Sure to transport readers to another place and time.

READ REVIEW

SANTA RITA STORIES

COMING OF AGE IN A CUBAN FISHING TOWN

A collection of short stories centering on a young boy coming of age in a small fishing community during the mid-1950s in pre-Castro Cuba.

In 10 linked stories, Rodriguez charmingly conjures life in Santa Rita, a coastal town in Cuba, before Castro’s revolution. The townspeople are seen mainly through the eyes of Carlos, a young boy growing up surrounded by his colorful neighbors. Chief among them is Pedro, a homeless man who makes the wharf his home and who relates to a wide-eyed Carlos the rich history of their town. As such, the collection encompasses Santa Rita’s past and present. Pedro’s own story is a fascinating one as he narrates his youthful love for a young woman far above his station. A man of many accomplishments, he also tells Carlos about his adventure transporting aid via train to a nearby village hit hard by a hurricane and of his meeting with Ernest Hemingway during World War II, when the famous American writer and his “hooligan navy” kept watch for German U-boats hoping to sink freighters off the coast of Cuba. Carlos is featured in several stories as well, including two about his relationship with Veronica, a beautiful Jewish girl. The collection ends with Carlos’ leaving for a high school education in Havana and his emotional farewell with Pedro, a man straight out of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and who provides the book’s true beating heart. Pedro’s stories read like tall tales, whereas Carlos’ have their roots in timeless stories about youth, like Booth Tarkington’s Penrod and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Basil and Josephine Stories. Rodriguez wonderfully evokes the ’50s with references to The Old Man and The Sea, This is Cinerama and Argentinean Grand Prix champion Juan Manuel Fangio. His only flaw is in too often adding unnecessary buttons in the forms of lessons or morals at the ends of his stories.

Sure to transport readers to another place and time.

Pub Date: June 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1478736981

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Outskirts Press Inc.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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