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SO LONG AS WE'RE TOGETHER

A touching exploration of two sisters pulled by the past.

A middle-aged songwriter reconsiders her life in Burgess' tender, sharply observed novel.

Marley Stone, who has been writing hit songs for her twin sister, Andi, a country music star, for more than 20 years, is beginning to wonder whether she can do it any longer. After breaking up with her boyfriend of six years, she heads north from Seattle to the cabin in the woods where she and Andi lived with their flighty, determined mother, Donna, and where Donna has recently, and mysteriously, killed herself by stepping into the nearby lake with rocks sewn into her pockets. Intending to clear out both the cabin and her mind, Marley finds her life complicated by her old high school boyfriend, recently and possibly only temporarily separated from his wife, and by an abusive man from her past who has begun stalking her. At the same time, she tries to solve the mystery of a letter her uncle claims Donna received from the father Marley and Andi never knew. Burgess crams more action and characters into a weekend than it can comfortably handle—particularly by the time Andi and the majority of her high school class show up at a bar—and the male characters tend to be one-dimensionally good or evil, but the relationship between the twins is believably complex. Even Donna, who could easily have become the stereotypically unhinged mom, is intriguingly complicated, unknowable to the end. Burgess evokes both Seattle and the Idaho countryside in sensuous detail and effortlessly weaves the process of music-making into the story.

A touching exploration of two sisters pulled by the past.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64437-135-0

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Black Opal

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

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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