An affecting portrait of the region and its residents, filled with love and pride.

On Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a hardworking single mom turns just-about-nothing into a rich life for her 10-year-old daughter.

As Airgood's fourth novel opens, Laurel Hill has to work an extra shift at the motel where she cleans rooms, disrupting plans to watch the Perseid meteor shower with her young daughter, Skye, who is home alone waiting—an ongoing situation which will have grave consequences later in the story. Laurel is from a local family with deep roots in the fictional but archetypal small town of Gallion on Lake Superior, but her musician mother lost the homestead where Laurel grew up to the bank. Now that place is being run by another couple as a B&B, and the threadbare life Laurel has made for herself and her daughter cleaning toilets and living in a bleak one-room rental is about to give way. Perhaps Laurel's grit, optimism, and refusal to take help from others make her a bit of a cliché, and perhaps Skye is the most perfect 10-year-old that ever lived—none of that will stop most readers from falling in love with them. And they are hardly the only characters with problems. Laurel's lifelong best friend is in an abusive relationship, her ex-boyfriend is a veteran with PTSD, a new friend has lost both a daughter and a granddaughter, a wealthier woman's marriage falls apart after her husband has brain surgery. "Better times are just around the corner," Laurel brightly assures her daughter. "Have you ever noticed how you always say that," replies Skye, "but then the corner moves?" The corner will move many more times as their story unfolds. Late in the novel, a well-meaning schoolteacher tries to convince Laurel not to move yet again, telling her "you are her home." That's nice, thinks Laurel, but this woman "had no idea what it was like, being them." Fortunately, Airgood does.

An affecting portrait of the region and its residents, filled with love and pride.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-399-16336-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021


A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.

Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.

A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-778-38608-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022


The writing is inspired, the imaginative power near mystic, but some will wish for more plot.

This historical fever dream of a novel follows the flight of a servant girl through the Colonial American wilderness, red in tooth and claw.

As in her last novel, Matrix (2021), Groff’s imaginative journey into a distant time and place is powered by a thrumming engine of language and rhythm. “She had chosen to flee, and in so choosing, she had left behind her everything she had, her roof, her home, her country, her language, the only family she had ever known, the child Bess, who had been born into her care when she was herself a small child of four years or so, her innocence, her understanding of who she was, her dreams of who she might one day be if only she could survive this starving time." Those onrushing sentences will follow the girl, “sixteen or seventeen or perhaps eighteen years of age,” through the wilderness surrounding the desperate colony, driven by famine and plague into barbarism, through the territory of “the powhatan and pamunkey” to what she hopes will be “the settlements of frenchmen, canada,” a place she once saw pointed out on a map. The focus is on the terrors of survival, the exigencies of starvation, the challenges of locomotion, the miseries of a body wounded, infected, and pushed beyond its limit. What plot there is centers on learning the reason for her flight and how it will end, but the book must be read primarily for its sentences and the light it shines on the place of humans in the order of the world. Whether she is eating baby birds and stealing the fluff from the mother’s nest to line her boots, having a little tea party with her meager trove of possessions, temporarily living inside a tree trunk that comes with a pantry full of grubs (spiders prove less tasty), or finally coming to rest in a way neither she nor we can foresee, immersion in the girl’s experience provides a virtual vacation from civilization that readers may find deeply satisfying.

The writing is inspired, the imaginative power near mystic, but some will wish for more plot.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9780593418390

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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