Like a favorite playlist, this cozy rom-com hits the right notes.

LOVE SONGS FOR SKEPTICS

With her childhood crush returned to London and her career on the line, a 30-something woman finds herself contemplating life and love.

Zoë Frixos, the 34-year-old editor of Re:Sound, is being verbally accosted by boy-bander Jonny Delaney. In the middle of a party honoring Zoë's mentor, Patrick Armstrong, Jonny, "The Cute One” in the impossibly popular group Hands Down, has decided to launch a tirade against Re:Sound's negative review of the band’s latest album. The magazine, established in the 1960s heyday of Jimmy Page and Keith Richards, is now struggling in the age of digital media, but Zoë isn’t about to let an artificial pop band take away what’s left of their rock ’n’ roll cred. Though she escapes with a pithy comeback, Hands Down’s publicist—the infuriatingly tall, dark, and handsome Nick Jones—calls Zoë out, sparking a heated rivalry. To make matters worse, her publisher, Mike, has bad news: Re:Sound will be shut down if they can’t get their circulation numbers up. Zoë is placing her hopes on scoring an interview with the reclusive Marcie Tyler, a legendary artist who has been out of the spotlight for a decade. But as Marcie’s newly appointed PR man, Nick holds the key to Re:Sound’s success, and he’s not above using positive press for Hands Down as leverage. In her personal life, Zoë’s got another man vying for her attention: Her childhood crush Simon Baxter has returned after decades, as charming as ever. And with her brother Pete’s big, fat Greek wedding on the horizon, moussaka’s about to hit the fan. Zoë’s career struggles and romantic woes make for a relatable plot about what really happens after childhood dreams come true, and a vibrant cast of supporting characters adds plenty of humor and heart.

Like a favorite playlist, this cozy rom-com hits the right notes.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72821-760-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.

THE FOUR WINDS

The miseries of the Depression and Dust Bowl years shape the destiny of a Texas family.

“Hope is a coin I carry: an American penny, given to me by a man I came to love. There were times in my journey when I felt as if that penny and the hope it represented were the only things that kept me going.” We meet Elsa Wolcott in Dalhart, Texas, in 1921, on the eve of her 25th birthday, and wind up with her in California in 1936 in a saga of almost unrelieved woe. Despised by her shallow parents and sisters for being sickly and unattractive—“too tall, too thin, too pale, too unsure of herself”—Elsa escapes their cruelty when a single night of abandon leads to pregnancy and forced marriage to the son of Italian immigrant farmers. Though she finds some joy working the land, tending the animals, and learning her way around Mama Rose's kitchen, her marriage is never happy, the pleasures of early motherhood are brief, and soon the disastrous droughts of the 1930s drive all the farmers of the area to despair and starvation. Elsa's search for a better life for her children takes them out west to California, where things turn out to be even worse. While she never overcomes her low self-esteem about her looks, Elsa displays an iron core of character and courage as she faces dust storms, floods, hunger riots, homelessness, poverty, the misery of migrant labor, bigotry, union busting, violent goons, and more. The pedantic aims of the novel are hard to ignore as Hannah embodies her history lesson in what feels like a series of sepia-toned postcards depicting melodramatic scenes and clichéd emotions.

For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2501-7860-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY

An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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