Sally Hawkins deserves the Best Actress Oscar

Full disclosure: this movie did not appeal to me until it started getting Oscar buzz. A mute woman falls in love with a fishman? There's nothing about that that intrigued me. Then I heard Sally Hawkins was the star. Yeah, I like her a lot. Octavia Spenser as her best friend? Richard Jenkins? Michael Stuhlberg. Michael Shannon? Okay, fishman love story, why do you have to pull me in like that?

shape of water.jpg

My friend, Suzanne and I took ourselves to the movies Tuesday to see this because there was no way our husbands would walk into that theater. You either like this kind of story or you don't. And, a few years ago I'd kinda sorta tricked them into seeing a subtitled movie and I'm not sure they trust my judgment 100%. Suz, well, she's game for anything. So, off we went.

The movie was beautiful. The set direction stood out without being distracting. The ongoing motifs (the color green) and callbacks (advertising art) were ridiculously satisfying and fun. It was grounded in our past, but it was also a comical idealized version (Michael Shannon's character at home with his family). The acting, of course, was superb throughout. It was also a little gross and bloody. 

And, the love story? The only way that was believable was because of Sally Hawkins. I'm sure Frances McDormand will win the Oscar, but I've seen both performances in the last week and I'm here to tell you that every single A-List actress could sell that female rage since November 8, 2016. But, making you fall in love with a merman? That's all fucking Sally Hawkins.

Give Sally Hawkins All the Oscars. She's brilliant.

Definitely worth your time.


STILLWATER receives starred review from Library Journal!

*Lenhardt, Melissa. Stillwater: A Jack McBride Mystery. Skyhorse. Nov. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9781634502269. $24.99;
ebk. ISBN 9781510700710. M

Seeking to get away from his soon-to-be-ex-wife and his disintegrating career with the FBI, Jack McBride moves to the small east Texas town of Stillwater with his son, Ethan. Unfortunately, on his first day as the new police chief, there is a double homicide at a trailer park; Rosa and Gilberto were hardworking but undocumented laborers who may or may not have uncovered something worth killing for. Then another body is uncovered, buried for more than 50 years under a tree down by the creek. Something is definitely rotten in Stillwater.

VERDICT A finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, this debut crime novel, spanning decades of Stillwater’s history, features an ingenious plot and a complicated protagonist with inner depths worth plumbing. Readers who miss Donald Harstad will appreciate this well-done police procedural, which is also a good choice for fans of Terry Shames’s “Samuel Craddock” mysteries, Lee Martin’s “Deb Ralston” series, or Tricia Fields’s “Josie Gray” novels.
Stillwater: A Jack McBride Mystery
By Melissa Lenhardt

Library Journal is the trade magazine libraries across the country use to determine what books to include in their collection. A review is good, but a starred review is exceptional and means the chances are good STILLWATER will be included in libraries across the country.

If you want to help get STILLWATER in your local library, you can request it through the website. There is usually an easy form to complete to request a book. Include the news about Library Journal's starred review for good measure.

SAWBONES review from NYT Bestselling Author Jane Kirkpatrick!

By Melissa Lenhardt

“Raw, gritty and sometimes graphic, Melissa Lenhardt has crafted a page-turner. In Sawbones, the women are smart, brave and at times ‘incorrigible.' The plot twists, unique characters and intriguing story of passion and betrayal make this a book well worth discovering.” - Jane KirkpatrickNew York Times bestselling author of A Light in the Wilderness

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in this fast-paced historical debut.

When Dr. Catherine Bennett is wrongfully accused of murder, she knows her fate likely lies with a noose unless she can disappear. Fleeing with a bounty on her head, she escapes with her maid to the uncharted territories of Colorado to build a new life with a new name. Although the story of the murderess in New York is common gossip, Catherine's false identity serves her well as she fills in as a temporary army doctor. But in a land unknown, so large and yet so small, a female doctor can only hide for so long.