Despite some shortcomings, the story is a solid page-turner sprinkled with clever observations about the nature of romantic...



Before Emma Moon ties the knot, she wants to know why her father walked out on her months after she was born.

Emma has always lived by the motto "Be the first person to jump ship." Her aversion to commitment is understandable after a lifetime with a mother who's kept her at arm’s length and a father who walked out of her life. This parental combo has left Emma with a gaping hole she feels can only be filled when she finds her father, Hunter Moon. Emma and her best friend, Liv, ditch a pre-wedding Napa getaway and head to San Francisco for an often funny paternal scavenger hunt. Fitzhenry’s plot is reminiscent of the 1996 Ben Stiller comedy flick Flirting with Disaster but lacks the heart and complexity that made the movie truly special. Through a series of too-convenient coincidences, Emma discovers secrets that rock the foundation of her past and threaten her future. Readers may buy the random run-in with a long-lost friend who reveals that fiance Sam might not be all he seems. And, OK, Liv’s ex-boyfriend could just happen to be at the same bar as Emma and Liv. But when a postcard for a Hunter Moon art show conveniently appears at just the right moment, debut novelist Fitzhenry slides quickly into eye-rolling territory. (To her credit, the author acknowledges the unlikeliness there by dubbing it “the Magic Postcard.”) It’s also hard to swallow that a character capable of such emotionally rich flashbacks to her childhood can be so one-dimensional in her analysis of present-day relationships. She's quick to label people as liars and cheats when there is clearly more nuance to situations. Still, Emma is easy to root for.

Despite some shortcomings, the story is a solid page-turner sprinkled with clever observations about the nature of romantic love.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-425-28111-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Print the bumper sticker—"I'd Rather Be Living in an Elin Hilderbrand Novel."


Back to St. John with the Steele family, whose tragic loss and horrifying discovery have yielded an exciting new life.

In Winter in Paradise (2018), Hilderbrand introduced Midwestern magazine editor Irene Steele and her adult sons, Baker and Cash, then swept them off to the island of St. John after paterfamilias Russell Steele was killed in a helicopter crash with his secret mistress, leaving a preteen love child and a spectacular villa. While the first volume left a lot up in the air about Russell’s dubious business dealings and the manner of his death, this installment fills in many of the blanks. All three Steeles made new friends during their unexpected visit to the island in January, and now that’s resulted in job offers for Irene and Cash and the promise of new love for single dad Baker. Why not move to St. John and into the empty villa? Mother, sons, and grandson do just that. Both the dead mistress’s diary and a cadre of FBI agents begin to provide answers to the questions left dangling in Volume 1, and romantic prospects unfold for all three Steeles. Nevertheless, as a wise person once said, shit happens, combusting the family’s prospects and leading to a cliffhanger ending. On the way, there will be luscious island atmosphere, cute sundresses, frozen drinks, “slender baguette sandwiches with duck, arugula and fig jam,” lemongrass sugar cookies, and numerous bottles of both Krug and Dom Pérignon, the latter served by a wiseass who offers one of his trademark tasting notes: “This storied bubbly has notes of Canadian pennies, your dad’s Members Only jacket, and…‘We Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together.’ ” You'll be counting the days until you can return to the Virgin Islands with these characters in the concluding volume of the trilogy.

Print the bumper sticker—"I'd Rather Be Living in an Elin Hilderbrand Novel."

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-43557-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Honeyman’s endearing debut is part comic novel, part emotional thriller, and part love story.


A very funny novel about the survivor of a childhood trauma.

At 29, Eleanor Oliphant has built an utterly solitary life that almost works. During the week, she toils in an office—don’t inquire further; in almost eight years no one has—and from Friday to Monday she makes the time go by with pizza and booze. Enlivening this spare existence is a constant inner monologue that is cranky, hilarious, deadpan, and irresistible. Eleanor Oliphant has something to say about everything. Riding the train, she comments on the automated announcements: “I wondered at whom these pearls of wisdom were aimed; some passing extraterrestrial, perhaps, or a yak herder from Ulan Bator who had trekked across the steppes, sailed the North Sea, and found himself on the Glasgow-Edinburgh service with literally no prior experience of mechanized transport to call upon.” Eleanor herself might as well be from Ulan Bator—she’s never had a manicure or a haircut, worn high heels, had anyone visit her apartment, or even had a friend. After a mysterious event in her childhood that left half her face badly scarred, she was raised in foster care, spent her college years in an abusive relationship, and is now, as the title states, perfectly fine. Her extreme social awkwardness has made her the butt of nasty jokes among her colleagues, which don’t seem to bother her much, though one notices she is stockpiling painkillers and becoming increasingly obsessed with an unrealistic crush on a local musician. Eleanor’s life begins to change when Raymond, a goofy guy from the IT department, takes her for a potential friend, not a freak of nature. As if he were luring a feral animal from its hiding place with a bit of cheese, he gradually brings Eleanor out of her shell. Then it turns out that shell was serving a purpose.

Honeyman’s endearing debut is part comic novel, part emotional thriller, and part love story.

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2068-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet