A bracing mix of emotionally and intellectually honest fantasy.

AHE'EY

In this romantic tale, a champion of women’s empowerment stumbles on a hidden—and seemingly perfect—society.

Morgan Lua, head and founder of the Hope Foundation, has just arrived in New York City. Advocating for girls’ educational success, she’ll be a star attraction at the Girl’s Speak Out conference. The mayor introduces her to Gabriel Warren, head of the philanthropic group Ange’el and her host in New York. While Morgan is entranced by his gorgeous blue-green eyes, she also finds, in his suite at the Pierre Hotel, “no sign of vanity. Everything about him was practical and simple and yet of great quality and taste.” He invites her to a gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but the evening is interrupted by knife-wielding assailants. Gabriel subdues them, later revealing that he’s with the CIA, assigned to protect her from those aligned with the Men’s Rights Defense group and their speaker and presidential candidate, Walter Zanus. Further attacks lead Gabriel to take his protection of Morgan to the utmost—he brings her home to Ahe’ey, the secret realm from which he and his genetically enhanced brethren hail. In Ahe’ey, Morgan discovers stunning, nature-infused architecture and a functioning matriarchy. Yet the more she learns about Gabriel’s world, the less ideal it becomes. In her invigorating fantasy series opener, Le Fay (Ange’el, 2014) flaunts her progressive heart proudly, as when Morgan says citizens need to get “the best out of every young person regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or aptitude.” Zanus, meanwhile, stands in for the actual 45th president of the U.S. in saying of his “pure daughters” that if “they weren’t” mine, “I’d be dating them.” Le Fay also creates a robust mythology surrounding the four tribes of Ahe’ey: the Ange’el, the Ma’asai, the Yi’ingo, and the Hu’urei. Thirty years ago, civil war resulted in the sequestering of these bloodlines, and men are forbidden to rule. Gabriel realizes, however, that their “demise...started the day we designed an unequal society.” His and Morgan’s love proves transformative, and readers should delight in witnessing its repercussions.

A bracing mix of emotionally and intellectually honest fantasy.

Pub Date: April 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-646-96918-3

Page Count: 696

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...

FIREFLY LANE

Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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