Diane Brandley

Diane Brandley is a newspaper columnist, feature writer, and magazine contributor. She had a 40-year nursing career in health care, both nationally and internationally, much of which was involved in nontraditional roles in education and program administration.
She spends a lot of time traveling with husband, Ted—her first-line critic and editor. While on the road, she gathers “grist” for her writing mill and has always been fascinated with the world around her; most important to her are the people who populate that world.
Books represent a special challenge. In reviewing a work, whether fiction or nonfiction, Ms. Brandley feels she owes a debt to the author, but also the reader. An author places years of work before a critical audience and awaits feedback; the reader intends to be either educated or entertained.
There is no expectation that every author will agree with her comments; nor that every reader will see the work from her point of view. Still, one must start somewhere, and she welcomes reader comments to these reviews.

Diane Brandley was a dedicated reviewer who relentlessly sought perfection her work even as she was fighting cancer, Diane passed away in May 2015 and is profoundly missed.

Book Reviews by Diane Brandley

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America’s Battle for Media Democracy is an important adjunct to the body of literature regarding media democracy.”

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“. . . for all of us who inevitably face the time when we will be making our own decisions regarding end-of-life issues and/or decisions for our loved ones.”

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“This ambitious but beautifully executed historical novel captures the life and times of half a millennium ago, and with the above parallels, draws us closer to today’s publishing revolutio

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How to Ruin a Queen and the Diamond Necklace Affair is a book that can be read again and again, each reading providing another layer of understanding.”

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The Miniaturist is a novel that could easily be read again and again, with awe and surprise stemming not just from the story, but from the author’s brilliant writing and her abili

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“Levine shines a light on the lives of soldiers and their families after the (perhaps) heroic welcome and the crowds have stopped cheering.

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“This is a story that is rich in human drama, with a tinge of predictability; however, the clever use of parallels will intrigue the reader long after finishing the novel.”

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“Mazzeo is a fascinating storyteller who stays true to her nonfiction pact with the reader.

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“Given the awards she has already received, we are sure to hear much more from Hazel Gaynor—and that is a good thing.”

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“. . . a fascinating story [that keeps] the reader engaged.”

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The Stop is Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis’ chronicle of a journey that changed a cramped, mouse-infested food bank into a major center for social change in the city of Toronto.

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Annick Cojean documents certain abuses of power during the Gaddafi regime in Libya—a period of more than 40 years.

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What is the real story behind the crafting of the Little House Series? Susan Wittig Albert seeks to answer this question.

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Imagine the anguish of two young parents as they notice their happy, healthy 18-month-old child regressing in his speech, hyperfocusing on certain activities, and becoming overwhelmed in playgroup

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“Li Lan’s odyssey keeps her on the brink of earthly demise and keeps the reader riveted to the page . . .”

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“One hopes for more offerings from Amy Gail Hansen . . .”

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The Raven’s Gift is Don Rearden’s debut novel. In it he shares stories he learned from elder residents as he grew up on the tundra of Southwestern Alaska.

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“The narrative becomes poetry as the author describes the simplest and the most complex parts of life in the salty desert.”

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“In The Conduct of Saints the sacred and the profane truly collide in post WWII Rome.”

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“Beautifully written and translated from the French, Bitter Almonds should be required reading . . .”

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“The author takes us along for the ride. Readers will definitely feel its gale force.”

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“In writing Out of Order, Sandra Day O’Connor has created a worthy and captivating historical document.”

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“Nafis Sadik is a woman who set out to ‘change the world’—and in many ways she did just that.”

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“We can only hope to meet the unlikely team of Bridget and Martha in Sam Thomas’s future work.”

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“. . . the journey is as compelling as the destination. . . . a role model to those wise enough to use life’s lessons and opportunities to meet present day challenges.”

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“Priscille Sibley is courageous . . . both an excellent storyteller and a competent clinical writer. May this be the first of many Sibley novels.”

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“Tarun J. Tejpal is brilliant. A master storyteller . . . stunning . . .”

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“. . . an honest portrayal of the battles of a few meant to benefit not only themselves but those who came after them.”

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“. . . a social and cultural history of the time.”

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“. . . an ambitious synthesis of factors contributing to a problem affecting all of us.”

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“The strength of this book: The author focuses on the man and does not get mired in cases.”

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“. . . a very credible argument for collaboration between disciplines . . . entertaining and beautifully written . . .”

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“Perhaps because of his peripatetic upbringing, David Hockney allowed himself to take risks with new media and ideas.”

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“Some might find consolation by identifying with the characters in In-Flight Entertainment just as they are.

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“Conversations with Opa is not a lengthy tome, but its contents cover the origins of life evolving from one-celled animals and four billion years of evolution, progressing to the f

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“In Mr. Rowse’s opinion, what we may be losing in terms of linguistic perfection is actually leading us to communicate more and thus to greater understanding between people.

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Newspaperman is part memoir, part history. . . .

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“Combining information from unpublished memoirs, interviews, and archival materials, Ms.

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“Ms. Sommer’s reference book is both time and student tested. It is also intended to both assist and amuse. These factors make the work unique . . .”

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Alice Bliss . . . adroitly illustrates the burden of war, not only on those deployed, but also on those left behind.”

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This is one nurse’s story, but should be required reading for any nurse, nursing student, or individual who is spiritually seeking after a time of loss.

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Imagine yourself suffering from joint pains, muscle weakness, and confused thinking. Friends and family vacillate between support and “snap out of it” kinds of statements.

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Amy Stewart is right. When it comes to “bugs” we are seriously outnumbered. According to her math, the ratio runs about 200 million to one.

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From the photo on the cover—(taken by his father Joe with a 616 Kodak box camera) of young Davis hugging a teddy bear—to the strings of hilarious and touching stories, Donald Davis takes us on a jo

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This is a story of healing—of body, mind and spirit. Leigh Fortson’s informational book is a must read for any patient with a cancer diagnosis.

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Some writers will go to the ends of the earth for a story.

Sara Wheeler did just that. Twice.

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It all started with a conversation between a son and his mother. Mom mentioned that “Daddy” would have been 100 on his next birthday.

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Twin is not just Allen Shawn’s story. It serves as a guideline for any person who faces a succession of losses in his life.

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On the heels of her first offering, Going Rogue, Sarah Palin follows with a series of essays offering her unvarnished and unapologetic opinions on Family, Faith and Flag, includin

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Patricia Cornwell is a prolific author whose work includes nonfiction, biography, cookbooks, and fiction—a total of 28 titles in all.

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George W. Bush’s Decision Points is a memoir of his eight-year presidency.

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Few of us who live “in the lower 48” have any idea about what it is like to live in Alaska.

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(Wiley, February 2010 )

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(Alfred A. Knopf Publishers, September 14, 2010

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A Murder on London Bridge is the fifth of Susanna Gregory’s Thomas Chaloner series. These stories portray post-Restoration England in all its confusion and contradiction.