The characters, with all their detailed idiosyncrasies, are authentically portrayed, and the peregrinations of the complex...

THE HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET

A novel for and about women, a tapestry woven of romance and mystery, secrets kept and revealed, hearts broken and mended, dreams shattered and realized as destinies are rediscovered.

The author begins by taking the reader on a tour of the small town of Avalon on the Irish Coast, introducing her cast of characters, hinting at their secrets, letting them question, surprise and ultimately support one another. Danae, the postmistress, is kind and discreet, careful not to pry too much into the private lives of the people she serves, knowing from personal experience that some things are just too hard to talk about. Her niece Mara leaves small-town life for a career in the big city only to return to nurse a broken heart. Tess remains home to care for her dying father, marries, has two children and runs an antiques business. When her marriage to Kevin grows bland, she suggests a trial separation to see if absence will make their hearts grow fonder. Tess’ older sister Suki left home as soon as she could, seeking a bigger pond, and when her marriage into a famous, wealthy American family ended, she embarked upon an affair with a famous rock star. Additionally, she made a name for herself as the author of a best-selling feminist work titled Women and Their Wars. By the time we meet her, Suki is alone, broke and dealing with writer’s block. She is also running from a scandalmonger seeking information about the famous family she was once a part of and decides to hide out with her sister back home.

The characters, with all their detailed idiosyncrasies, are authentically portrayed, and the peregrinations of the complex plot make for a fascinating journey and an excellent read.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-8140-6

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more