone having a fire, she had assumed then, and that would turn out to be correct—though not in the way she was imagining it.  She had the quick thought, briefly entertained amid the other, rushing thoughts that were moving through her tired brain, that it was odd for someone to be doing this, having a fire this late—or this early—on an already warm summer night.

But in the moment she didn’t go beyond her quick assumption, her fleeting thought.  She smelled the smoke, she saw the car approaching, and she got quickly out of the road, stepping first into the ditch that ran alongside it, and then, because it was night and she worried that the driver might not see her in the dark, onto the scrubby bank, pulling herself up between two trees that stood there.  By the time she turned around to face the road again, the car had passed her.  She stood for a moment watching as the wink of the red taillights disappeared behind a rise in the road, appeared again, dropped from sight and appeared once more; and then was gone, the car’s sound fading into nothing, into the rustle and odd croak of the night.  She’d been walking for more than an hour by then, awash in memories and images of the life she’d just left behind.


Teaser:  Sylvia had felt her own life so completely ordinary next to his that she barely sketched it in.  She didn’t stop to consider until later, much later, that this had seemed ample information to him, that he didn’t press her for details the way she had pressed him—though it was clear he was taken with the ease and privilege of her background. (p. 75).


Amazon Description:  From the best-selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senator’s Wife, a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town.

Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for 15 years, Frankie Rowley has come home—home to the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Is it an accident, or arson? Over the weeks that follow, as Frankie comes to recognize her father’s slow failing and her mother’s desperation, another house burns, and then another, always the homes of summer people. These frightening events, and the deep social fault lines that open in the town as a result, are observed and reported on by Bud Jacobs, a former political journalist, who has bought the local paper and moved to Pomeroy in an attempt to find a kind of home himself. As this compelling book unfolds, as Bud and Frankie begin an unexpected, passionate affair, arson upends a trusting small community where people have never before bothered to lock their doors; and Frankie and Bud bring wholly different perspectives to the questions of who truly owns the land, who belongs in the town, and how, or even whether, newcomers can make a real home there.

Suspenseful, sophisticated, rich in psychological nuance and emotional insight, The Arsonist is vintage Sue Miller—a finely wrought novel about belonging and community, about how and where one ought to live, about what it means to lead a fulfilling life. One of our most elegant and engrossing novelists at her inimitable best.


I am loving this book, as I have enjoyed every book by this author.  Immediately engaged by the characters, I am having trouble setting it down.  Would you keep reading?





    1. Oh, I’m glad you like it, Pat…and thanks for the blog compliment. I recently revamped this blog, because I kept forgetting about it. Now it will be more prominently featured…LOL.


  1. That really does sound good! I haven’t read this author before, but the intro definitely has me interested in continuing on. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention, Laurel-Rain. Off to add it to my wish list.


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