In Overholt’s historical mystery, a young female doctor in early-20th-century New York must solve a bloody murder for which she feels partially responsible.

In 1905 Dr. Genevieve Summerford finished third in her class at John Hopkins only to have her father disapprove of her decision to run a psychology research class for women with emotional trauma—a concerted effort in an emerging field to help people better their lives and prove that thoughts and feelings can influence body functions and health. Eliza Miner, a woman in Genevieve’s study group, confides that she’d had a baby as a teenager that was taken from her by her doctor. Discussing the incident and options of confronting the doctor regarding the location of the now 20-year-old child, Genevieve’s advice is misconstrued, and the following day the doctor is found brutally murdered—with Eliza standing over him covered in blood. Desperate to prove the innocence of her patient, find the real killer and salve her guilt for the inadvertent part she may have played, Genevieve must overcome a mountain of circumstantial evidence, confront a very powerful and influential family and subvert the stubbornness of the investigating officer who refuses to look any further than Eliza Miner. When Genevieve runs into Simon Shaw, a sordid reminder of her painful past, she realizes that the man who broke her heart may be the only one who can give her hope. Genevieve’s story is compelling, from her difficult childhood that encompasses the travesty of bearing the blame for the death of her younger brother to the tragedy of losing her innocence to a naive teenage indiscretion, with both bearing equal weight of guilt. Though she longs for the acceptance and forgiveness of her father, Genevieve’s unwavering determination to her profession allows her to remain steadfast and true. Replete with formal gowns and annual winter balls, Overholt’s novel successfully captures the feel and tone of 20th-century New York in a deeply pleasing, nostalgically modern way. A solid plot pulls the reader in with little effort, while strong, flowing prose and captivating characters provide the incentive to remain to the very last page. In Dr. Genevieve Summerford, Overholt has beautifully rendered a symbol of strength and perseverance in a time of severe gender bias. A well-paced, 20th-century whodunit full of dark secrets and fascinating intrigue that easily keeps pace with 21st-century standards.


Pub Date: Jan. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0984841301

Page Count: 454

Publisher: Copper Bottom

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2011

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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