cover image Radiant Shimmering Light

Radiant Shimmering Light

Sarah Selecky. Bloomsbury, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-1-63557-180-6

Can you be your authentic self and make a living? Selecky (The Cake Is for the Party) plants that question at the heart of her page-turning debut, which revolves around two cousins who reconnect after a 20-year estrangement. Lillian Quick, 40, an unmarried virgin, lives hand-to-mouth following her passion as a pet portrait artist with a special talent: she envisions animals’ auras and includes them in her paintings. Her cousin, Florence Novak, persevered through an abusive childhood and recreated herself as Eleven Novak, the woman behind The Ascendency, a feminine empowerment brand that promises to turn enrollees into financially successful, spiritually evolved entrepreneurs—especially if they promote the program and/or the select items that Eleven endorses. Eleven recruits her cousin to join the movement and Lillian gains some career traction, but what catapults her to internet fame is a webzine confession about losing her virginity to an unnamed Ascendency-affiliated meditation guru, who hid his committed relationship from her. The author explores the power and distraction of social media, the paths to creativity, and how intense devotion to a cause can either consume one’s identity or allow one to flourish, resulting in a searing look at mass market–oriented transformation. [em](Dec.) [/em]