Next book

EVERY KIND OF WANTING

Fans of Frangello’s work will enjoy this intricate portrait of the connections between an immigrant Latino family and...

A twisted novel of family—the kinds we’re stuck with and the kinds we make—which poses big questions about love, fidelity, and parenthood.

Told in the voices of four characters involved in an ambitious fertility scheme, Frangello's (A Life in Men, 2014, etc.) novel catalogs the interconnected lives and marriages of four Chicago couples. There’s Lina, a former stripper contemplating leaving her longtime lover, Bebe—an academic “femi-nazi” and dom—for a wastrel playwright. Her brother, Miguel, is haunted by their abusive childhood in Caracas and afraid of failing at fatherhood despite the support of his well-to-do husband, Chad. Before long, the Guerra siblings become drawn into the world of white privilege exemplified by Chad’s WASPy, upper-crust family, including his vulnerable sister, Gretchen. When Gretchen agrees to donate her eggs to Chad and Miguel so they can raise a longed-for baby, she unwittingly sets off a chain of events that will detonate crisis after family crisis. Poor Gretchen is gaslit by her grasping and abusive husband, Troy, all the while distrusting the intentions of Chad and Miguel’s surrogate, Emily, a high school friend of Miguel’s whose home life is crumbling around her. As the characters reveal where their true loyalties lie—with their spouses or lovers, the families they have or the ones they long for—Frangello’s novel begins to fray at the seams of her ambitious plot. With a surfeit of melodrama, it can be hard to discern where the emotional center of Frangello’s narratives lies. The complicated viper’s nest of the “community baby” receives the bulk of her attention, while glimpses into the Guerras’ painful family secrets offer the possibility of greater depth. Still, this novel boldly attempts to address the intricacies of immigration, race, class, and sexuality that shape the contemporary American family—even if the plot raises more questions than it answers.

Fans of Frangello’s work will enjoy this intricate portrait of the connections between an immigrant Latino family and moneyed North Shore magnates.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61902-722-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Next book

THE NIGHTINGALE

Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.

Hannah’s new novel is an homage to the extraordinary courage and endurance of Frenchwomen during World War II.

In 1995, an elderly unnamed widow is moving into an Oregon nursing home on the urging of her controlling son, Julien, a surgeon. This trajectory is interrupted when she receives an invitation to return to France to attend a ceremony honoring passeurs: people who aided the escape of others during the war. Cut to spring, 1940: Viann has said goodbye to husband Antoine, who's off to hold the Maginot line against invading Germans. She returns to tending her small farm, Le Jardin, in the Loire Valley, teaching at the local school and coping with daughter Sophie’s adolescent rebellion. Soon, that world is upended: The Germans march into Paris and refugees flee south, overrunning Viann’s land. Her long-estranged younger sister, Isabelle, who has been kicked out of multiple convent schools, is sent to Le Jardin by Julien, their father in Paris, a drunken, decidedly unpaternal Great War veteran. As the depredations increase in the occupied zone—food rationing, systematic looting, and the billeting of a German officer, Capt. Beck, at Le Jardin—Isabelle’s outspokenness is a liability. She joins the Resistance, volunteering for dangerous duty: shepherding downed Allied airmen across the Pyrenees to Spain. Code-named the Nightingale, Isabelle will rescue many before she's captured. Meanwhile, Viann’s journey from passive to active resistance is less dramatic but no less wrenching. Hannah vividly demonstrates how the Nazis, through starvation, intimidation and barbarity both casual and calculated, demoralized the French, engineering a community collapse that enabled the deportations and deaths of more than 70,000 Jews. Hannah’s proven storytelling skills are ideally suited to depicting such cataclysmic events, but her tendency to sentimentalize undermines the gravitas of this tale.

Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-57722-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Next book

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

Close Quickview