Greenwood's upside-down contemporary fairy tale captivates with its wonderfully inventive storytelling and its...

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THE RECKLESS OATH WE MADE

A hot-tempered, gritty Kansas woman living on the edge and an autistic man obsessed with medieval chivalry team up in an unforgettable heroic quest to rescue her abducted sister.

Zhorzha Trego’s hardscrabble life takes a turn for the worse when older sister LaReigne, a volunteer at a local prison, is taken hostage with another woman by two escaped inmates. She learns the news while on a late-night train heading home to Wichita with her 5-year-old nephew, Marcus, after making a weed-smuggling run to Colorado. With a father who died in prison and a grieving mother who has become a 600-pound hoarder, the burden of supporting the family has fallen on redheaded Zee’s tall shoulders, and waitressing can't even begin to cover her medical bills from a motorcycle accident that left her with chronic hip pain. The attention from the police and press causes Zee to lose her apartment, her job, and her car in short order. To the rescue arrives her eccentric knight, whom she had met at a physical therapy clinic two years earlier. Gentry Frank is on the spectrum; his inner voices convince him that he’s Zee's champion. When he invites her and Marcus to stay with his loving, multiracial adoptive family, the unromantic Zee begins to connect with her odd suitor. After the second female hostage is found murdered, Zee realizes she must save LaReigne on her own. Together, she and the loyal Gentry embark on a dangerous journey. As in All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (2016), Greenwood depicts an unconventional romance with honesty and tenderness. Her short, briskly paced chapters keep the pages flying, and she expertly juggles nine different narrators with their own distinctive voices. The Middle English that Gentry speaks reveals his honorable nature and leavens the suspenseful storyline with fresh humor.

Greenwood's upside-down contemporary fairy tale captivates with its wonderfully inventive storytelling and its compassionately drawn, flawed characters.

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-54184-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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