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.

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.

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.

Jane Lazarre

Race and Whiteness: Three works by Jane Lazarre

Jane Lazarre is a widely published novelist and essayist who has spent more than fifty years as a white woman living in an African American family. Married over all these years, she raised two grown sons and is now a grandmother.

Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness, Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons

A powerful meditation on motherhood and racism in America, this is the story of the education of an American woman. Praised by writers from Tillie Olsen to Grace Paley to Alice Walker, this memoir has been taught and read by numerous students and teachers interested in stories of motherhood, African American autobiography, whiteness and American literature. In this widely read and praised memoir, Lazarre recounts the stories of her own life and its transformations through a deeper understanding of the world. From a crucial moment as a mother in which her consciousness is transformed, to comprehending the complexities and history of whiteness, she describes each step of her intellectual and personal journey toward understanding what she calls “the whiteness of whiteness.”

To order, CLICK HERE.


InheritanceInheritance is a novel of American race history: of relationships between people of different and mixed race heritages, of love, friendship and profound loyalty, and of deep ignorance, violence and hatred. The story moves from from the present time, back to the early 20th century in a Connecticut city, once a stop on the Underground Railroad, then back to the period of Slavery shortly before the Civil War in Maryland, on the western coast of the Chesapeake Bay. The white characters are all connected through a Black family, whose four generations move through the novel. This is a story of our shared inheritance, of what it means, in this nation’s history and present, to be so called “mixed” racially, and what it means within the lives of the people who carry these meanings and questions within themselves.

The voice of the narrator, Samantha Reed, a young woman of mixed American heritages, remembering a dramatic transformation in her identity when she was 16, is reading, writing, learning this history as it has played out in her heritage. A young naive white woman, daughter of a slave holder, becomes a fervent abolitionist. An immigrant Jewish woman falls in love with a black oyster-man while being deeply attracted, in a way she does not understand, to his wife. An Italian American writer considers her devotion to the form of fiction and to the idea of “color blindness” as she encounters the demands of her racially mixed granddaughter for “the truth,” and, later, by a black woman writer of memoir. Inheritance is an American story of how history is not only in our world, but deeply within ourselves.

To order, CLICK HERE.

Worlds Beyond My Control

Worlds Beyond My ControlIn Worlds Beyond My Control, Lazarre revisits the landscape of her pioneering first book, The Mother Knot, exploring with searing honesty the complexities of motherhood. In this later work, she tackles the emotionally demanding time when separation from children begins. Moving from a traditional narrative style, through the immediacy of a journal, and finally to a direct autobiographical voice, the novel interrogates genre itself while following one woman’s odyssey through a conflicted and confusing world. A white mother of black sons, Julia suddenly finds herself at a loss. One son is leaving home, a beloved child is struck with a serious illness, and throughout the city the dangers of racism’s physical, verbal and emotional violence toward black boys and young men increases daily as her beloved sons make their way through their growing lives. Fearful of crime in a crime-ridden city, learning to be fearful as well of police, Julia feels she is both “stark white and visible,” to her family and “trying to bridge their differences with her voice.”  A writer in danger of losing her words, a mother who fears the loss of control, this is the story of a mother and a writer who learns to accept the limits of her power – the endurance to face a new relationship to husband and sons – to reclaim the power she has always felt in what she names “sex and words.”

To order, CLICK HERE.

A Sea Odyssey by Rita Pomade

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey
By Rita Pomade

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is a delightful mix of adventure, exploration, introspection and reflection, an engaging account of how the author and her partner fulfilled their dream to see the world, discovering, as they adapted en route to different cultures, unanticipated personal strengths and weaknesses. This beautifully crafted account reveals the author’s evolving relationships with her partner, family, the strangers they met along the way, and life.

– Tony Burton, Mexican Kaleidoscope: Myths, Mysteries and Mystique and Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury

Rita Pomade…has written a crackling sea story, an adventure yarn to stand with any of them – except that this sailor is not a swashbuckling, peg-legged pirate with an eye patch but a soft-spoken, introspective woman with a keen eye and (although she never mentions it) bottomless courage. She navigates her way through raging monsoons and real-life pirates from Taipei to the Suez to Mallorca with a sure hand, steady nerves and the intelligence to delve deeply into an experience most of us can only read about.

– Jack Todd, Desertion in the Time of Vietnam, winner of the Mavis Gallant Award for Non-Fiction and the Quebec Writers Federation First Book Award

A fascinating tale that takes the reader into the mind and heart of a true explorer. A glimpse into what so many of us would like to do, it is also masterfully written.

– Sheila McCleod Arnopoulos, winner of a Governor-General’s Literary Award

To order, 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.

Web development & digital marketing services available

The technical talent behind Persimmon Tree is here to help you build your own Website!

Laura Laytham Zaki has almost 20 years of Web development experience developing sites like Persimmon Tree, Narrative Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, Total Beauty, and more. She can help you with all kinds of Web development (WordPress/PHP/CMS/Blog/E-commerce), email marketing/newsletters, social media, analytics, SEO and more.

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.