Emotions flood pages of ‘Tilted World’; ‘Etched in Sand’ touches heart

“The Tilted World” by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelley. William Morrow, 2013. $25.99

The Great Flood of 1927, whether we notice it or not, lives in the landscape of south Louisiana. In this part of the world, all too familiar with disaster, that flood is one we date from, one that shaped our communities and, quite literally, the land we walk on. Nearly a century later, we still deal with its consequences.

In “The Tilted World,” written by husband-and-wife team Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelley, the flood, dramatic enough on its own, is a backdrop for the visceral human drama that plays out in the town of Hobnob Landing. We all know a Dixie Clay, and we all know a Jesse.

We’d like to know a Ham and an Ingersoll. Franklin and Fennelley’s characters and their emotions leap from page to page, carrying the reader along in a story that rolls and twists like eddies in a swollen river.

Like the Great Flood, “The Tilted World” is a book that will stick with you.

Beth Colvin, Advocate writer

“Etched in Sand” by Regina Calcaterra. William Morrow Paperbacks, 2013. $15.99

“Etched in Sand” is an eye-opening memoir. It is the true account of how Regina not only learned to survive the severe hardships of her childhood in Long Island, but to keep her siblings safe as well.

The middle child of four (all with different fathers no longer in the picture), Regina suffered destitution unimaginable to most. Trying to keep her two younger siblings alive, sheltered, fed and out of the destructive path of their alcoholic and abusive mother was no easy task for a 13-year-old.

“To me, feeling secure means the opposite of what it means to most kids. Children are supposed to find their greatest safety and comfort in the arms of their mothers. Instead, Cookie’s homecoming is our darkest danger, like the worst storm anyone can imagine.”

A truly inspiring tale that is sure to tug at your heartstrings and make you appreciate everything, and everyone, you have.

Sarah Hebert, Baton Rouge

“Royal Mistress” by Anne Easter Smith. Touchstone, 2013. $16.

The royal mistress in question is Jane Shore, once referred to as King Edward IV’s “merriest” of concubines as well as the “Rose of London.”

Reportedly both beautiful and generous, Jane Shore is a fascinating historical figure, perhaps more so than Smith’s imagined heroine. She makes a quick transition from a silly, defiant girl to a virtual saint and martyr.

I consider myself a romantic, but even I had to roll my eyes at the love she professes for each of the powerful men she beds (not to mention the strained relationship with her father created to excuse her life choices).

Toward the middle, Jane almost fades into the background, becoming a narrator for the more dramatic events surrounding the rise of Richard III.

A pleasant read, but the history is more compelling than the romance.

Brittany Hart, New Orleans