An inspirational novel about hard-won love finding its truth path.

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BROKEN BUTTERFLY

A desperate young woman reaches out to an unlikely source of help in novel in Patterson’s debut romance novel.

When readers first meet 22-year-old Mallory Scott, she’s hit rock bottom in her life: She’s a traumatized survivor of an abusive relationship and being stalked by her abuser, Jake, while living in a women’s shelter in Charlotte, North Carolina. Even the tense, guarded sanctuary of the shelter is soon violated when Jake finds her there; she narrowly escapes and travels with a well-meaning stranger to a town in Pennsylvania called Paradise, which is also the home of handsome young Eric Matthews. Eric is angling to land a site-planning job with a Lancaster County grandee named Mr. Chamberlain—and smitten by the man’s beautiful niece, Victoria (“her blonde hair had shimmered in the sunbeams from the skylight,” he dreamily recalls, “the light scent of her perfume still lingered in his memory”). Since Chamberlain’s cousin is the well-wisher who brought Mallory to Paradise and set her up with a job as a housekeeper in the Chamberlain home, the two storylines converge almost immediately, and the ensuing narrative juxtaposes Eric’s growing relationship with Victoria and Mallory’s increasing sense of comfort with living and working for the Chamberlains. Victoria and her mother are instantly imperious and condescending to her, but Mr. Chamberlain himself is the soul of kindness, even offering to pay for her to return to school. The background tension stretching through the book's middle section—“Had she really escaped? Would she be strong enough to make this work?”—is reflected in Mallory’s dealings with Victoria, and in her own emotions as her attraction for Eric grows. Patterson skillfully weaves these lines together, bringing Mallory and Eric closer despite every obstacle they encounter. The author has a weakness for making these barriers one-dimensional—Victoria and her mother are cartoon villains, for instance—but the emotions depicted throughout the novel are touchingly realized, and the undertones of Christian faith are subtly handled.

An inspirational novel about hard-won love finding its truth path.

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64669-038-1

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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