Much livelier than Smith’s first (Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch, 2001). Great title and fabulous cover art will have readers...



Rowdy southern feminist fantasy for women of a certain age.

The Mademoiselles, members of a high-school social club in 1960s Atlanta, have gone their separate ways, but some of them stayed the best of friends, morphing in middle age into the Red Hat Club. They meet for lunch (wearing red hats, of course) and dish the dirt. Here’s the latest: Diane’s husband Harold is probably cheating on her with a floozy. Sister Red Hats Georgia, Teeny, Linda, and SuSu swing into action. With the exception of Linda, happily married to a nice urologist who adores her, they’ve endured hellish divorces themselves, or they’re still married and running scared. The worldwide oversupply of avaricious bimbos is a constant worry to these once-loyal wives and mothers, who are determined to see to it that Harold gets his comeuppance. Diane begins to follow a paper trail, finding and copying documents that prove beyond a doubt he is hiding income and maintaining a hidden love nest—definitely not proper behavior for a distinguished southern banker. Adding taped phone calls and secret computer files to the stash of incriminating evidence can’t hurt. Sisterhood is powerful, and the Red Hats already know how to get themselves out of trouble before they get into it. Brief segues to fond reminiscences of their teenage selves, complete with heartthrobs, embarrassing parents, and physical changes, and then it’s back to the chase: Linda’s urologist husband confides that some of his male patients have come in with embarrassing minor injuries, thanks to a mysterious dominatrix who likes hurting men so much she does it for free. News flash: the unknown woman may be a former Mademoiselle! Will Harold be the next to get spanked?

Much livelier than Smith’s first (Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch, 2001). Great title and fabulous cover art will have readers reaching for it.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2003

ISBN: 0-312-31693-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2003

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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