Jess Wells

Jess Wells

Jess Wells is the author of five novels, five books of short stories, and anthologies of fiction and social commentary. Her latest work, "Straight Uphill: A Tale of Love and Chocolate" features the lives of five generations of women chocolatiers in a small Italian hilltop village. She is a recipient of a San Francisco Arts Commission Grant for Literature, a four-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and a member of the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival Hall of Fame. Her short stories have been included in more than three dozen literary anthologies, and her work has been published in England and translated into Italian and Dutch. STRAIGHT UPHILL: A TALE OF LOVE AND CHOCOLATE Critics says "In Straight Uphill, Jess Wells has written an enchanting historical novel. This book is a gem. It is delightful proof that a literary novel can be a deeply satisfying page-turner!...Sweetly sensuous, the story spins across centuries as only Jess Wells can do, weaving historical fiction into a contemporary tapestry or tale of loss, love, second-chances and chocolate...Wells deftly and skillfully combines their stories with enough mouthwatering descriptions of traditional chocolate-making, baking and meal preparation to make you sigh for a trip to Italy. Straight Uphill makes for a delightful read." THE DISAPPEARING ANDERSONS OF LOON LAKE An audio book narrated by the author, these stories show love, loss, irony and humor in the lives of eight families living around Loon Lake, a shallow fishing spot in Northern Michigan. Wells’ “use of language is like music,” critics says, while others call her writing “a rich and varied drug,” and these stories convey “a real sense of the contradiction and the ambivalence that goes on within the family circle…through writing that has a lyrical style.” Whether it’s the story of a young dreamer and a bully, a man looking forward to retirement and the family that stands in his way; a teacher facing ethical choices, or a family coping with disaster, these stories delight. A SLENDER TETHER "A Slender Tether," set amid the turbulent weather of Europe's Little Ice Age, offers three compelling tales of self-discovery, woven into a rich tapestry of 14th century France. Christine de Pizan, daughter of a disgraced court physician and astrologer, grapples with her ambition to be the first woman writer in France. A doctor finds an unusual way to cope with the death of his wife. And opportunity alternates with disasters in the lives of four commoners, yoked by necessity: a paper-maker struggling to keep his business, a falconer with a mysterious past, a merchant's daughter frantic to avoid an arranged marriage, and a down-on-his-luck musician with a broken guitar and the voice of an angel. Reviewers say: “Jess Wells (The Mandrake Broom) has mastered the art of the immersive historical, exemplified by her latest release from Fireship Press, A Slender Tether.... brilliantly conceived and perfectly executed, A Slender Tether is an engaging, rewarding read. Highly recommended.” – Jerry Wheeler, in Out in Print “Wells has spun this woman's tale into an intriguing and engrossing story that will set readers seeking more… Wells has an incredible ability to teach without diatribe, tells a wickedly engrossing tale full of empathy (and, in this case, more than a little sympathy), and knows her history cold. Jess Wells is just bloody brilliant. Go. Buy. Read.” – ‘Nathan Burgoine writing on THE MANDRAKE BROOM "The Mandrake Broom", dramatizes the fight to save medical knowledge during the witch-burning times in Europe 1465-1540. Reviewers say: “Set in Europe in the 14-1500s this is a well-researched, complex, and exciting historical novel. Never dull, there is plenty of danger, adventure, and love in this small package. Published as an adult novel, teens who enjoy historical fiction will find this a worthwhile read. – RainbowBooks “Excellent novel, great historical fiction. I highly recommend this book. It works as a quest, a thriller, an action adventure set in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, during the time of the Plague, the Inquisition, witch burnings, the Middle Ages. ..This is beautiful writing with great tension and pace. It really kept me plugged in, pulling for the protagonists, aching for them really. Great characters. This is the best historical fiction I’ve read in a very long time. Wells made the urgency of the time come alive.” – Bett Norris, author of Miss McGhee

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