THE FORBIDDEN GARDEN

Bewitching romance ripe for even more sequels.

The dead Shakespeare Garden on Graham Kirkwood’s ancestral English estate may well be cursed, and a preternaturally gifted gardener from New England could be his last hope.

Herrick (The Sparrow Sisters, 2015) returns to tell a second tale about the Sparrow Sisters and their magical gardens. Able to nurture any plant to flourishing beauty, as well as to heal any ache through their skilled tinctures, the sisters are the empathetic healers of Granite Point on the New England coast. Sorrel, the eldest sister, is still reeling from the tribulations of last summer, when her sister Patience was accused of causing the death of a young boy. The townspeople turned against the sisters, wrecking their nursery and sowing hate. Patience may have been acquitted and the town may have once again embraced its quirky hedgewitches and apothecaries, but Sorrel remains angry. The invitation to heal the ruined Kirkwood garden comes at a most opportune time. Once in England, however, Sorrel discovers not only a devastated garden, but also a broken man: the dashing Andrew Warburton, an Anglican priest whose faith in God and woman has fractured under the weight of a broken relationship. As love blossoms between Sorrel and Andrew, however, the garden’s curse looms darkly. A mysterious series of tapestries depicts a gruesome crime committed by one of the family’s patriarchs, and although several clues have been embroidered into the fabric, the final panel is missing, along with a diary kept by the patriarch’s long-suffering wife. As Sorrel delves into the soil, even more toxic secrets come to light—secrets that may endanger her life. Herrick spins a charming tale, deftly marrying dark Gothic elements to bright romance. She even titles each chapter with the name of a plant in the Shakespeare Garden, using the language of flowers—from “primula,” presaging new love, to “willow” for mourning—to deepen her spell.

Bewitching romance ripe for even more sequels.

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249995-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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