An enjoyable tale of reclamation through time travel.

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INHERITING FATE

In this debut novel, a damaged woman seeking to rebuild her life gets drawn into a historical mystery.

McFarland’s protagonist, Cassie McAllister, survived a vicious attack by her ex-husband, James Lancaster, but still bears the physical and mental scars. Since her parents’ recent deaths in a car accident, Cassie is also haunted by a woman’s voice saying “Save her.” Her self-prescribed therapy is to move into and repair an Idaho farmhouse that she inherited. But the home has ghosts, both figurative and literal. In the attic, she discovers the diary of Annie McDonald and gets pulled back into her 1890 world. When Cassie returns to the present, she meets the ghost of Carrington Chambers, Annie’s future husband. Carrington was hung for Annie’s murder, a crime that he didn’t commit. He is a restless spirit who has remained at his former home, refusing to cross over until he finds out the truth about what happened to Annie. He needs Cassie to read Annie’s diary and go back in time to discover the truth about her death. Cassie eventually agrees to help Carrington with his mission despite threats that include Lancaster’s release from prison. In this first installment of her Fate series, McFarland has crafted an admirable heroine in Cassie, who is willing to risk her own life to help Carrington gain some closure. Carrington is also a well-developed character, a twice-convicted murderer in his own time who cares for Cassie’s well-being in the present. This novel manages to be both an intriguing romance and a well-structured mystery, as Cassie tries to uncover who are the friends and foes among Carrington’s acquaintances. But the tale never explains how Carrington manages to maintain a solid physical presence in modern times only to fade away as he gets closer to completing his task. But thanks to the author’s fast-moving narrative, readers are likely to overlook this quibble. What’s more pressing is the increasingly close relationship between Cassie and Carrington, though it seems doomed to be short-lived if they succeed in solving Annie’s murder. What results is a bittersweet and engaging story as Carrington pursues vindication.

An enjoyable tale of reclamation through time travel.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73345-300-4

Page Count: 338

Publisher: Silent K Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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