A worthy but overstuffed saga about Maryland before and after the birth of America.

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Maryland—Lord Baltimore's Dream

A novel explores the history of Maryland, from Colonial times through the end of the War of 1812, as experienced by members of the fictional Kerr family.

In 1634, the first Lord Baltimore, George Calvert, received a land grant from King Charles I, a parcel carved out of the colony of Virginia. Calvert’s goal was to create a haven for
Roman Catholics, who faced persecution in England. His vision was for Maryland to be a colony in which “everyone would own a large estate, and live the life of an English aristocrat.” That is not how it turned out, of course, but Maryland’s original commitment to the concept of religious freedom brought in a wide mix of immigrants searching for a new start. This book’s family saga begins with patriarch Simon de Coeur, who leaves Spain for France in 1590. His son and grandson eventually depart France for better prospects in England. At the end of the 17th century, great-grandson Emmanuel Coeur (the family name will later be changed to Kerr) is rejected as a proper suitor for a daughter of the aristocratic St. James family—he is not of high birth and is a Catholic to boot. Heartbroken and angry, he heads to Maryland. There, he begins what will grow into one of the most successful mercantile businesses in the colony, somewhat inauspiciously by becoming a smuggler and, when necessary, a privateer (a government-sanctioned pirate). There is a lot of history packed into Hart’s (Lacey Blue and the Rejects, 2013, etc.) novel—perhaps too much. By the time Emmanuel arrives in Maryland, the reader has already perused more than a third of the book and endured long lessons in French and British royal lineages and misadventures. The story provides intriguing background for an assortment of characters who will eventually interact with the Kerrs, but this material also clutters the flow of the fictional narrative. The most compelling sections of Hart’s work, which constitute the second half of the volume, deal with Maryland’s pivotal role in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 and the lengthy philosophical arguments between sequential generations of Kerr fathers and sons about the economic underpinnings of the two conflicts.

A worthy but overstuffed saga about Maryland before and after the birth of America.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-68256-111-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: LitFire Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2016

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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