As she seeks to repair bridges, Cat awakens anger and treachery in the hearts of those she once betrayed. Making amends,...

SUMMER SECRETS

Before sobriety, Catherine "Cat" Coombs had it all: fun friends, an exciting job, and a love affair with alcohol. Until she blacked out one more time and woke up in a stranger’s bed.

By that time, “having it all” had already devolved into hiding the extent of her drinking from everyone she cared about, including herself. Luckily for Cat, the stranger turned out to be Jason Halliwell, a rather delicious television director marking three years, eight months, and 69 days of sobriety. Inspired by Jason—or rather, inspired by the prospect of a romantic relationship with this handsome hunk—Cat joins him at AA meetings and embarks on her own journey toward clarity. But sobriety won’t work until Cat commits to it for herself. Their relationship is tumultuous, as Cat falls off the wagon time and again. Along the way, Cat discovers that the cold man she grew up endlessly failing to please was not her real father, and with his death, her mother’s secret escapes. So she heads for Nantucket, where she meets her drunken dad and two half sisters—one boisterously welcoming and the other sulkily suspicious—and where she commits an unforgivable blunder. Years later, despairing of her persistent relapses, Jason has left Cat, taking their daughter with him. Finally, painfully, Cat gets clean. Green (Saving Grace, 2014, etc.) handles grim issues with a sure hand, balancing light romance with tense family drama. She unflinchingly documents Cat’s humiliations under the influence and then traces her commitment to sobriety. Simultaneously masking the motivations of those surrounding our heroine, Green sets up a surprising karmic lesson.

As she seeks to repair bridges, Cat awakens anger and treachery in the hearts of those she once betrayed. Making amends, like addiction, may endanger her future.

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-04734-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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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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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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