A refined and entertaining tale about one determined woman exploring both motherly and romantic love.


A young widow travels to Paris and ends up caring for two recently orphaned American girls in this historical novel.

Lura Grisham is born into wealth and privilege in the late 1800s in Connecticut, but her socio-economic status does not protect her from heartbreak. After marrying her father’s business associate Walter Myer, she conceives a child. But their happiness is cut short when the couple are involved in a carriage accident and Walter and the unborn baby are killed. During her mourning period, Lura decides to take the trip to Paris that she and Walter had always talked about. While sightseeing at the Louvre, Lura notices two young girls without adult supervision and learns that they have been abandoned by their father. With little forethought, Lura takes full responsibility for the children. As she tries to find their father, she meets Joseph Myer, the half brother of her dead husband. Walter had never known about this brother. With help from friends back home and a detective, Lura learns that the girls’ father was a mobster killed in France. She brings the girls back to the United States with the intent to adopt them. Unfortunately, she makes many mistakes while traveling, such as failing to alert the French authorities to their circumstances. As the story unfolds, Lura’s feelings toward Joseph grow complicated, and she also seems increasingly likely to lose custody of the girls. When a representative of the French government shows up at her home in Connecticut, Lura worries the girls may be lost to her forever. Told alternately from the perspectives of Lura and Joseph, Cramer’s novel is chock full of information about Paris, New York, and law enforcement in the late 19th century. With an action-packed plot, the book features several appearances by notable historical figure Louis Brandeis, who is a longtime friend of the main characters and helps with their legal troubles. The author deftly depicts the era’s American and European societal norms. Full of the period’s technological innovations, old-fashioned behavioral strictures, and elegant language, the work provides a perfect balance of mystery, romance, and history.

A refined and entertaining tale about one determined woman exploring both motherly and romantic love.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 301

Publisher: Russian Hill Press

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.


The miseries of the Depression and Dust Bowl years shape the destiny of a Texas family.

“Hope is a coin I carry: an American penny, given to me by a man I came to love. There were times in my journey when I felt as if that penny and the hope it represented were the only things that kept me going.” We meet Elsa Wolcott in Dalhart, Texas, in 1921, on the eve of her 25th birthday, and wind up with her in California in 1936 in a saga of almost unrelieved woe. Despised by her shallow parents and sisters for being sickly and unattractive—“too tall, too thin, too pale, too unsure of herself”—Elsa escapes their cruelty when a single night of abandon leads to pregnancy and forced marriage to the son of Italian immigrant farmers. Though she finds some joy working the land, tending the animals, and learning her way around Mama Rose's kitchen, her marriage is never happy, the pleasures of early motherhood are brief, and soon the disastrous droughts of the 1930s drive all the farmers of the area to despair and starvation. Elsa's search for a better life for her children takes them out west to California, where things turn out to be even worse. While she never overcomes her low self-esteem about her looks, Elsa displays an iron core of character and courage as she faces dust storms, floods, hunger riots, homelessness, poverty, the misery of migrant labor, bigotry, union busting, violent goons, and more. The pedantic aims of the novel are hard to ignore as Hannah embodies her history lesson in what feels like a series of sepia-toned postcards depicting melodramatic scenes and clichéd emotions.

For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2501-7860-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.


An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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