The authors’ original words do their work more justice than any book review I write, and when grouped together, the quotes become atmospheric of the state they are set in. I hope you enjoy this addition of a “Favorite Quotes” series to my Andrea Reads America coverage.

The Narrows by Ann Petry book cover

From The Narrows by Ann Petry

“In the sunlight, The River Wye was the blue of bachelor buttons, of delphinium; small frothy waves, edged with white, kept appearing and disappearing on the blue surface.”

“For the last few years she had been calling the tree The Hangman just like everyone else who lived in The Narrows. It was, she supposed, inevitable.”

“Logs of applewood being burned, sold practically by weight, he ought to know, he paid the bill for the goddamn wood and wondered what the hell kind of world this was where you bought wood for a fireplace.”

“He dressed with a meticulousness one rarely saw these days – creased trousers, highly polished shoes…, a dark grey felt hat on his head, the shape perfect.”

“He could remember how church ate the heart, the life out of Sundays.”

“He dropped the hymnbook just for the exquisite pleasure of hearing the explosive sound it made.”

“The mouth was really lovely, the lips – well, you know there were lip muscles there, it was a singer’s mouth.”

“A woman like that always changes things, her mere presence is like water working on stone, slow attrition, finally a groove, stone worn down.”

“She owned everything: people, cars, houses, establishing her ownership quickly; she bought bellboys, desk clerks, elevator men, doormen. Bought em up fast.”

“‘Bill, mix me a long tall one,’ warmth of a tropical country in her voice.”

I know This Much is True by Wally Lamb book cover

From I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

“He indulged in caffeine and nicotine, but it was the newspapers that had become Thomas’s most potent addiction.”

“I climbed up the bank and down the other side to the ocean. The tide sounded like a flushing toilet. Clots of seaweed littered the beach.”

“I reached down and picked some rocks off the beach. Chucked them, one by one, into the rolling surf. I don’t know how long I stood there, pitching stones.”

“Memory is selective, Dominick. An interpretation of the facts as we recall them, accurate or not. But what we select to remember can be very instructive. Don’t you think?”

“Those women would like nothing better than to see trouble in an Italian home. ‘Mericani are nice to your face and call you ‘dirty wop’ behind your back.”

“Gossip is the devil’s work, Domenico.”

“‘Things get clearer when you’re older,’ he said. ‘Of course, by then it’s too late.'”

The Witch of Blackbird Pond Elizabeth George Speare book cover

From The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

“The bleak line of shore surrounding the gray harbor was a disheartening contrast to the shimmering green and white that fringed the turquoise bay of Barbados which was her home.”

“Her spirits bobbed like the whitecaps in the harbor as the boat pulled away from the black hull of the Dolphin.”

“Kit smiled and would have spoken, but she was abruptly repulsed by their sharply curious eyes.”

“Through the crystal Sabbath morning the Meeting House bell tolled steadily.”

“As they crossed the clearing Kit recoiled at the objects that stood between her and the Meeting House; a pillory, a whipping post and stocks.”

“What a pity every child couldn’t learn to read under a willow tree.”

“Matthew Wood sat scowling, his keen mind challenging and weighing each new thought.”

“How can a king on a throne in England know what is best for them? A man’s first loyalty is to the soil he stands on.”

“‘To think you’ve never been to a husking bee!’ exclaimed Judith. ‘Why, they’re more fun than all the holidays put together.”

“She could hear the crackling of the flames, the bubbling of the stew in the kettle, the scratching of the pen in Prudence’s fingers, the creak creak of Hannah’s chair and the drowsy purring of the yellow cat.”

“The flakes fell softly, vanishing in the heaps of brown leaves, swirling in little smoky coils.”

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