A highly readable, if uneven, novel featuring characters that will be hard for readers to forget.

Pretty from a Distance

A woman tries to shed her troubling past with the help of friends—and fate—in this debut novel.

Glorianna is assaulted by her boyfriend, Vince, and a lecherous bar patron and winds up bloodied, face down on the pavement outside the bar. An angelic, unknown man comes to her rescue, but his presence is fleeting. Five years later, Glorianna is still with Vince, and their nomadic wanderings in a camper have led them to Corona d’Espinas, N.M. Quiet, wise Fred lives in a trailer nearby; he suffers from panic attacks, just as Glorianna always has. He introduces her to several other warm people: the spitfire waitress, Valerie; the chatty bar owner, Roy, and his mystic wife, Sonia; Roy’s handsome nephew Doug and his daughter Melanie; and Casey, the sheriff. Glorianna grows close to all of them, especially Doug, but still endures Vince’s physical and sexual attacks at night. Her new friends drop hints that she could do better than Vince, but still she returns to him, despite the revelation that Vince is seeing another woman. Doug and Glorianna continue their budding relationship, and she promises herself that she will have a new life by the new year. But in the novel’s dramatic crescendo, startling news from Glorianna’s family reveals her past secrets, provoking Vince to do his worst. Readers may have difficulty keeping track of the novel’s dozens of characters, but their dialogue and interactions are flawless, creating a warm Southwest community with just enough local color. The story’s most puzzling aspects are Glorianna’s attraction to Vince and her decision to remain in their relationship. Their tangled past isn’t fully revealed until well into the novel, and for much of the novel, Vince’s characterization isn’t particularly complex. Readers may wish that the novel had better explored why Glorianna stays with Vince, and what her life could be like without him, instead of anchoring the story in their violent relationship.

A highly readable, if uneven, novel featuring characters that will be hard for readers to forget.

Pub Date: March 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1479347278

Page Count: 470

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.


A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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