by Betty Annand ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 3, 2017
What could be an examination of class distinctions in Victorian England disappoints with unrealistic characters and turns of...
A young girl tries to make her way in the slums of 19th-century London in Annand's debut novel.
Gladys Tunner is born into poverty to alcoholic parents unable to properly care for her. But as an attractive and charming young girl, she finds allies in fellow youth Toughie and a midwife named Sally, both of whom protect her and teach her how to survive. But Gladys has to flee her home after her parents attempt to sell her for a night to their landlord, forcing her to make a life of her own in the English countryside, a world she never knew existed. Helped along the way by strangers, Gladys uses her wit and quick thinking to move through the class hierarchy that once kept her family in squalor. The story moves quickly but at the cost of character development and context that could meaningfully place the reader in the chaos and danger of the times. Instead, the author relies on shallow stereotypes and one-dimensional characters, with brief passages of dialogue that read as wooden and unnatural. For example, when she fears she has killed someone, Gladys says to the man who helps her flee to a train station, "There's one leaving for somewhere called Dover at four in the morning. That's not long, Mr O, so don't you worry about me; I can wait alone. You had better go home, or Mrs O will be worried." The 19th-century England that Gladys lives in is full of abnormally perceptive people, strangers ready to offer a helping hand, and no sense of true danger for a young girl with no formal education or social standing. It’s not only unbelievable, but ultimately tedious.What could be an examination of class distinctions in Victorian England disappoints with unrealistic characters and turns of good fortune.
Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017
Page Count: 377
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2016
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016
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by Colleen Hoover ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 2, 2016
Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.
At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.
Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016
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by Josie Silver ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 16, 2018
Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an...
True love flares between two people, but they find that circumstances always impede it.
On a winter day in London, Laurie spots Jack from her bus home and he sparks a feeling in her so deep that she spends the next year searching for him. Her roommate and best friend, Sarah, is the perfect wing-woman but ultimately—and unknowingly—ends the search by finding Jack and falling for him herself. Laurie’s hasty decision not to tell Sarah is the second painful missed opportunity (after not getting off the bus), but Sarah’s happiness is so important to Laurie that she dedicates ample energy into retraining her heart not to love Jack. Laurie is misguided, but her effort and loyalty spring from a true heart, and she considers her project mostly successful. Perhaps she would have total success, but the fact of the matter is that Jack feels the same deep connection to Laurie. His reasons for not acting on them are less admirable: He likes Sarah and she’s the total package; why would he give that up just because every time he and Laurie have enough time together (and just enough alcohol) they nearly fall into each other’s arms? Laurie finally begins to move on, creating a mostly satisfying life for herself, whereas Jack’s inability to be genuine tortures him and turns him into an ever bigger jerk. Patriarchy—it hurts men, too! There’s no question where the book is going, but the pacing is just right, the tone warm, and the characters sympathetic, even when making dumb decisions.Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an emotional, satisfying read.
Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018
Page Count: 400
Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018
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