“Reading A Heaven of Their Choosing is like touring a set of rooms inside the enormous house of fiction. At the center of each sits a character, often isolated and regretful, whose interior is revealed with a candor and dead-pan irony reminiscent of the stories of John McGahern and even Joyce.” Billy Collins Poet Laureate 2001-2003
A widow plans her husband’s funeral feeling as much resentment towards him as grief. A mother believes her young son has the DNA of a long-dead ex-boyfriend. A woman becomes obsessed with a drifter who stands in the same spot every day in her neighborhood. A couple grieving a series of miscarriages set out to adopt in China, only to get pregnant again.
In thirteen stories that explore the complexities and messiness of faith, marriage, illness, and grief, Joann Smith’s A Heaven of Their Choosing is a wise debut collection for fans of Grace Paley or Alice Munro.
When I Was Boudicca
When I Was Boudicca is the story of a Celtic mother who becomes one of history’s fiercest female warriors. When Rome invades Britain with the intention of expanding the empire, Boudicca tries to live peacefully with the invaders. But when the Romans brutalize her daughters, Boudicca turns a mother’s wrath on the Roman army and sets out to avenge her daughters and save her people from extinction.
Joann became interested in Boudicca while she was reading about Celtic history. Her goal was to bring this ageless heroine to life and to give her a voice.