Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest

Amazon and Penguin have announced the 10 finalists for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

I was one of the National Book Critics Circle reviewers who perused the initial batch of 800 manuscripts. It was a thrill to find that one of the 12 books I vetted (and loved) was chosen as a finalist.

As I’m not a fan of period fiction, I was truly surprised to find myself charmed by The Wet Nurse’s Tale by Erica Eisdorfer. Set in 19th century England, and narrated by a second-generation wet nurse, the story broke stereotype in many ways: the narrator was less than attractive, even the nastiest characters were complex, and the plot, while grimly realistic, didn’t lack for humor and passion. In short, this read like a brilliant memoir.

But don’t take my word for it. You can download and read the first three chapters of The Wet Nurse’s Tale (and any of the other nine finalists) from And you can post a review that will be taken into consideration for the final judging.