Fabulous Fiction Firsts #113

Civil & Strange is a quietly engaging American debut for Irish poet Cláir Ní Aonghusa, nicely captured by the cover art.

Fans of vintage Maeve Binchy and Joanna Trollope would appreciate the lovingly detailed dynamics of village life and relationships.

Ellen Hughes, a Dublin schoolteacher escapes a crumbling marriage to live in Sligo, a small farming village where she spent childhood summers. She buys and renovates the family home and renews her friendship with an older woman Beatrice, and tentatively explores romance with a newcomer.

"The refreshing blasts of reality give the book emotional heft, and the credible romance that eventually develops is a break from the standard mold". Highly recommended.