A disturbingly believable account of a marriage gone bad.



Mullen’s novel tells the disturbing account of a woman trapped in an abusive marriage.

Katie O’Connell seems to have the perfect life upon marrying Jeff, a wealthy, charming man who whisks her off to Rhode Island. But she soon feels as though she married two people: loving Jeff, who’s at ease when they sail on their yacht, and the dark, angry Jeff on land, who thrusts his four children from a previous marriage onto Katie, thanking her with only biting criticism. Not long into marriage, Katie finds herself “in a constant state of readiness, one foot perpetually raised and prepared for the quick change of direction from one version of him to the other.” Jeff’s dark moods begin to overshadow their marriage, and sides of him she didn’t know existed begin to surface. Though he had claimed to be a staunch feminist when they were dating, he suddenly decides that Katie’s career as a newspaper columnist is no longer acceptable; she must raise his children. He asserts control over their finances and blames Katie for everything, including his mood swings and angst. As the marriage descends into a tense, dangerous place, Katie finds herself losing her conviction and choosing to believe Jeff’s apologies and promises. A cycle ensues: Jeff crosses lines of abuse that even forgiving Katie cannot tolerate, though she finds herself reconciling again as Jeff insists he’ll get help. But when Katie’s willingness to work with her troubled husband is put to the ultimate test, her resilience may not be enough. Told with a gentle touch, Katie’s story draws the reader into the desperate mind of a woman who needs to believe in her marriage. It’s every woman’s nightmare, and Katie’s determination makes her both a victim and a heroine; either way, she’s hugely sympathetic. The details of her turbulent marriage make for a gripping, heart-rending experience, which will stay with readers long after the story ends.

A disturbingly believable account of a marriage gone bad.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0615655727

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Tenacity Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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Print the bumper sticker—"I'd Rather Be Living in an Elin Hilderbrand Novel."


Back to St. John with the Steele family, whose tragic loss and horrifying discovery have yielded an exciting new life.

In Winter in Paradise (2018), Hilderbrand introduced Midwestern magazine editor Irene Steele and her adult sons, Baker and Cash, then swept them off to the island of St. John after paterfamilias Russell Steele was killed in a helicopter crash with his secret mistress, leaving a preteen love child and a spectacular villa. While the first volume left a lot up in the air about Russell’s dubious business dealings and the manner of his death, this installment fills in many of the blanks. All three Steeles made new friends during their unexpected visit to the island in January, and now that’s resulted in job offers for Irene and Cash and the promise of new love for single dad Baker. Why not move to St. John and into the empty villa? Mother, sons, and grandson do just that. Both the dead mistress’s diary and a cadre of FBI agents begin to provide answers to the questions left dangling in Volume 1, and romantic prospects unfold for all three Steeles. Nevertheless, as a wise person once said, shit happens, combusting the family’s prospects and leading to a cliffhanger ending. On the way, there will be luscious island atmosphere, cute sundresses, frozen drinks, “slender baguette sandwiches with duck, arugula and fig jam,” lemongrass sugar cookies, and numerous bottles of both Krug and Dom Pérignon, the latter served by a wiseass who offers one of his trademark tasting notes: “This storied bubbly has notes of Canadian pennies, your dad’s Members Only jacket, and…‘We Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together.’ ” You'll be counting the days until you can return to the Virgin Islands with these characters in the concluding volume of the trilogy.

Print the bumper sticker—"I'd Rather Be Living in an Elin Hilderbrand Novel."

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-43557-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Honeyman’s endearing debut is part comic novel, part emotional thriller, and part love story.


A very funny novel about the survivor of a childhood trauma.

At 29, Eleanor Oliphant has built an utterly solitary life that almost works. During the week, she toils in an office—don’t inquire further; in almost eight years no one has—and from Friday to Monday she makes the time go by with pizza and booze. Enlivening this spare existence is a constant inner monologue that is cranky, hilarious, deadpan, and irresistible. Eleanor Oliphant has something to say about everything. Riding the train, she comments on the automated announcements: “I wondered at whom these pearls of wisdom were aimed; some passing extraterrestrial, perhaps, or a yak herder from Ulan Bator who had trekked across the steppes, sailed the North Sea, and found himself on the Glasgow-Edinburgh service with literally no prior experience of mechanized transport to call upon.” Eleanor herself might as well be from Ulan Bator—she’s never had a manicure or a haircut, worn high heels, had anyone visit her apartment, or even had a friend. After a mysterious event in her childhood that left half her face badly scarred, she was raised in foster care, spent her college years in an abusive relationship, and is now, as the title states, perfectly fine. Her extreme social awkwardness has made her the butt of nasty jokes among her colleagues, which don’t seem to bother her much, though one notices she is stockpiling painkillers and becoming increasingly obsessed with an unrealistic crush on a local musician. Eleanor’s life begins to change when Raymond, a goofy guy from the IT department, takes her for a potential friend, not a freak of nature. As if he were luring a feral animal from its hiding place with a bit of cheese, he gradually brings Eleanor out of her shell. Then it turns out that shell was serving a purpose.

Honeyman’s endearing debut is part comic novel, part emotional thriller, and part love story.

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2068-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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