Just back from my holidays – more about that later in the week – but in case you’ve not yet noticed I thought I’d let you know about the second issue of Shiny New Books. I have a review of the intriguing Elvira Dones’ Sworn Virgin in this issue. It’s set in Northern Albania where the clan system is deeply embedded, blood feuds confine families to their houses for decades and, according to traditional law, a woman can become a ‘sworn virgin’ taking the name, dress and persona of a man providing there are no males of her generation in the family – an honorable choice for a woman left alone in this strictly segregated society. This is what Hana decides to do. Aged nineteen, reluctant to accept an arranged marriage and easy prey for sexual predators, she becomes Mark and remains so until her cousin Lila invites her to join her family in America. Click here for the full review but if that doesn’t take you fancy there are a multitude of reviews and features that might. Do pay them a visit.
Back to the laundry mountain but before I go here’s a little taster for my ‘what I did on my holidays’ post. Look very closely and you’ll see a marmot sticking its head up through the gorgeous meadow flowers that were everywhere in the Dolomites. I have to say that s/he reminds me very much of Punxsutawney Phil from Groundhog Day.