A winner for romance and chick-lit fans as well as Anglophiles and geeks.

LONDON, CAN YOU WAIT?

An aspiring playwright copes with her boyfriend’s newfound fame in this sequel.

Twenty-four-year-old Alex Sinclair is the envy of many an English teen. Her boyfriend of nearly two years is 25-year-old heartthrob Mark Keegan, star of the fictional BBC drama Lairds and Liars. Unfortunately, dating a celebrity is not all it’s cracked up to be. As Mark runs himself ragged filming around the globe, their brief reunions are often measured in hours rather than days, and Alex misses the time they were both struggling artists working at the National Theatre. After finding a ring in Mark’s backpack, Alex looks forward to marriage as a remedy to the growing distance between them, but curiously, he doesn’t pop the question. Besides his reluctance to commit, Alex has to deal with trash-talking fans, unflattering tabloid stories, and Mark’s obnoxious agent, Wink. Everything finally boils over after a fateful New Year’s Eve party; Mark’s latest co-star, Fallon Delaney, divulges some incriminating secrets. Alex retreats to her father’s house in Manchester to reconnect with herself and later returns to London with a new lease on life. Here, Middleton (London Belongs to Me, 2016) has mastered chick lit. While the plot is driven by Alex’s love life, her career and personal growth (particularly her mental health) feature just as prominently. Alex’s friends—her fiery “bezzie mate,” Lucy; the ever exuberant Freddie; and his stylish fiance, Simon—are fully fleshed out, with arcs of their own. The settings are vibrant and detailed, giving an accurate snapshot of life in cities like London, Dublin, and New York, complete with nods to the theater scene and fandom culture. The narration is well-crafted, full of seemingly innocuous tidbits that later become significant, raunchy banter between friends, and the kind of sweet nothings that hopeless romantics die for. In the end, it’s ultimately quite rewarding to see Alex come into her own, with or without Mark by her side.

A winner for romance and chick-lit fans as well as Anglophiles and geeks.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9952117-5-9

Page Count: 454

Publisher: Kirkwall Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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