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Queen of the Mountaineers: The Trailblazing Life of Fanny Bullock Workman by Cathryn J. Prince

Chicago Review Press, 2019, 320 pages

Fanny Bullock didn’t climb every mountain, but she came pretty close. In the latter half of the 1800s, Bullock defied the rigid stereotypes that often defined women of the day and became a pioneering mountaineer. Along with her husband, Hunter, she embarked on record-breaking climbs in the Himalayas. She gained fame as a travel writer and champion of women’s rights in the process and was the second woman to address the Royal Geographical Society of London. Her tale is brought to life by Weston’s Cathryn J. Prince, an accomplished journalist and the author of American Daredevil, Death in the Baltic, and Shot from the Sky. Here Prince is at the top — no pun intended — of her game, using archival materials to bring us into the mind and heart of Bullock and giving us a visceral sense of her life and climbs in this hard-to-put-down nonfiction chronicle. — Erik Ofgang

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Pretty Revenge by Emily Liebert

Gallery Books, 2019, 320 pages

This is the fifth novel from Liebert, a former editor-in-chief of The WAG — a luxury lifestyle magazine serving Fairfield and Westchester counties — and the current books correspondent for Westport Magazine. Pretty Revenge is the first foray into the psychological thriller genre for the Westport resident. As the title indicates, this story is about revenge and the lengths Kerrie O’Malley will go to ruin Jordana Pierson, the woman who destroyed her life. O’Malley recently lost her job and is in an unfulfilling relationship — “His morning breath is unforgivable. I’ve just never cared enough to tell him.” The book is a dual-point-of-view narrative, and in the second chapter we’re introduced to Pierson, a New York City socialite and wedding planner to the stars in need of an assistant. O’Malley creates a new identity and lands the job, desperate to exact the revenge she craves. — Mike Wollschlager

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Stamford ’76: A True Story of Murder, Corruption, Race, and Feminism in the 1970s by JoeAnn Hart

University of Iowa Press, 2019, 202 pages

Amid the bicentennial celebrations of July 1976, two violent deaths occurred in Stamford. The first was the bow-and-arrow slaying of a young white woman. Weeks later, her boyfriend, a young black man, was shot dead by police during a liquor store robbery. Hart announces early on that the couple’s relationship was filled with drug use and drug dealing, and that the boyfriend was a skilled archer. But no charges were ever made, and the deaths went largely uninvestigated. Hart also reveals her personal connection with the couple, and how she was finally driven to dig into the past, including her own, to find out what really happened. Lovers of true crime podcasts and shows will find much to hold their attention and reflect on here. But Hart’s intimacy and long-festering struggles with the subject matter separate the work from just another tale of murder and mayhem. — Albie Yuravich

This article appeared in the July 2019 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get the latest and greatest content from Connecticut Magazine delivered right to your inbox. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com, or contact us on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag.

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University

Mike Wollschlager, editor and writer for Connecticut Magazine, was born and raised in Bristol and has lived in Farmington, Milford, Shelton and Wallingford. He was previously an assistant sports editor at the New Haven Register.

Albie Yuravich is the editor in chief of Connecticut Magazine. A product of the Naugatuck River Valley, he's also been a newspaper editor and writer at the New Haven Register, Greenwich Time, The Register Citizen and the Republican-American.