An entertaining, thought-provoking spin on rebooting the mind and heart while in quarantine.

MY DARLIN' QUARANTINE

INTIMATE CONNECTIONS CREATED IN CHAOS

A collection of five vignettes portrays life in the age of Covid-19 quarantines.

In the spring of 2020, arts journalist Stewart, befuddled by the pandemic raging across the globe, laughed “at life’s new absurdities.” As a creative outlet, she began writing humorous tales starring quarantined strangers forced to interact with one another and to ultimately learn more about themselves through the “complexities offered by chaos.” The vignettes imagine a time in August 2020 when a second viral mutation emerges and the government distributes permanently locking bracelets to detect and track the infection. The Forget-Me-Not dive bar is the location for the first story, featuring a discreet regular whose bracelet flashes red and blurts out official warnings. The patrons and staff proceed to drink and become acquainted for their mandatory six-week quarantine. Elsewhere, the situation repeats at the Golden Pin-Up Salon, a gossipy, small-town beauty parlor where the beaming bracelets strike terror in the hearts of a feuding housewife and a distressed colorist. The same bright red beacons flash for other strangers who unexpectedly find themselves quarantining together at a rural Missouri dentist office, a Southern California BMW dealership, and the conference room of a prominent attorney. Once introduced, the heartwarming, character-driven tales progress through short chapter snippets. The cross-section of locales sets the scene for a diverse assortment of characters varying in age, race, and gender—and from all walks of life—who personify differing political persuasions, faiths, and perspectives on life and love. The author leaves no person unaffected or plotline dangling, as all of her players recognize, even if fleetingly, the power of human kindness and self-love. As she demonstrated in her advice book about possessions for parents with millennial children, No Thanks Mom (2017), Stewart exhibits a lust for life and parlays the lessons she’s learned throughout her travels into the engaging storylines of this cornucopia of worthy and addictive characters—with cute line drawings by Brallier included. Amusing and immediately relevant, the collection creates a world mired in uncertainty and turmoil but also a place where people can learn from others and become surprised by their capacity for change.

An entertaining, thought-provoking spin on rebooting the mind and heart while in quarantine.

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9981025-5-9

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Flandricka House Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 61

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME

When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.

Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7134-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

If novelists are auditioning to play God, Hilderbrand gets the part.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 33

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

GOLDEN GIRL

From the greenroom of the afterlife—make that Benjamin Moore "Parsley Snips" green—a newly dead Nantucket novelist watches life unfold without her.

In her 27th novel, Hilderbrand gives herself an alter ego—beloved beach-novel author Vivian Howe—sends her out for a morning jog, and immediately kills her off. A hit-and-run driver leaves Vivi dead by the side of the road, where her son's best friend discovers her body—or was he responsible for the accident? Vivi doesn't know, nor does she know yet that her daughter Willa is pregnant, or that her daughter Carson is having a terribly ill-advised affair, or that her son, Leo, has a gnawing secret, or that her ex is getting tired of the girl he dumped her for. She will discover all this and more as she watches one last summer on Nantucket play out under the tutelage of Martha, her "Person," who receives her in the boho-chic waiting room of the Beyond. Hermès-scarved Martha explains that Vivi will have three nudges—three chances to change the course of events on Earth and prevent her bereaved loved ones from making life-altering mistakes. She will also get to watch the publication of what will be her last novel, titled Golden Girl, natch, and learn the answers to two questions: Will the secret about her own life she buried in this novel come to light (who cares, really—she's dead now), and will it hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list (now there's an interesting question). She'll also get to see that one of her biggest wrongs is posthumously righted and that her kids have learned her most important lesson. As Willa says to Carson, "You know how she treats the characters in her books? She gives them flaws, she portrays them doing horrible things—but the reader loves them anyway. Because Mom loves them. Because they’re human.”

If novelists are auditioning to play God, Hilderbrand gets the part.

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-31642008-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

more