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Lemongrass Hope

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In Impellizzeri’s debut novel, a history professor chooses between free-spiritedness and stability.
Kate, a mother and history teacher, contends daily with a decision made in her youth. The story skips through the decades of her life, revolving around a romantic compromise. While completing her master’s and working as a waitress, a young vivacious woman, Benton, takes notice of Kate, and Benton’s friend Ian can’t help but do the same. Although Benton knows of Ian’s infatuation with Kate, as the women become friends, she decides Kate would prefer her friend Rob. Kate goes on a date with Rob, but things quickly fizzle. Ian swoops in, and the two become inseparable, until he leaves on assignment. Kate—uneasy with his uprooted lifestyle and unsure of her feelings—loses hope for their relationship, despite Ian’s assurances. Rob re-enters her life, and following a miscarriage, the two decide to get married. Their marriage suffers more blows: job instability, adultery. When Kate feels as if she’s lost control, she receives an invitation from Benton for a “heartbreak cruise.” Relieved to spend a week with other scorned women, Kate finds that Ian is also attending the holiday, and she realizes this may be her second shot at love. Kate’s story speaks to the ways optimism and pessimism may affect choices. Rob condemns her for pessimistic attitude, while Ian will always cherish her as a “true optimist.” The way in which Kate grapples with their opinions of her reveals her own self-perception; she is often insecure, questioning her parenting and professionalism. The nonlinear structure makes her story unique; it switches from her days as a student to her experience as a newlywed to her failing marriage to her chance for redemption with Ian. The complex decisions at each turn build reader interest and investment in the characters.
A layered, bittersweet romance that questions consequences and explores second chances.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-939288-53-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2014

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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