Guest Review: Little Night, by Luanne Rice

A review by Jessica Pruett-Barnett

Little Night
by Luanne Rice
Pamela Dorman Books
June 5, 2012
336 pgs
Reading material targeted toward adult women can be difficult. On one hand you have fluffy chick lit where the protagonist seems to have an underdeveloped brain until a man comes along to save her.; on the other hand you have sensationalist erotica (50 Shades of Grey, if I wanted to read BDSM fanfic, I would read Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty trilogy) and romance novels (which I happen to adore). There isn't much of an in-between for women. This is where Luanne Rice's books come in.

Little Night, Rice's thirtieth book, explores the bonds between sisters who have been torn apart by abuse. Clare and Anne are sisters who haven't spoken to each other since Clare tried to kill Anne's abusive husband. After her time in jail, Clare goes back to her life in New York City, living in the family home, trying to maintain distance with her old (but still in the picture) boyfriend, and missing Anne. Out of the blue, Anne's daughter, now in her early 20s, comes to stay with Clare, turning her life upside down.

Familial relationships are front and center in Little Night, and this is Rice's strength. You feel Clare's pain at being ripped from her sister by an abuser, and her joy at having her niece come and live with her. As the story unfolds and you find out more of the history of Clare and Anne's relationship, you can't put the book down; you have to find out what will happen. The ending is shocking and not at all what I expected, a pleasant relief after the last few books in my pile.

Part of the beauty of Luanne Rice's writing is her ability to suck her readers into her setting. As a New York City resident of many years, I was impressed by her attention to detail. I was particularly tickled by the description of Zelda, the turkey that (presumably) lives in Tribeca. I also learned about parts of the city I didn't even know existed, like the owl-watching grounds in the northern section of Central Park.

I'm not trying to say that Luanne Rice is a writer for only women, but I'm happy that she writes about real women for real women: No vampires or werewolves need apply.


  1. Just wanted to say that my better half not only loves your books? but you share a name! Luanne is her middle name.I will have to go find her the newest book if she doesn't have it already. she & her friends trade out books all the time, so it's hard for me to just go get her a book. I will ask if she has read or is going to be reading this one as if she hasn't gotten it? then one of the friends that share? Will.


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