A Day in June

A Day in June
By Marisa Labozzetta


When thirty-two-year-old Eric Boulanger returns to his Vermont hometown to care for his mother, he attempts to boost the town’s failing economy with a contest that will offer a free wedding. The winner is Bostonian Ryan Toscano whose fiancé has left to become a Jesuit, but whose outspoken Jewish grandmother insists she find a substitute in time for the gala affair. Eric’s well-intentioned brainstorm sets three millennials on an–at times hilarious at times painful–odyssey of self-discovery, one full of surprises amid deceptions, that forces them and an entire town to confront their notions of faith and death, love and acceptance.

A Day in June delighted me with its graceful, smart, witty writing. And with this rare gift: Marisa Labozzetta’s delicious premise delivers.

—Elinor Lipman, On Turpentine Lane


Labozzetta has a marvelous way of pulling the reader into the story. Her characters are wonderfully well written with delightfully deep dialogue and a fast-paced plot. From the laugh-out-loud sarcastic barbs between Chamber of Commerce rivals to Jason’s existential ponderings about morality and mortality,
the author handles both humorous and agonizingly sad situations with an insight into human nature that renders her characters fully rounded. Surprising plot
twists keep readers interested right up until the very end. Part love story, part philosophical discourse, this one leaves an impression.

US Review of Books


Winner of an American Fiction Award, Best Book Award, and Best New Fiction Finalist Award.


To order, CLICK HERE.

When They Took Dad Away

When They Took Dad Away
by Barbara McGillicuddy Bolton

In the spring of 1952 eight-year-old Barbara and her brother Clement, fourteen months her senior, return from Sunday School one afternoon to find that Daddy has been taken away. He is confined for the next one-and-a-half years in Augusta State Mental Hospital. When They Took Dad Away depicts the four McGillicuddy children’s shock at losing Daddy, Mumma’s struggle to provide for their future, the generous and disruptive ministrations of relatives, and, ultimately, Daddy’s reentry into family life, difficult in various ways for all involved. The story begins in Woolwich, Maine, population circa 1000, and ends in Houlton, Maine, population circa 8000.

To order visit https://www.northcountrypress.com/when-they-took-dad-away.html

Barbara McGillicuddy Bolton’s poetry has appeared in Echoes Magazine and National Catholic Reporter, her short fiction in Puckerbrush Review and Persimmon Tree. She contributed a chapter to Uncovering Teacher Leadership: Essays and Voices from the Field. In 2015, she self-published a novel, Lulu Goes to College, based on her freshman year in college. Barbara grew up in Maine and graduated from Colby College. A retired teacher with three grown children, she and her husband spend summers in Aroostook County and live the rest of the year in Brooklyn, New York.

Amy Smith Handwovens from Blue Feet Studio

Amy Smith Handwovens from Blue Feet Studio
A pleasure to weave; a pleasure to wear

This is a cantankerous ad. I’m offering to sell you my beautiful work, but not online. You’ll have to come to a show in person.

I am a handweaver, designing and weaving scarves and shawls. In my studio on an island in Maine, I work on simple 8-shaft floor looms. I weave exclusively in Tencel, an eco-friendly fiber with lovely drape and luster. My pieces are elegant: fascinating up close, to catch your eye; striking from across a room, to catch someone else’s.

I do not sell online because I’d rather spend my time weaving than photographing each unique piece or babysitting a website. So come to my shows! First in 2020 is the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore, February 21-23. I’ll be there as the recipient of the Randy Darwall Grant, honoring that renowned fiber artist. Then I return to the Smithsonian Craft and Design Show, “the most prestigious juried show of fine American crafts in the country,” in Washington. D.C., April 22-26.

Please come see me and my distinguished work at one of these shows. And when you do, introduce yourself as a Persimmon Tree reader. No gimmicks, discounts, or prizes, just this (cantankerous) ad to support Persimmon Tree, to strengthen this community of readers, and, I hope, to get to meet you!

For more information, CLICK HERE.
For upcoming Baltimore show, CLICK HERE. For upcoming Washington, DC show, CLICK HERE.

Grace Paley’s Life Stories

Grace Paley’s Life Stories
By Judith Arcana

The only full-length biography of Grace Paley, that joyful, funny, smart, and intensely interested woman, is now out in a new edition – with a new design, new cover, new preface, and many text edits. Working on Grace Paley’s Life Stories, Judith Arcana had unprecedented access to Grace, her family, and close friends; the result is a thorough exploration of the roots of her political consciousness, tracing her activism as it grew into her writing.  A committed activist and globally celebrated author, Grace Paley sat down in front of rolling tanks and rearing horses, got arrested on the White House lawn, and traveled across the world to negotiate prisoner exchanges during the U.S. war in Vietnam.  She was one of the great masters of the short story form, a model for everyone writing stories in any language, in any country.  Though Grace died in 2007, her work as an activist and writer is alive in this book, teaching us what resistance means: Calling for liberation, peace, and justice; crying out to save the burning earth; demanding healthcare for all, and the right of women to determine the course of our lives.

If you want to know how Grace Paley came to be a tireless political activist and renowned writer, read Grace Paley’s Life Stories. This book tells the story of the life from which Grace Paley made her extraordinary stories.

— Carol Sklenicka, Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life and Much Love: The Life and Work of Alice Adams

We must keep Grace Paley’s Life Stories always available. Grace is still an exemplar to writers who would tell good stories, and to citizens who would save the world.

— Maxine Hong Kingston

To order, CLICK HERE.

The Widows’ Handbook

TheWidowsHandbookThe Widows’ Handbook:
Poetic Reflections on Grief and Survival

Edited by Jacqueline Lapidus and Lise Menn
Foreword by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Widows’ Handbook is the first anthology of poems by contemporary widows. This stirring collection celebrates the strategies widows learn and the resources they muster to deal with people, living space, possessions, social life, and especially themselves, once shock has turned to the realization that nothing will ever be the same. As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says in her Foreword, losing one’s partner is “a loss like no other.”

The Widows’ Handbook includes the work of 87 American women of all ages, legally married or not, straight and gay, whose partners or spouses have died. Some are already published widely—including more than a dozen prizewinners, five Pushcart nominees, and two regional poets laureate. Others are not as well known, and some appear in print for the first time here. Anyone who has lost a loved one or is involved in helping the bereaved will be able to relate to their experiences. But, while both men and women understand the bewilderment, solitude, and change of status thrust upon the widowed, women suffer a particular social demotion and isolation shown here in all its variations. With courage and wry humor, these women—including the editors—write frankly about being paralyzed and about going forward. Their poems are honest, beautiful, and accessible.

When a partner dies, we begin a long journey down a path we’d rather not take, and we may imagine that life could never be bearable again. The poems in this Handbook offer much more than guidance or comfort. Their searing honesty and vivid depictions of resilience offer us invaluable reassurance that our grieving, however painful, will not destroy our capacity to live with meaning–and even joy.

–Judy Norsigian, Executive Director, Our Bodies, Ourselves

I wish this collection had been available when I was a new widow. What a spectacular group of women this is! Their reactions and experiences as widows are varied, but each woman brings her own special intelligence to mourning, managing alone, and making a new life. Poetry makes those experiences immediately, emotionally accessible.

–Jacqueline M.S. Winterkorn, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology in Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Cornell Medical College

To order, ,CLICK HERE. Also available at BarnesandNoble.com.

For additional information, CLICK HERE.



It Never Ends

Mothering Middle-Aged Daughters
By Sandra Butler and Nan Fink Gefen

It Never Ends: Mothering Middle-Aged Daughters explores the complex challenges and unexpected rewards of aging mothers in their relationships with their midlife daughters. Based on interviews with women between 65 and 85, it illuminates issues of closeness, distance, longing, and need that arise. Mothers speak openly about the ongoing effects of the past on the present, the cultural, familial, and interpersonal conflicts that remain, and the varied and often invisible ways they continue mothering.

A rich, thoughtful, multi-layered look into the ways that mothers experience their relationships variously with love, joy, fulfillment, sorrow, anguish and longing…

—Paula J. Caplan, Don’t Blame Mother: Mending the Mother-Daughter Relationship

A brave book, and one that will help many aging mothers feel less alone…

—Ellen Bass, Like a Beggar, coauthor of The Courage To Heal


To order, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about Sandra Butler, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about Nan Fink Gefen, CLICK HERE.

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If you’re looking to launch – or relaunch – your Website and want help from women who can speak your language and help achieve your goals, please contact Laura at laura@girlsaresmarter.com.