Many of the poems in Sharon McCartney’s second book, Karenin Sings the Blues, have won national competitions and been published in literary magazines, and so set the standard and tone for the rest of this fine collection. The book is presented in three parts: Karenin Sings the Blues, California and Persuasion. Karenin Sings the Blues consists of poems that pertain to Leo Tolstoy’s great novel Anna Karenina. Among the characters who are resurrected here are Vronsky, Kitty, Levin, Karenin and, from beyond the grave, Anna herself. McCartney adds some new and original perspectives, which include Vronsky’s revolver, the metaphorical doomed horse, Frou-Frou, and the helpless engine that sliced through Anna. This set of poems, the majority of the collection, is a creative and downright fun piece of work for anyone who loves Tolstoy’s masterpiece. The next section, California, deals with the hard reality of family and the paralytic state of adolescence. The final set, Persuasion, charts the change of perspective toward parents, parenting and marriage, throughout both the narrator’s life and the course of time, using Jane Austen and her work as a starting point. McCartney’s effective use of imagery and language layer her poems with subtle and decadent emotion. In the last line of “My Father Tells Me Why I Was Born,” she writes: “Outside my father’s door, / round rocks curl / like hundreds of knuckles.” An evolution takes place between California and Persuasion, and we see the narrator at different stages of anger, frustration and grief. The three sections work wonderfully as a whole, but the suites are effective on their own as well, and so are the individual poems, all of which are well crafted, thoughtful and thought-provoking.