A smoothly written tale about deep faith leading to love and self-understanding, hampered by sometimes-unsympathetic...

TRINIDAD HEAD, CA

In Clark’s debut romance novel, a young widow, bolstered by her religious faith, discovers new love and finds out what jealousy can drive people to do.

Annie MacKerricher, a 33-year-old scarf designer, is widowed when Jorge Reyes, a member of a local gang, robs and kills her husband, Sean, during his jog in Manhattan Beach, California. As Annie awaits Reyes’ trial to start, she begins coming to grips with how she felt invisible in her marriage—much like her grandmother’s teapot had been “out of sight” in her own home. On a trip to California’s North Coast with her sister and her family, she sees Trinidad Head, a massive outcropping off the coast, which leads her to the nearby town of Trinidad. There, she experiences a sense of déjà vu, and her eyes lock in mysterious recognition with a “thirtyish,” “handsome fisherman/artist” named Forrest Hammond. Trinidad makes her feel a “desire to rediscover herself.” After she obtains closure at Reyes’ sentencing, she moves to the new town, and just in time—because Reyes has marked her for revenge. However, even his threat pales next to the seething jealousy of Forrest’s former flame, the beautiful, red-haired Riatta Lutz. Meanwhile, Annie’s faith sustains her through these troubled waters. Throughout, Clark’s prose is as fluid as the setting: “Several sailboats were out with their colorful sails unfurled, gracefully gliding through the channel on their way out to sea.” Although the slow-building romance between Forrest and Annie is the story’s focus, the core theme of the work is “a woman’s courage to fail in life and begin anew.” The scenes of intimacy are chaste; Forrest feels “electricity surge between them” as he helps Annie undress after she’s injured, but for Annie, such passion can only exist in marriage. Some readers may find that Annie’s harsh judgment sounds a sour note: “I see a soul presently unredeemable,” she says to Reyes at his sentencing. She also aims her moral certitude at Forrest, just as they are beginning their relationship, which may cause some to lose sympathy for her.

A smoothly written tale about deep faith leading to love and self-understanding, hampered by sometimes-unsympathetic characterization.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5484-0470-3

Page Count: 330

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2017

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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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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