A wholesome second-chance romance, filled with modern-day family drama.

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A FOOLISH CONSISTENCY

In Weir’s debut love story, a couple takes another try at romance, 25 years after their initial relationship ended.

Callie Winwood is a middle-aged divorcée who expects little more from her adult existence than the quiet companionship of her dog, Bailey. While visiting an old friend, a bit of careless vegetable chopping lands Callie in the emergency room. The doctor on call just happens to be Will Tremaine, a man she almost married two decades earlier. As Will stitches up Callie’s minor wound, they catch up on old times and then say goodbye. However, they quickly realize that they still have unresolved feelings for each other. Widower Will is ready to start dating again, and he can’t get Callie off his mind; he finally works up the nerve to pursue her, but not until after she’s returned home. They soon embark on a long-distance relationship, in which they revive their fervent connection. Callie’s grown children are supportive of their mother’s new boyfriend, but Will’s adolescent kids are less accepting. Even more resistant is the family of Will’s deceased wife, Joanna. Will and Callie soon discover that his former in-laws will stop at nothing to tear them apart, and they must decide just how much they’re willing to sacrifice in order to be together. As the two main characters navigate their relationship, Weir’s vivid prose brings them both to life (“[H]e had two children to consider….I couldn’t step into his life without stepping into theirs, and that was not something I would do precipitously”). Grief looms large throughout the story, becoming something of a character in itself. The author expertly juxtaposes the sadness of loss with the joy of new beginnings, providing readers with hope that her grieving characters will recover. She also explores the idea of blended families with insight and finesse. Although the physical chemistry between Will and Callie sometimes feels forced, their emotional connection rings strong and true. Overall, the fast pace of the narrative and the thoughtfulness of the characters provide the tale with undeniable appeal.

A wholesome second-chance romance, filled with modern-day family drama.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1936672738

Page Count: 342

Publisher: Cedar Forge Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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