by Helen Benedict ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 10, 2017
The “very long reach of war” transcends generations.
Three women struggle to heal after the trauma of war.
Novelist and award-winning journalist Benedict (Sand Queen, 2011, etc.) continues her focus on the Iraq War, the theme of her previous novel, in a bleak, affecting tale set in a cheerless town in upstate New York. The story begins in August, when the air is sticky, the sky ominous, and a life-changing hurricane is about to arrive. “It smells wrong,” 9-year-old Juney says. Juney, who's blind, is the daughter of Rin Drummond, a single mother who served in Iraq, where her husband was killed. As a sergeant, she was called Dragon Drummond, “tough as boot leather and mean as a rattrap,” qualities now intensified by rage. Surrounding her home with fences and barbed wire, she arms herself with rifles, M4 carbines, and an ample supply of ammunition; and she raises three wolves, wild creatures with an instinct for self-protection like her own. At the local Veterans Affairs hospital, Rin encounters Naema, who was a medical student in Sand Queen and now is a pediatrician. Naema has a facial scar from shrapnel, surface evidence of deep emotional wounds: her husband, because he was an interpreter for the American Army, was “atomized into a cloud of blood” by a bomb that also took off half the leg of her young son, Tariq. After fleeing from Iraq and spending years as a refugee, Naema sees her work for the VA as an effort “to undo the war” by healing children hurt “by this terrible inhumanity.” The novel’s third protagonist is Beth, the wife of a Marine who has served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving Beth to raise their rebellious son by herself. Lonely, Beth turns to drink to numb her pain; the war infuses every moment of these women’s lives. Benedict creates a tender friendship between Tariq and Juney; although they, too, are victims of war, they have emerged as loving, intuitive, and wise. Their kindness toward one another is a rare glimmer of light in a desolate landscape.The “very long reach of war” transcends generations.
Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017
Page Count: 320
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
Review Posted Online: July 16, 2017
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017
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by Colleen Hoover ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 18, 2014
Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson.
Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty.Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.
Pub Date: March 18, 2014
Page Count: 384
Review Posted Online: May 6, 2014
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by Kristin Hannah ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 3, 2015
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
Page Count: 448
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014
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