A likable beach read with just a touch of gravitas.


Delinsky, whose bestsellers tackle the crises of family life, offers a story of growth for a woman and her adult daughter and the resulting painful divide.

Caroline MacAfee is head carpenter for MacAfee Homes and host of the popular home-improvement show Gut It!, which chronicles the company's building projects. The company is a family affair, run by patriarch Theodore; Caroline's ex-husband, Roy; their architect daughter, Jamie; and her fiance, Brad, the company's lawyer. Caroline avoids Roy and his young third wife, Jess, and their toddler, Tad, preferring the wood shop to the boardroom. But then the producer of Gut It! drops a bombshell—Caroline is being replaced as host by Jamie. Caroline is furious, feeling she's the victim of ageism, and irrationally blames Jamie for orchestrating her own promotion. Heartbroken Jamie adores her mother and doesn't want to host the show, at least not like this. But suddenly this conflict becomes much less relevant when Roy and Jess are killed in a car accident and Jamie is given custody of Tad, her half brother. Grieving and overwhelmed, Jamie has just a few days to learn the trick of being a working mother. (Brad is no help, suggesting Tad be given, like an old potato, to someone else.) As her mother is still not speaking to her, Jamie begins to rely on Chip Kobik, a hunky dad and former NHL bad boy she meets at the park. He helps her navigate life with Tad and realize what real love looks like. Meanwhile, as the new CEO, the often unsympathetic Caroline softens while keeping company with her longtime friend Dean, the company's general contractor and a surprisingly romantic tough guy. Delinsky effortlessly brings the components together—romance, career shifts, changes in parent-child relationships—and if the novel becomes occasionally clunky detailing an architect at work or a real estate deal in action, then the two charming romances make up for it.

A likable beach read with just a touch of gravitas.

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00704-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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