Secrets of the High Priestess (Poems)
Secrets of the High Priestess explores trauma, recovery, and the role of women in a world that’s begun to change physically, with melting ice caps and changing sea levels, and socially, as we accept new definitions of truth and gender roles.
“Reading Nicole Tone’s secrets of the high priestess was like flipping through the transcript of my own confessions. It’s that necessary kind of unfiltered & uncomfortable that will leave your bones feeling cold & exposed. You’ll regret not keeping tabs on this rising poet.”
— Amanda Lovelace, author of The Princess Saves Herself in This One
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Emma will always be a New Yorker at heart, even though she has a perfect life in Seattle. She has a prestigious job fundraising for the Seattle Symphony, a handsome boyfriend who adores her, and a Belltown apartment with views of the Sound. It should be more than enough to keep her pain from not playing the piano, and her 9/11 nightmares, away.
But when her old college crush, Owen, comes back into her life, it’s more than just spending time with him that’s causing cracks in her picture-perfect life. As she steps back on stage, and back into the spotlight, her connection with Owen, and his world, dredges up old memories that Emma worked hard to forget.
Emma’s past comes back to haunt her, forcing her to face the truth about more than just her fears of returning back to New York. As her once perfect life begins to burn down, Emma is forced to figure out what she really wants: her fundraiser and cocktail party-filled life with her boyfriend, or forging a new future with the one thing, and one person, she’s ever loved–even if it means returning to New York.
Without Benefits is a beautiful and moving exploration of modern relationships and family written in the vein of Taylor Jenkins Reid and Renee Carlino.
Here are what some reviewers have had to say:
“I have never played a musical instrument, I have never been a relationship for a decade, and I have never lived in the Pacific-Northwest but Emma’s story still felt like my own. She was incredibly easy to empathize with and relate to. Her oscillating feelings of happiness, discontent,, confidence, uncertainty, self-reliance, and dependency felt like the defining characteristics of my own mid-twenties existence. Her journey to rediscover her art, find closure with a college crush and contentment with a seemingly perfect boyfriend, and make a home in a city on the opposite side of the country spoke to me on a universal level. I didn’t want to put the book down unless it was to call up Emma herself and schedule a coffee date to commiserate about our confusing lives. Although there are distinctive events that push the story forward, Emma’s arc is self-motivated. She realizes she is not living the life she imagined and she might not be as okay with that as she originally thought. Tone’s exploration of interpersonal relationships was superb and couched in her soft prose that drew me farther in with each sentence.” – Isabelle
“I thought this was going to be an easy read. For most it probably is, but for me… Not so much. You see, I am Emma and that book spoke to me with every word. This book has quickly become an instant favorite. I’m so glad I got the paperback because it’s stunning. I know I’ll pull it off the shelf every so often just to reread it. Just so I can feel the disappointment at Emma settling for a life drastically different from what she envisioned. I’ll reread it so I can feel the pride at her strength of finally going after what she needs from life. I need a soundtrack and sheet music for this book and I need it bad.” – Kimberly Hatch
“Nicole Tone is a master of modern women’s fiction, capable of blending moments of chick lit lightness with literary prose and a dash of Austen-esque plots. If you’re a millennial looking for something to read that will capture your life, I recommend WITHOUT BENEFITS.
The story is one of self-discovery and reinvention, as well as how the choices we make in college (and before) impact our adult life. All of the characters are portrayed so carefully, with such vivid prose, you’ll swear you went to school with them.
A perfect novel to read with a lazy Sunday brunch, or on a rainy day.” – Carrie