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


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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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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