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SISTER STARDUST

A provocative story about youth culture during the 1960s, overflowing with sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

A small-town British girl relocates to London, where she gets involved with a fast crowd that introduces her to psychedelic drugs, free love, and complicated questions.

In 1960s England, Claire Collins has long yearned to leave rural Dorset and build a bigger life full of glamour. When her widowed father remarries, her desire to hit the road only intensifies. After a particularly nasty fight with her stepmother, Claire boards the first train to London with little more than pocket money and determination. After a dicey beginning, she finds lodging in a hostel and a job working as a shopgirl. Then she meets John McKenna, a young man with connections to the burgeoning British music scene. Before long, John is introducing Claire to one celebrity after another, well-known musicians and famous groupies. On a whim, Claire’s new famous friends bring her to Morocco, where she meets Talitha Getty, the wife of enormously wealthy Paul Getty. As Claire falls under the dizzying spell of riches and nonstop parties, she tries everything her new friends offer her, from LSD to opium and orgies. The more deeply entrenched she becomes, the more she begins to wonder whether the new life she’s created for herself contains more pitfalls than prizes. Chock-full of vibrant historical details about London and Morocco in the 1960s, Green’s first foray into historical fiction does not disappoint. The novel shines brightest when Claire, who narrates, first arrives in London and again when she forms her initial impressions of Morocco. Green portrays the scenery and atmosphere so vividly that readers will be instantly transported. The descriptions of Marrakech, with its bright colors and beautiful architecture, present an especial sensory delight. While Claire seems to believe the story she tells is about Talitha, the narrative is really about an average girl’s brief brush with fame during an unprecedented time, tackling difficult questions of self-doubt, fulfillment, and individual purpose—complete with cameo appearances by Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and a host of others.

A provocative story about youth culture during the 1960s, overflowing with sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-335-42578-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

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A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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HAPPY PLACE

A wistfully nostalgic look at endings, beginnings, and loving the people who will always have your back.

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Exes pretend they’re still together for the sake of their friends on their annual summer vacation.

Wyn Connor and Harriet Kilpatrick were the perfect couple—until Wyn dumped Harriet for reasons she still doesn’t fully understand. They’ve been part of the same boisterous friend group since college, and they know that their breakup will devastate the others and make things more than a little awkward. So they keep it a secret from their friends and families—in fact, Harriet barely even admits it to herself, focusing instead on her grueling hours as a surgical resident. She’s ready for a vacation at her happy place—the Maine cottage she and her friends visit every summer. But (surprise!) Wyn is there too, and he and Harriet have to share a (very romantic) room and a bed. Telling the truth about their breakup is out of the question, because the cottage is up for sale, and this is the group’s last hurrah. Determined to make sure everyone has the perfect last trip, Harriet and Wyn resolve to fake their relationship for the week. The problem with this plan, of course, is that Harriet still has major feelings for Wyn—feelings that only get stronger as they pretend to be blissfully in love. As always, Henry’s dialogue is sparkling and the banter between characters is snappy and hilarious. Wyn and Harriet’s relationship, shown both in the past and the present, feels achingly real. Their breakup, as well as their complicated relationships with their own families, adds a twinge of melancholy, as do the relatable growing pains of a group of friends whose lives are taking them in different directions.

A wistfully nostalgic look at endings, beginnings, and loving the people who will always have your back.

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 9780593441275

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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