A poignant, revealing, and rueful tale of how much the political can affect the personal.

Old-fashioned romance and street-level crime are woven into a coming-of-age saga set amid the political turmoil of early 1990s Nigeria.

The title of Ishola-Ayodeji’s captivating debut novel is something of a double-entendre, as it refers to both the heroine’s first name and her vexing state of being. Patience Adewale is an 18-year-old U.S.–born Nigerian student living in the city of Ibadan with her stern, domineering, and politically influential father, who demands two things of her: that she get her accounting degree from the University of Lagos and that she stop asking him (or anybody else) about the specific whereabouts of her birth mother, Folami, whom he banished to America. Growing up wealthy, sheltered, and insulated from the grimmer realities of Nigerian society, Patience believes her true destiny has been to make and design clothes in the U.S. and is willing to do whatever it takes to locate her mom and fulfill her ambition. She arrives in Lagos convinced that she won’t find what she wants in a classroom and instead makes her way to the seamier side of town to reconnect with Kash, her ne’er-do-well cousin, who engages in petty crimes with his roommate, Emeka. They share their living space with Emeka’s handsome, smarter brother, Chike, an upstanding, hardworking motorcycle taxi driver unable to find work worthy of his university degree in petroleum science. Chike is far more interested in Patience (and the feeling is mutual) than he is in pulling scams with his brother. Yet Emeka and Kash persuade Patience and Chike to help them separate a million Nigerian naira (about $2,400) from a local bank with a phony check. Though Chike’s dead-set against the plan, a wary-but-game Patience overcomes her own jittery reservations and carries out the masquerade required of her for the con, so badly is she wanting to leave home. (“The irony,” she reflects at one point, “needing to do something unlike herself to actually find herself.”) But one big score isn’t enough for Kash and Emeka, and as both Patience and Chike become more exasperated in their efforts to realize their dreams through conventional means, the deeper involved all four become in bigger and riskier illegalities. All this personal struggle takes place within the backdrop of the 1993 presidential election aimed at setting Nigeria on course for a democratic government after years of military rule. Ishola-Ayodeji is deft, shrewd, sometimes witty, and always observant about the social, economic, and political obstacles to Nigerians wishing only to live honorably and decently.

A poignant, revealing, and rueful tale of how much the political can affect the personal.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-311691-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperVia

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022


A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Truth and deception clash in this tale of the Holocaust.

Udo Graf is proud that the Wolf has assigned him the task of expelling all 50,000 Jews from Salonika, Greece. In that city, Nico Krispis is an 11-year-old Jewish boy whose blue eyes and blond hair deceive, but whose words do not. Those who know him know he has never told a lie in his life—“Never be the one to tell lies, Nico,” his grandfather teaches him. “God is always watching.” Udo and Nico meet, and Udo decides to exploit the child’s innocence. At the train station where Jews are being jammed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, Udo gives Nico a yellow star to wear and persuades him to whisper among the crowd, “I heard it from a German officer. They are sending us to Poland. We will have new homes. And jobs.” The lad doesn’t know any better, so he helps persuade reluctant Jews to board the train to hell. “You were a good little liar,” Udo later tells Nico, and delights in the prospect of breaking the boy’s spirit, which is more fun and a greater challenge than killing him outright. When Nico realizes the horrific nature of what he's done, his truth-telling days are over. He becomes an inveterate liar about everything. Narrating the story is the Angel of Truth, whom according to a parable God had cast out of heaven and onto earth, where Truth shattered into billions of pieces, each to lodge in a human heart. (Obviously, many hearts have been missed.) Truth skillfully weaves together the characters, including Nico; his brother, Sebastian; Sebastian’s wife, Fannie; and the “heartless deceiver” Udo. Events extend for decades beyond World War II, until everyone’s lives finally collide in dramatic fashion. As Truth readily acknowledges, his account is loaded with twists and turns, some fortuitous and others not. Will Nico Krispis ever seek redemption? And will he find it? Author Albom’s passion shows through on every page in this well-crafted novel.

A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9780062406651

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.

Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.

A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-778-38608-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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