An impressively well-researched tale of an important but unjustly neglected intellectual figure.



A historical novel dramatizes the life of a famous 18th-century mathematician.

While growing up in Milan, Maria Gaetana Agnesi shows signs of prodigious intellectual talent at a remarkably early age—by the time she is 5, she is fluent in three languages and demonstrates an extraordinary aptitude for mathematics. Maria’s brilliance becomes a matter of intense public interest, especially since her father, Pietro, pushes her to become a renowned symbol of female intellectual achievement. But at the height of her fame—she even entertains Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI—she becomes physically depleted and finally severely ill, worn out from a relentless schedule of study and public appearances. In addition, she suffers from a dearth of purpose—friendless and unmarried, she finds that her intellectual accomplishments do not help her understand her feelings of sadness. Martin meticulously documents not only Maria’s genius as a mathematician, but also her struggle to find meaning in her life beneath her ceaseless labors. In 1748, she finally publishes a mathematical treatise, Analytical Institutions for the Use of Italian Youth, that is so impressive it earns her a professorship in mathematics and physics at the University of Bologna; she becomes only the second woman ever to be awarded such a position. The author focuses on the first half of Maria’s life—her years as a child prodigy and her maturation into a celebrated mathematician—and devotes comparatively little attention to her later interest in theological speculations and charitable work. But he insightfully renders the tension between intellectual success and moral purpose that plagues Maria. Furthermore, he casts a clarifying light on the challenges even a woman of Maria’s virtuosic abilities and wealth faces in the 18th century. This is an engrossing portrayal of a major mathematician and the prohibitions of the time over which she triumphs.

An impressively well-researched tale of an important but unjustly neglected intellectual figure.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2022

ISBN: 9781947431478

Page Count: 332

Publisher: Mentoris Project

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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