The Fairytale Life of Dorothy Gale 
By Virginia Kantra

Dee Gale appears at Trinity College in Dublin ready for a new beginning. Upon arrival, she discovers her department counselor died in a tragic accident when a house being transported on the road fell on her. Dee (Dorothy) is from Kansas, where Aunt Em and Uncle Henry lovingly raised her and her sister on their farm. Having completed her undergraduate degree at KU, Dee wandered off the academic brick road and fell in love with Grayson Kettering, a professor in the English department where she was supposed to be working on her dissertation. With two years wasted while she mistakenly focused on Grayson, she was lucky to snag a spot at Trinity, a world away from her troubles. Now Dee must get to work, not only on her degree but figuring out what kind of writer she is meant to be. While doing her best to impress a wicked new graduate advisor, Dee finds fabulous new friends and a completely unexpected romance. This contemporary adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” is an enchanting, refreshingly unique and magical read. Each clever reference seamlessly intertwines with the classic tale we have loved for decades. 

Meet the Benedettos
By Katie Cotugno

After a hit reality show made them famous for being famous, the beautiful Benedetto sisters find themselves at a crossroads. Years past their heyday, their parents are now falling into debt at lightning speed while the five sisters’ spending habits far exceed any trickling residual income. Their McMansion is slowly crumbling and dinner consists of overpriced take-out. Lilly, the pluckiest and second eldest, appears to be the only sister facing this new reality. Lilly never recovered from her fiancé’s death, and as their family’s reputation precedes her, she struggles fruitlessly with her dream of becoming a professional writer. When the handsome, well-known action hero Charlie Bingley moves into the ritzy neighborhood with his agent sister and thespian best friend, the Benedetto girls cannot resist the opportunity to rub shoulders with a little bit of A-list luck. Charlie falls for June and Lilly begins a cantankerous friendship with Will. In this imaginative reinterpretation of “Pride and Prejudice,” we witness the Benedetto family grappling with their waning fame, refusing to accept its fleeting nature. As the world around them forms judgments based on their past misbehavior, the bonds of sisterhood stand strong. 

Once Persuaded Twice Shy
By Melodie Edwards

Anne grew up in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a quaint town in Ontario, Canada – known mostly as a tourist destination. Anne never expected to return after college, but when her mother passes away, she takes over her position as executive director at the local theater company. Her indolent father and spoiled sister take advantage of her generosity and happily allow Anne to care for the family as her mother had. In college, Anne dated Ben Wentworth. Handsome, kind and happy-go-lucky, he was her first true love. When she broke up with him for his lack of ambition, she never dreamed their paths would cross again. Anne’s world is turned upside down when Ben appears in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Now a successful businessman, the curly-haired free spirit is long gone. Her heart can barely contain itself after greeting this handsome version of Ben, who is in town to manage his aunt and uncle’s new winery. Anne is haunted by her past decisions and must take bold steps to create a new path forward. As someone who appreciates second chance romance, this charming classic retelling of the beloved “Persuasion,” Jane Austen’s last novel, is an absolute delight. 

#WORTHWATCHING: “Wonka” (2023) can be seen on Amazon Prime. The new musical fantasy tells the origin story of a chocolatier named Willy Wonka, the main character from the classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (1964). This movie is surprisingly entertaining. “Candy doesn’t have to have a point. That’s why it’s candy.”

Karen Newfield
Karen Newfield is first and foremost a reader, she has reviewed hundreds of books on her blog www.readingandeating.com. And, more recently, this new Keys resident has also begun writing.