A highly charged romance with plenty of intrigue and danger.

THE PINK BLANKET

Ady’s debut novel explores the intricacies of moving on from an abusive marriage.

As the story opens, Taya Logan is having a paralyzing nightmare—one of many stemming from the domestic abuse she endured at the hands of her violent husband, Nate, whom she escaped months ago. Soon after her return to Chicago from Italy, she meets and becomes smitten with entrepreneur Jonathen Tate, “Chicago’s top successful bachelor,” and he soon falls for her. He recently experienced a bitter divorce, but he’s anxious to rediscover love and commitment, and he quickly considers Taya to be “a drug I’m addicted to....One, I can’t get enough of.” However, the threat of Taya’s abusive spouse is ever present, and when Nate eventually appears, the melodrama hits its highest notes. Readers will be swept up in Ady’s suspenseful narrative right from the start, and the author does an impressive job of getting inside Nate’s mind as well, showing him to be a very troubled, very powerful, and highly manipulative man. Things get more complicated when Jonathen’s ex-wife, who also has ties to Nate, joins the fray. Ady’s prose, as filtered through Taya’s and Jonathen’s alternating perspectives, can be lushly evocative, but it’s sometimes awash in adverbs, overly expository, and excessively descriptive. Although the novel as a whole is somewhat overlong, fans of romantic suspense will still embrace its over-the-top aspects. Overall, it’s an engrossing story of a battered woman trying to reclaim her life and find true love, and it features characters of impressive authenticity and emotional depth.

A highly charged romance with plenty of intrigue and danger.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5255-4519-1

Page Count: 409

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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