An often strong story of the grieving process.

FROM I-80 TO GALWAY BAY

SEARCHING FOR AN EXIT

In Christie’s debutnovel, two very different people form an unlikely bond after a tragic event.

Adam Connor is a middle-aged husband and father with graying hair and a lackluster job. When he sees a car wrecked on the side of the highway on Christmas morning, he feels compelled to stop and help the people inside—an intuitive decision that will change the course of his life. When 28-year-old Addie Harris wakes up a week later, she’s told that her husband, who was in the car with her, is dead and that a good Samaritan gave her CPR and saved her life. After she recovers, she decides to try to find the person who helped her in order to get closure and try to move on. Christie’s novel effectively highlights the different coping mechanisms Adam and Addie use after the traumatic event; Adam, who never had a drink in his life before the accident, develops alcoholism, and Addie, who’d been monogamous for many years, seeks solace in casual sex. This novel deals with how the characters move through the stages of grief, from denial to acceptance. But will they ever be able to forgive themselves? Christie’s tale features some generic components of mysteries and thrillers, but its plot offers several surprising twists. Its main theme, however, is how one copes with tragedy and learns how to live again, as shown in Adam and Addie’s separate arcs. They’re not always likable people, and although they have their flaws, Christie manages to make them both sympathetic. The text jumps between the main players’ third-person perspectives and also provides insight into secondary characters along the way. It’s not always satisfying in its characterization, though; one character close to Addie, for instance, starts out as a villain and seems to grow into a better person later on––only to become a villain again. This narrative choice has the effect of inhibiting Addie’s progress as well, as she’s never given the chance to forgive or even understand this person.

An often strong story of the grieving process.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9862898-7-3

Page Count: 413

Publisher: Gracehill Press

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2021

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For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.

THE FOUR WINDS

The miseries of the Depression and Dust Bowl years shape the destiny of a Texas family.

“Hope is a coin I carry: an American penny, given to me by a man I came to love. There were times in my journey when I felt as if that penny and the hope it represented were the only things that kept me going.” We meet Elsa Wolcott in Dalhart, Texas, in 1921, on the eve of her 25th birthday, and wind up with her in California in 1936 in a saga of almost unrelieved woe. Despised by her shallow parents and sisters for being sickly and unattractive—“too tall, too thin, too pale, too unsure of herself”—Elsa escapes their cruelty when a single night of abandon leads to pregnancy and forced marriage to the son of Italian immigrant farmers. Though she finds some joy working the land, tending the animals, and learning her way around Mama Rose's kitchen, her marriage is never happy, the pleasures of early motherhood are brief, and soon the disastrous droughts of the 1930s drive all the farmers of the area to despair and starvation. Elsa's search for a better life for her children takes them out west to California, where things turn out to be even worse. While she never overcomes her low self-esteem about her looks, Elsa displays an iron core of character and courage as she faces dust storms, floods, hunger riots, homelessness, poverty, the misery of migrant labor, bigotry, union busting, violent goons, and more. The pedantic aims of the novel are hard to ignore as Hannah embodies her history lesson in what feels like a series of sepia-toned postcards depicting melodramatic scenes and clichéd emotions.

For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2501-7860-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY

An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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