An often charming, if lightweight, tale with memorable characters and a tender love story.

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No Greater Love

When a Turkish immigrant and a Dutch psychiatrist fall in love, a devastating diagnosis threatens to separate them forever in Field’s (Lattices of Love, 2015, etc.) latest romance.

On a cold winter night in western New York, psychiatrist Pieter Bentinck heads toward a liquor store looking for a bottle of premium Dutch gin for his mentor, Dr. Carl Ahren. There, he encounters a woman whose striking beauty leaves him breathless. Upon arriving at Carl’s home, Pieter discovers that the mysterious woman frequently stays there. Her name is Janan Coers, and Carl’s family adopted her after she was orphaned by an earthquake in her native Turkey. Pieter and Janan have both given up on finding love, but they feel a connection to each other that’s soon tested when Pieter is diagnosed with leukemia. On the eve of his return to Amsterdam, they spend an evening together, during which Pieter tempts Janan with eight tantalizing kisses. Later, she faces a dilemma when she learns she’s pregnant with twins. When Carl decides to return to his home country, he makes an offer that would provide security for Janan and the babies. But her choice could put a future with Pieter at risk. Field’s fast-paced romance features a compelling central love story and well-developed protagonists; their relationship develops quickly but never seems forced or contrived. But a promising subplot involving one of the supporting characters needs more detail. Although Carl drives much of the narrative, his story is less successful; he’s a Dutch Jew who was sent to America prior to the outbreak of World War II, and he’s struggling to reclaim his family’s home and fortune and concerned about the motives of his great-nephew, Arnold. However, it’s unclear whether Arnold truly has ulterior motives, as he’s only mentioned in passing.

An often charming, if lightweight, tale with memorable characters and a tender love story.

Pub Date: March 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68921-077-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2016

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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