by Chris Cander ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2015
A distinctive novel that sublimely measures the distressed though determined heartbeat of a small mountain community.
Verra, West Virginia, is the setting of this sweeping novel, in which first- and second-generation immigrants with coal-stained hands and blackened lungs forge new lives for their growing families amid secrets that run as deep and dark as the coal mines.
Between the years 1916 and 1969, Alta Krol and Myrthen Bergmann encounter each other only a few times. Little do they realize their lives are as intertwined as a wreath made from the thin branches of a myrtle tree. Alta is driven by artistic passion, her love for Myrthen's husband and a dream to flee the hills of Appalachia. “She’d never been to Florida, or anywhere but where she was right then, in a lackluster coal-mining town with mountains like arms around her, always squeezing. Every day of all of her thirty-eight years had been spent in a town that, at its greatest density, contained only a little more than seven thousand people.” Religious fervor, a desire to extricate herself from her loveless marriage and a maniacal ambition to become a nun drive Myrthen. “It seemed Heaven was the only place she might find love; none of her relationships with the living had turned out particularly well.” A devastating mine explosion buries their sins and the burdens of their shame, until many years later, when the 3-year-old town prophet, Gabriel, unearths them, providing both Alta and Myrthen, at long last, reckoning and redemption. Cander (11 Stories, 2013, etc.) divinely delves into multiple points of view, crafting a collage of vibrant, layered characters while charting six decades of poignant, precise moments.A distinctive novel that sublimely measures the distressed though determined heartbeat of a small mountain community.
Pub Date: March 17, 2015
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Other Press
Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by Kristin Hannah ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 3, 2015
Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.
Hannah’s new novel is an homage to the extraordinary courage and endurance of Frenchwomen during World War II.
In 1995, an elderly unnamed widow is moving into an Oregon nursing home on the urging of her controlling son, Julien, a surgeon. This trajectory is interrupted when she receives an invitation to return to France to attend a ceremony honoring passeurs: people who aided the escape of others during the war. Cut to spring, 1940: Viann has said goodbye to husband Antoine, who's off to hold the Maginot line against invading Germans. She returns to tending her small farm, Le Jardin, in the Loire Valley, teaching at the local school and coping with daughter Sophie’s adolescent rebellion. Soon, that world is upended: The Germans march into Paris and refugees flee south, overrunning Viann’s land. Her long-estranged younger sister, Isabelle, who has been kicked out of multiple convent schools, is sent to Le Jardin by Julien, their father in Paris, a drunken, decidedly unpaternal Great War veteran. As the depredations increase in the occupied zone—food rationing, systematic looting, and the billeting of a German officer, Capt. Beck, at Le Jardin—Isabelle’s outspokenness is a liability. She joins the Resistance, volunteering for dangerous duty: shepherding downed Allied airmen across the Pyrenees to Spain. Code-named the Nightingale, Isabelle will rescue many before she's captured. Meanwhile, Viann’s journey from passive to active resistance is less dramatic but no less wrenching. Hannah vividly demonstrates how the Nazis, through starvation, intimidation and barbarity both casual and calculated, demoralized the French, engineering a community collapse that enabled the deportations and deaths of more than 70,000 Jews. Hannah’s proven storytelling skills are ideally suited to depicting such cataclysmic events, but her tendency to sentimentalize undermines the gravitas of this tale.Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.
Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015
Page Count: 448
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014
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by Colleen Hoover ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 18, 2014
Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson.
Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty.Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.
Pub Date: March 18, 2014
Page Count: 384
Review Posted Online: May 6, 2014
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