A laudable story with robust female characters and skillfully woven themes of race and gender.

CITY IN A FOREST

Two women with strong ties to historic land in Atlanta fight to prevent a developer from building luxury condos on the site in this debut drama.

Arden Collier lives in Silver Park, which her grandfather set up years ago. Due to its significance to the African American community, the land has been designated for historic preservation. Regardless, Buddy Caldwell, a developer, plans to build a six-story condominium complex in Silver Park. Not surprisingly, Arden refuses to sell her property to Caldwell, who tries to convince the county to seize it under eminent domain. But 52-year-old Parker Gozer owns much of the land in Silver Lake, as her father, Foster, who “built half of Atlanta,” left it to her. She’s a public relations director for a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., but is currently in Atlanta on business. She likewise has no interest in selling to Caldwell or even being in his company. He once worked for her father and, 10 years Parker’s senior, took advantage of her when she was barely a teen. Arden will get her chance to argue against the condo development at an upcoming summons hearing. But it will be a battle to keep her home, even with her childhood friend Parker on her side. Pinholster steeps her novel in absorbing subplots. Arden, for example, is an artist struggling financially, as critics tore apart her last show, while Parker works long hours to support her family, putting a strain on her marriage to Beamer. Instances of sexism and racism are apparent but not blatantly so. Caldwell is guilty of both, as it seems he wants the advocacy of the summons hearing chairperson solely because she’s a woman of color. Many of the men are unfortunately one-dimensional, including Parker’s relentlessly condescending boss, who calls her “Parky,” and likable but flighty Beamer, whose phone is typically off despite his wife’s hours-long daily commute. On the other hand, Arden and Parker are astute and tenacious, aided by an often witty narrative. Parker resists the urge to fingernail-slash Caldwell in order to retain “a perfectly good manicure.”

A laudable story with robust female characters and skillfully woven themes of race and gender.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68433-318-9

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: July 9, 2019

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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