A charming tale sure to delight book lovers.



Raised on Edith Wharton and Sherlock Holmes novels, shy Ava Gallanter has found a home as the librarian for the eccentric and dusty Lazarus Club. Nestled amid vintage furniture and books, she's hoping to finally write her own 18th-century novel.

Unfortunately, so far her characters simply stare out of windows and at the floor. Ava realizes she has to make something happen not only for her fictional Agustin and Anastasia, but also for herself. Luckily, her vivacious friend Stephanie returns to town, spies a hidden door in Ava’s library, and the two discover a secret room. Hoping to shake off her Nebraska roots and gain some glamour, Stephanie convinces Ava to renovate the room and open a private literary club. Entranced by the possibilities, Ava eagerly christens the salon The Little Clan, in honor of her beloved Proust, but Stephanie renames it The House of Mirth despite Ava's warnings that the name will bring bad luck. The hidden room turns out to be the perfect place to host parties straight out of The Great Gatsby. Funding is a problem precariously dependent on Stephanie's ability to mesmerize venture capitalists who may someday bring in the necessary funds—and until then, Ava can rack up debt on her very first credit card. Soon enough Ava has fallen for Ben—a talented artist Stephanie convinces to build a beautiful bar for the club but never pays—and the parties arouse the ire of the Lazarus Club’s elderly members. Debut novelist Cohen has concocted a delightful domestic drama: Enigmatic Ben, irrepressible Stephanie, and lots of quirky characters surround Ava, whose mind is a fascinating place to visit as she learns to bring her love for all things literary into a world of shallow readers.

A charming tale sure to delight book lovers.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7783-1282-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Park Row Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?



A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

Did you like this book?