An absorbing, restorative tale of community and nature.

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An introverted animal lover gets drawn into an anti-development fight in this literary novel.

Lizzy isn’t the biggest fan of people, but she loves animals. An inveterate adopter of strays, she’s amassed a small herd of cats and dogs at her farmhouse. She’s just had to put down her favorite companion, her beloved basset hound, Happy. The death has consumed a lot of her emotional energy, leaving little left over to dedicate to the impending development of nearby Bartons Mill Pond. Russ Henderson, a friend from her activism-centered past, calls her, asking for help blocking the new homes planned for the pond, which abuts Lizzy’s property. “Lizzy, I know you hate the idea of a major subdivision out there,” he says. “Yes,” she responds, “but you also know I’ve given up fighting the world. It doesn’t budge.” Even so, Lizzy finds herself pulled into the cause as well as into the lives of two area boys: Jonas Meyers, a 16-year-old loner who loves to walk through the countryside, and Timmy Donohue, a 10-year-old paperboy struggling with questions of morality. These humans are slightly more complex than the critters Lizzy is used to dealing with, but is there a chance that their presence in her life can draw her closer to the world she’s written off? Silverfine’s prose is earthy and elegant, adept at animating both her characters and the natural world that captivates them. Here, Timmy comes across Jonas on the roadside and asks him what he’s looking at: “Without breaking his skyward gaze, Jonas replied, ‘The moon. And Venus.’ ‘I like when the moon is just a sliver, when you can barely see it but you know the whole moon is there. You can sort of see the dark part of the moon tonight. Venus is really bright.’ ” The story is well paced and the characters are deftly rendered, but it’s the sense of space that the author manages to embody—indoors and outdoors, country and town, and all the areas in between—that imbues the book with its alluring readability. The plot unfolds slowly and without much fanfare, yet readers will immediately be along for the ride—well, less a ride than a solitary stroll down a quiet country lane.

An absorbing, restorative tale of community and nature.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68433-821-4

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021


A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Truth and deception clash in this tale of the Holocaust.

Udo Graf is proud that the Wolf has assigned him the task of expelling all 50,000 Jews from Salonika, Greece. In that city, Nico Krispis is an 11-year-old Jewish boy whose blue eyes and blond hair deceive, but whose words do not. Those who know him know he has never told a lie in his life—“Never be the one to tell lies, Nico,” his grandfather teaches him. “God is always watching.” Udo and Nico meet, and Udo decides to exploit the child’s innocence. At the train station where Jews are being jammed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, Udo gives Nico a yellow star to wear and persuades him to whisper among the crowd, “I heard it from a German officer. They are sending us to Poland. We will have new homes. And jobs.” The lad doesn’t know any better, so he helps persuade reluctant Jews to board the train to hell. “You were a good little liar,” Udo later tells Nico, and delights in the prospect of breaking the boy’s spirit, which is more fun and a greater challenge than killing him outright. When Nico realizes the horrific nature of what he's done, his truth-telling days are over. He becomes an inveterate liar about everything. Narrating the story is the Angel of Truth, whom according to a parable God had cast out of heaven and onto earth, where Truth shattered into billions of pieces, each to lodge in a human heart. (Obviously, many hearts have been missed.) Truth skillfully weaves together the characters, including Nico; his brother, Sebastian; Sebastian’s wife, Fannie; and the “heartless deceiver” Udo. Events extend for decades beyond World War II, until everyone’s lives finally collide in dramatic fashion. As Truth readily acknowledges, his account is loaded with twists and turns, some fortuitous and others not. Will Nico Krispis ever seek redemption? And will he find it? Author Albom’s passion shows through on every page in this well-crafted novel.

A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9780062406651

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


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

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