A funny and thoughtful portrayal of the not-too-distant future.

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HIGH SPIRITS

A TALE OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS

A town’s residents battle over the last piece of valuable property in this novel.

In 2027, Emily Cooper feels drawn to Breckenridge, Colorado—beckoned there by elliptical dreams. She finds old letters written by her grandfather, Isaiah Copper, claiming that he hid a valuable nugget of gold in a chapel that he built in the town years ago. After attending art school in Rhode Island—she makes Japanese pottery—she moved to New York City, but she couldn’t get accustomed to metropolitan life. Now she dreams of buying the chapel and using it as an art studio. However, she discovers that the land upon which the chapel is built is worth millions, and nearly everyone in Breckenridge seems to have an eye on it. William Janis, the chapel’s rector, wants to build a high-tech, modern church facility, and Mayor Ladd teams up with a shady real estate developer looking to build a ski resort. Prescott “Hucker” Anderson, the owner of a high-priced home for the elderly, aims to use the property to open a hospice, hoping that a permissive euthanasia law will allow more rapid turnover of aging clients. However, Al Holland, who owns the property, is indifferent to wealth; he’s more interested in the health of the community. He immediately takes a shine to Emily, who moves into the chapel—making her a target. Author Champorcher (The Vatican Strategy, 2014, etc.) delivers a lighthearted but action-packed thriller. He has a particular talent for seamlessly combining comical high jinks with violent drama: sometimes Emily’s life is threatened, and at other times, she’s making wisecracks to her new sidekick, Stephen “Bear” Chen, a once-successful musician who now refuses to play in front of large groups. Also, with its futuristic tale, the novel inventively captures a world that’s dominated by a sizable elderly population—the direct result of advances in medical science. However, the plot eventually becomes taxingly complicated, and a subplot involving Buddhist monks and reincarnation is simply gratuitous.

A funny and thoughtful portrayal of the not-too-distant future.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-974611-58-4

Page Count: 266

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2017

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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THE GIVER OF STARS

Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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