A bit plodding at first, this novel won’t immediately grab readers with its engaging plot. Rather, it will slowly charm...

NICE WORK (IF YOU CAN GET IT)

Can four retirees open a successful restaurant together in a quaint little town on the French Riviera?

In her follow-up to Not Quite Nice (2015), Imrie revisits Bellevue-Sur-Mer, an expat oasis tucked between the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo and Cannes. In this installment, four British seniors—Theresa, Carol, William, and Benjamin—pool their resources to open a restaurant, selecting a site that's more than a bit of a fixer-upper. In addition to issues with the property, the friends face numerous logistical roadblocks in launching their business. (They also upset fellow restaurateurs in the area.) As typical Brits, they keep calm and carry on until the road appears smooth. But is it? An intruder seems to want something from all of them. Then there’s Sally, an actress who left the industry under dubious circumstances and seeks privacy in her forced retirement. As her friends deal with restaurant challenges, Sally juggles a new relationship with a Russian billionaire and a frenemy from her past who's in town for the Cannes Film Festival. As the bubbly excitement of the festival spills over to Bellevue-Sur-Mer, scandals, love triangles, and secrets are revealed. Despite her recent foray into novel writing, Imrie is best known for her screen work, having appeared in such films as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Calendar Girls, and Nanny McPhee. Her ability to advance a written plot is not as fully developed as her work as an actor, but those who enjoy British humor and colloquialisms will surely find this a lovely read.

A bit plodding at first, this novel won’t immediately grab readers with its engaging plot. Rather, it will slowly charm those up for a story that gradually unfolds into something delightful.

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63286-664-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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