A beautiful setting and intelligent characters grace this tale that proves it’s never too late to fulfill a longtime dream.

Cape May


A New Yorker in her late 50s makes some major changes in her life in this debut novel.

Fifty-nine-year-old Joanna Matthews seems reasonably happy, except for the fact she hates her job as an associate managing editor at a medical education company and is tired of Manhattan. In possession of a small inheritance, she wants to leave the city and fulfill her lifelong dream of running a bed and breakfast. Her husband, freelance accountant Brian, grudgingly agrees to her plan. Months of property visits in New England fail to yield any good prospects, so she decides to direct her search southward. She is captivated by Cape May, New Jersey, even before she visits, and meeting freelance writer Michael, a bona fide aficionado of the town, on the bus ride down turns out to be an unbelievable stroke of luck. He promises to share his extensive knowledge of the seaside resort, and when Brian is delayed in joining her, Joanna accepts Michael’s offer to accompany her on house tours. Not only does Joanna fall in love with a charmingly named bed and breakfast, Tea and Scones, she also finds herself attracted to her helpful tour guide, Michael. Brian shows up moments after Michael and Joanna have shared their first passionate kiss, and her guilt makes her physically ill. Hoping to escape her feelings for Michael by fleeing Cape May, she realizes when she returns to Manhattan how difficult it is to avoid a spouse in a tiny apartment. Joanna nearly allows her self-loathing to destroy three lives before she finally makes a decision about her future. This is women’s fiction that transcends the clichés. Caster, a professional writer, deftly keeps all the characters in the love triangle sympathetic, avoiding the easy solution of creating a villain. Joanna, the least blameless, shows such remorse for the situation she finds herself in that the reader pities her. Caster’s greatest gift lies in the unflinching honesty of her writing—both the characters and the settings. Rather than lauding Manhattan, the author illustrates all the reasons Joanna yearns to leave—the crowds, the tourists, the small apartments. Caster is somewhat less effective in evoking the full charm of Cape May.

A beautiful setting and intelligent characters grace this tale that proves it’s never too late to fulfill a longtime dream.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9966489-0-5

Page Count: 310

Publisher: TDC Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2016

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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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