The bookstore in Portsmouth, NH, RiverRun Books, has a publishing side to it called Piscataqua Press. I know a few people who have published through Piscataqua Press–Martha Barron Barrett (aka Mom) with Slow Travel and Barbara Hesselman Kautz with When I Die I’m Going to Heaven ‘Cause I Spent My Time in Hell–and people who are going to publish. So I was excited to hear that one of my writing students was entering the press’s novel contest early this year. And she won. Out of about one hundred entries, Virginia DeLuca won with As If Women Mattered.
I was thrilled for Ginny, but not too surprised. It is a terrific book, as I wrote in my review on GoodReads:
The author, Virginia DeLuca, has been a student in my writing class for a number of years, so I know this book well. I have seen it go through various iterations, as Virginia cut and rewrote and polished and cut some more, getting rid of all the extraneous material (though much of it was wonderful and we were sorry to see it go) until she was left with a strong, compelling story about four strong, compelling women.
The four main characters–Emily, Alix, Gemma, and Vivian–are each unique, distinct, and captivating. The book follows their individual lives and their unbreakable friendship over nearly twenty years. Nothing earth-shaking happens to any of them. They are not rich and famous; none of them discovers the cure for cancer. Yet in their ordinary lives they are all of us as we struggle to make sense of the bad things in life and to hold on to the good things.
I strongly recommend this book, for I feel I found friends in it and I continue to be inspired by these women’s strength and loyalty.
And let Ginny and me know what you think!