Reviews of Since You Ask Akashic Books, New York, 2004
Small Spiral Notebook
Earnest and beautiful… the voice at its centre shimmers with truth. Descriptions that are sense and color-driven, lyrical, soft, and reminiscing, offset the darkness of the situations, adding to the complexity…Perceptively and sensitively drawn. The descriptions are often beautiful, and the emotions feel solid and true.
Impeccable dialogue, vivid imagery… an author sure to have a luminous career. Readers are blessed with Wareham’s strikingly natural dialogue and original descriptions: a Manhattan drink looks the color of “rock candy;” her boyfriend’s eyes are like “burnt grass,” her medicine “swims like Sambuccca in a clear plastic cup.”
Wareham's first novel is unsettling, not only because of its subject matter but because the protagonist's simply stated but astute observations about her own compulsions force readers to rethink a lot of common assumptions about sexual behaviour. Those expecting scathing indictments of what many would view as the sexual predators in Betsy's life will be sorely disappointed, as Wareham is more interested in examining what role Betsy herself plays in these situations. Although it ends on a hopeful note, this is obviously a very dark book -- and potentially a controversial one -- but Wareham has created a compelling character who earns her readers' attention.
Singularly constructed with the ineluctable glint of sexual compulsion... Wareham’s conceit is in the incisive, psychic stenography wherein (narrator) Betsy’s truths are revealed for the first time…. Abject physicality, weather allusions, and damaged, apparition-like dealings with an older brother wind around each other and double back, as Betsy notes “I didn’t have to fall. I could have righted myself. Falling was easiest, though, a slow deliberate giving way, a lying down…” Wareham has delivered something scarily beautiful with Since You Ask, befitting the provocation of an intelligent woman wrongly turned, then turned around.
American Book Review
Since You Ask is a small, quiet novel that succeeds in focusing intently on one character's account of abuse and recovery. Wareham's great achievement here is her plotting, her control, the deliberate order and pace with which she reveals Betsy's story, her skillful withholding.
The Westchester Journal
Wareham is a bold, brave, first-rate writer.... her pitch, pacing and characterizations are spot-on and her control of this slippery, potentially explosive material is astonishing. Since You Ask is a remarkable accomplishment -- and a propitious beginning for a very talented novelist.
Reviews of Miss Me A Lot Of Victoria University Press, 2007
Miss Me A Lot Of is sometimes close to poetry. Or at least moves between the elliptical ‘leaving out’ of poetry with the filling-in of prose fiction. Holly’s voice is authoritative: the reader accepts just about anything she says. The story is about the fate of beauty and attractiveness, and the tribute we pay to eros.”
Louise O’Brien, The Dominion Post
Like uncovering a secret, finding a good novel puts one deliciously in the know, with the accompanying thrills of disclosure. Miss Me a Lot Of provides thrills galore; it is simply stunning. The writing is spare, controlled and piercing. The plot is compelling, while the characters are not so much likeable as they are mercilessly exposed, and in their truthful clarity lies the source of the underlying sadness of the novel. Never cloying or cliched, the novel is poignant and compassionate, and very moving…. The narrator, Holly, is thoughtful and insightful, careful and a little cold in her ability to judge herself and those around her. Her resignation to her own life is heart-rending, though neither self-pitying nor angsty, and her character carries the weight of real tragedy. Which is why my pages are dog-eared, each turned-over corner marking an image, an idea, a turn of phrase that is extraordinary in some way. Description seems redundant; the novel speaks so eloquently for itself.
Caren Wilton , THE LISTENER
Leonard's prose is cool, spare and eloquent, and she's adept at building tension. It's a pleasure to read a book that's so cleanly and economically written. ... Miss Me a Lot Of is a dark, bleak take on men's and women's power - but it's a terrific read.
Laura Kroetsch, GOOD MORNING TVOne
Miss Me a Lot Of is one of the most wonderful depictions of absolute loneliness, sadness, and the sense of loss that is desire and love. It's incredibly sad. Leonard has an absolutely perfect pitch for the way you feel when you’re young and when you’re in love, and when it’s hopeless. She does it all absolutely flawlessly. She’s a wonderfully talented writer.
Guy Somerset, Books Editor, The Dominion Post
Louise really does share Katherine Mansfield’s penetrating gaze and tight hold on story. Another writer I’m reminded of is the wonderful American stylist James Salter. There’s a line in Miss Me a Lot Of - “Glasses sat drained, red wine at the bottom like split fruit” that Salter would be proud of. There are many lines and many other things in Miss Me a Lot Of that Salter would be proud of….From the sophisticated simplicity of its title - how nice to have an author credit her readers with sharing her own subtle intelligence - to its scrotum-tightening insights into the hollowness of male desire, Miss Me a Lot Of will disappoint no one.