The Courtship of Eva Eldridge: A Story of Bigamy in the Marriage Mad Fifties
"In The Courtship of Eva Eldridge, Diane Simmons traces one woman’s story through hundreds of wartime letters and papers, ultimately uncovering postwar America’s rampant bigamy and the women who overcame it." ~The New Yorker
“How many wives were there? Why does Eva continue to love and long for her betrayer? Simmons hunts down Vick’s other wives and even their children, consults with psychiatrists, searches archives and studies letters. . . . This engaging read profiles an independent woman in an age that Simmons categorizes as marriage-mad, but who none-the-less manages to maintain her independence and survive despite betrayal.” ~ Sandy Polishuk Oregon Historical Quarterly.
"The writing is vivid and tight, with a touch of American noir reminiscent of Raymond Chandler and Joan Didion. Simmons's . . . brings to life the dark side of a country trying to move on in the wake of war. She blends history and her own detective work to tell a story of betrayal and shattered dreams." ~ Peter Chilson, award-winning author, Riding the Demon: On the Road in West Africa.
“Diane Simmons has brilliantly used a collection of never-before-seen World War II letters to tell a story that has all the twists of a true crime novel. At its heart, this is a poignant, extraordinary tale of a woman who married a man with a secret and troubling past.” ~ Andrew Carroll, editor, New York Times bestseller War Letters.
“The Courtship of Eva Eldridge is both a riveting narrative of detection and a moving story about individual lives caught up in the changing gender roles generated by World War II. Diane Simmons employs dogged research, smart analysis, existing scholarship, and lively prose to create a history that is hard to put down.” ~ Susan Hartmann, author, The Home Front and Beyond: American Women in the 1940s
Winner Ohio University Prize for Short Fiction
". . . a contemporary Western, reminiscent of stories by E.L.Doctorow, Richard Bausch, and Richard Ford." ~ Chris Fink. Editor. Beloit Fiction Review.
". . .stories with a rich, earthy humor that miraculously manages to honor people for their self-awareness and struggle even as they are repeatedly. . . trapped in the failures and limitations of their lives." ~ Meredith Sue Willis, author of Out of the Mountains, Their Houses and other fiction.
“Voice is the real achievement here, which you know from the first paragraph of the story: ‘It’s mostly drunk Indians where I’m working at the moment. Better than mostly white guys. Indians just drink. White guys, it’s got to be you look like somebody.’” ~Sam J Miller, Blogging Brilliant Stories.
Dreams Like Thunder
Winner Oregon Book Award
“Direct yet subtle, Dreams Like Thunder, is really about leave-taking. Alberta is going to leave the land that has imprisoned her family. . . and be haunted for the rest of her life. . . by the legend that is shaping her even as she rejects it.” ~ The Los Angeles Times
“Simmons has the measure of her setting . . . in this thoroughly enjoyable, unpretentious second novel.” ~ The New York Times
“The young girl, the storyteller, is perfectly imagined. Our country’s West, the ranchers, the deliberately drowned Chinese, the struggling miners, the struggling farm are lightly drawn but the fierceness, the cruelty are there.” ~ Grace Paley, finalist Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, finalist National Book Award.
“Dreams Like Thunder gives characters as willful, funny, and morally interesting as Flannery O’Connor’s. Simmons’ language is spare and because of its compression, wonderfully rich and powerful.” ~ Oregon Book Award Judges.
“Throughout her book, Simmons shows how Kincaid problematizes cultural identity. . . and declares Kincaid’s ‘central theme’ to be ‘the relationship of the powerful to the powerless’. . . . It is to Simmons’s credit that she gives us the first full-length study of Kincaid, pioneering work on a neglected author by an incisive critic.” ~ Valerie Lee Research in African Literatures.
The Narcissism of Empire
“Simmons purpose. . . is to reveal how psychological and negative self-perceptions in childhood led [five Victorian writers] to their particular depictions of nineteenth and early twentieth century imperialism. . a stimulating and thought-provoking thesis that provides many new insights into the authors under discussion.” ~Tess Cosslett The Victorian Review
Maxine Hong Kingston
“Simmons argues that Kingston is a writer with a mission to humanize those whose humanity is in danger of erasure by fear and violence, whether at the hands of Chinese or American society or both. . . . tread[ing] gracefully through the mantraps of Asian American critical debate and the crisscrossing minefields of postcolonial and multicultural theorizations.” ~ Judie Newman Journal of American Studies.
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