Fans of romantic beach reads will find that this book’s charismatic heroine makes it an engrossing page-turner.

READ REVIEW

Waiting for Ethan

Almost 20 years after a psychic predicted she would marry a man named Ethan, a woman ready to give up on love meets the man of her dreams in Barnes’ debut novel.

Gina’s childhood friend, Neesha Patel, has a grandmother, Ajee, who’s reputed to have a psychic “gift.” She correctly predicted, for example, that Gina would break her arm and take a trip to Italy and that Neesha would move away from their town before the two girls started high school. “Her predictions came true too many times,” as Neesha puts it—except for one, in which Ajee foresaw that Gina would marry a man named Ethan. Gina, now 36, still hasn’t found this Ethan, and she faces pressure from her aging parents, who think that Ajee ruined her life with her prediction. After a blizzard strands Gina in her car, her serendipitous rescue by a man named Ethan Gregory seems to signal the end of her wait. Then she finds out that Ethan comes with some unexpected baggage, and although she’s desperate to live out Ajee’s prophecy and start a family, she thinks that this man might not be the one that the old woman predicted after all. Barnes’ charming protagonist is likable and relatable and well-supported by her two best friends—co-worker Luci Corrigan Chin and Neesha, whom Gina contacts following Ajee’s death even though the two haven’t spoken in almost 20 years. The author weaves these complex friendships into the narrative, giving extra dimension to what might have otherwise been a flat courtship story. She combines elements of romance and suspense as she slowly unravels Gina’s destiny, throwing in the dashing character of Cooper Allen, Gina’s co-worker, to complicate her relationship with Ethan. The novel’s surprising twist gives the story a satisfying conclusion that makes Gina’s struggle to find Mr. Right worth the wait.

Fans of romantic beach reads will find that this book’s charismatic heroine makes it an engrossing page-turner.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61650-789-3

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Lyrical Shine

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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THE GIVER OF STARS

Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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