Evocative poems that feel familiar but not mundane.

WHEN SNOW WALKS IN

POEMS

A collection of poetry celebrates the awe of everyday moments.

Candland’s book takes quotidian moments and turns them into poetry, from enjoying the blissful hours of quiet before daybreak to knitting with an older neighbor and running an errand in the days when potato chips cost a mere 15 cents. The author recalls a mother and daughter selling candy bars on the subway and how an aunt embroidered her whole life. Candland composes poems honoring legends like Green Man and Lady Godiva. In a piece about Paris, she describes wandering around the City of Light: “Over-washed chalcedony sky, / canaries yellow in tender cages / under market tents, / trade songs with one another.” She explores “vermilion rooms” in Edinburgh’s National Gallery and admires Botticelli’s Simonetta Vespucci, asking the subject, “Are the whispers true that you were in love?” “Summer’s Lament” depicts a mother’s ennui, which sends the family to the beach to drink iced tea from a thermos and grill hot dogs over “tired ashes.” Candland is enamored with the tiniest of details, but she also insists: “Perfection is numbing…it has to be raspy / and needling / and oxidizing / or else how can I feel.” The poet’s imagery is vibrant and engaging. Getting up early for a yoga class, she notes how the “shadows hug buildings” and “cars in opposite lane / form a long searchlight.” There are beautiful bits of wisdom buried in these poems, as when she writes “I wanted to experience life but not be / hurt by it” in “Sand Dunes.” Her questions are universal, as when she visits a kiva and asks: “If I listened hard enough / would the songs handed down by my ancestors / be sung to me.” But some poems hinge on pure description and lack insights. These paint undeniably lovely and memorable scenes from the author’s life, but why does she feel compelled to share them? Readers will long for a few more aha moments.

Evocative poems that feel familiar but not mundane.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-66320-176-8

Page Count: 114

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: today

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Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME

When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.

Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7134-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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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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