A powerful novel about a woman who shuns convention to follow her passion.

THE BOHEMIANS

A captivating novel based on the life of photographer Dorothea Lange, who earned lasting recognition for her poignant Depression era images.

Dorothea Lange springs to life—from her beginnings as a portrait photographer for the rich and famous to the calling she is most known for today, photographing the struggles of families during the Depression. Dorrie, 23, moves from New York to San Francisco in 1918, anxious to start a new life, but her vision of a bright future quickly fades. Upon arrival, she is robbed of her money. Stranded at the train station, she meets Caroline Lee, a beautiful young Chinese woman who later introduces her to female photographers within an artists’ colony who encourage her to set up a portrait studio. Caroline is fictional, but she is a strong character in her own right, facing the world with courage and determination. Dorrie faces discrimination for her gender; Caroline more so for her race. They are inseparable until a brutal event pushes Caroline to isolate herself. Dorrie’s marriage to famed artist Maynard Dixon creates a conflict for her as she tries to balance her creative needs with those of her family and forces choices that lead her to find her true passion. She loses touch with Caroline for decades until she's driven to seek her out. Darznik, with a keen eye to history, weaves real artists and historic events into an engaging story of struggle and success. Though the book is set more than 100 years ago, it feels powerfully contemporary: Men return from the battlefields of World War I to reclaim their jobs and positions in society. The Spanish flu arrives on the West Coast, forcing businesses to fold and people to quarantine. Politicians rail against foreigners; raids take place across the city. Strong, well-portrayed female characters propel this intriguing tale.

A powerful novel about a woman who shuns convention to follow her passion.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12942-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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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