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Cynthia Strauff is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards for her poetry and prose. A native of Baltimore, she holds graduate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago. Cynthia lives in North Carolina with her husband, Dick Schaub.

She is the author of two historical novels, both set in Baltimore during the early part of the 20th Century, Another Sunday and Echoes from the Alum Chine.

PortraitS, a poetry chapbook, will be available in late 2017.

Contact Cynthia at cynthia.strauff@gmail.com

 

News & Notes

Cynthia was recently featured on CelebrateWithABook.com, a website for readers and authors. Read the spotlight here!

A review in the February issue of The Historical Novel Society magazine:

Another Sunday

BY CYNTHIA STRAUFF

Cynthia Strauff takes as the setting of her long, atmospheric debut novel, Another Sunday, the rich and fashionable world of wealthy Baltimore at the turn of the 20th century.

Lovely, headstrong Celeste Wells, sixteen-year-old coquettish fixture on the city’s fashionable North Avenue, has settled her attention on wealthy twenty-two-year-old Willie Strauff, whom she finds “a combination of pure and sensual,” and when she becomes pregnant, they outrage their respective families by eloping.

Much drama and tragedy ensues, and Cynthia Strauff writes it all with such linguistic grace and excellent dramatic pacing (and ample period details that feel very ‘right’) that as each quick, punchy chapter passes, it becomes more and more difficult to believe this is her debut novel.

This is a richly-imagined look at a long-vanished world.

 

 

A Discovering Diamonds review of Echoes from the Alum Chine by Cynthia Strauff

On March 7, 1913, the steamer Alum Chine explodes in the Baltimore harbor. Charles Sherwood, the founder of the company that insures the steamer, is among the first to hear the blast. As he struggles to keep calm, Charles suspects that if it is the Alum Chine that has been decimated, he is now in the midst of a nightmare. While he attempts to cope with the consequences that include his son’s diffidence to the calamity, the disaster touches two other families. Helen Aylesforth is the imperious matriarch of her family whose stern demeanor belies her love for those around her, including her daughter, Cantata, who is married to Nicholas Sherwood. The Corporals have served the Aylesforths for generations. Among their six-member family is Lillian Gish, Helen’s shy, forgotten, and observant granddaughter who must somehow find her place in the world, despite the chaos around her.”

This is a story of ordinary people coping with extraordinary consequences, two families, of how they lived life in Baltimore in the early years of the twentieth century, and had to get on with that life even though enormous things were happening all around and to them.

The description of the period and of Baltimore itself is very well written – as a social history this is an excellent novel.

Do you need constant action to make a novel an interesting one? Echoes From The Alum Chine has a gentle and sedate rhythm to it, the relationships between the two families is interesting, how they cope is interesting ... as a depiction of family drama in the pre-World War One era of American life, this is an interesting read.

 

Have book, will travel. If you are interested in learning, or hearing, more about Echoes from the Alum Chine or Another Sunday, please contact me at cynthia.strauff@gmail.com