Seaworthy historical fiction at its best.

READ REVIEW

THIS IS THE HOUSE

VOLUME I OF THE KINGSLAND SERIES

An exemplary reissue of Hill’s 1975 historical novel about one woman’s life and loves from the end of the American Revolution to the War of 1812.

After the Revolutionary War leaves Hannah Deems a destitute widow, she has no choice but to accept farmer Seth Adams’ offer to take care of her and her young daughter, Molly. Without the benefit of marriage, Hannah becomes little more than a slave, and Seth’s cruelty compels Hannah to save Molly by sending her to live with a kindly Quaker woman, Elizabeth Warden. Molly thrives as a servant under Mrs. Warden’s care, but when word comes that Hannah has drowned herself, Molly makes a life-changing decision: She will never allow someone else to control her destiny. She sets her sights on handsome young sailor Elijah Merrick, but her mother’s infamous past makes Molly look like damaged goods to potential suitors. Still, Elijah is willing to fight for her honor. But Molly cannot contain her desire for Isaac Warden, Elizabeth’s son, even after she marries Elijah. Molly plays a dangerous game—she may very well lose the one man who showed her the meaning of true love. Hill (House of Kingsley, 1978, etc.) creates a lush, vibrant landscape in post-Revolutionary Cape Cod with historical details that blend seamlessly with the narrative. Molly is a compelling, feisty heroine whose journey from orphan to servant to wife of a sea captain aptly shows how the American Revolution broke down class barriers and made it possible for even the lowest-level citizens to climb the social ladder. Elijah’s voyages offer a revealing glimpse into the perils of American shipping and his determination to succeed as a sea captain epitomizes the American self-made man so espoused by Thomas Jefferson. What compels the reader to turn the page, however, is Molly’s uncompromising will to not only survive but thrive in the midst of her persecution and the country’s upheaval. Though the narrative may drag for some who prefer a faster read, others will enjoy Hill’s slowed pace that allows for full immersion in American maritime history.

Seaworthy historical fiction at its best.

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0984441402

Page Count: 454

Publisher: North Road

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2012

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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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