The suicide of a Polish expatriate in mid-century London leads to an investigation of treachery and heroism during the WW II Warsaw uprising, and then to past-Nazi nastiness in sunny California, in this latest from the prolific Egleton (A Different Drummer, etc.). The body of Polish resistance hero Stefan Zagorski, plus its attached 50-pound bag of cement that dropped through the roof of a stolen convertible, did more than interrupt the coitus of the parked pair of London lowlifes. Mr. Zagorski's pocket contained an envelope addressed to one Michael Kimber in Salisbury, with a letter accusing Mr. Kimber, among others, of betrayal just before the Russian takeover of Poland. The guiltless Kimber, now an employee of Britain's military-intelligence office, is ordered to nip off to Germany to find out what Zagorski had on his mind and to clean up any mess before the Americans, already unhappy about Burgess, Maclean, and Philby, get the idea that they have something new to worry about with their cousins. Kimber's inquiries concentrate on the beautiful Polish woman with whom he worked during the war, as well as on a handful of greedy, art-snatching Nazis who knew more than they should have about the leadership of the resistance. Odd. The people he questions seem to die ghastly deaths soon after he visits them, which is disconcerting for Kimber. Harrowing scenes of wartime Poland, together with Egleton's complex and credible characters, are for the most part enough to atone for an exasperatingly muddled plot.

Pub Date: July 24, 1991

ISBN: 0-312-05887-X

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1991

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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