A poignant exploration of a timely political topic.


In Klepper’s debut novel, a stay-at-home mom longing for greater purpose returns to work as a pro bono lawyer and finds herself representing a Syrian refugee seeking asylum. 

Jessica Donnelly worked as a high-priced corporate lawyer for a white-shoe firm but walked away from her career in order to raise her three children. Ten years later, she feels unfulfilled, especially as she watches her husband’s career bloom. She decides to return to work as a volunteer for the International Asylum Project, a nonprofit organization devoted to assisting refugees seeking safety in America from political persecution and war. Jessica takes Amina Hamid’s case. Two years ago, Amina fled the violent tumult of Syria to stay with relatives in Baltimore. She’s reluctant to accept Jessica as her lawyer—her previous lawyer was uselessly incompetent, and she’s unimpressed by Jessica’s complete lack of experience. Jessica convinces Amina to give her a shot, but the odds are heavily stacked against asylum seekers, and Amina is painfully reticent when it comes to revealing the details of her flight from Aleppo, information necessary for Jessica to mount a successful case. Slowly, Amina discloses the horrifying truth—soldiers murdered her younger brother, attacked her mother, tortured her father, and her husband simply vanished one day—a gruesome tableau affectingly described by Klepper. Jessica tries to help not only win Amina asylum, but also find a job, and both encounter shrill prejudice that sometimes crescendos into violence. The author sensitively captures the anxiety the nation experiences regarding immigration from countries plagued by anti-Western extremism; Jessica’s husband, Danny, an educated man who works in cybersecurity, surprises her with the depths of his skepticism. Also, Klepper artfully depicts the ways even the quotidian aspects of life can be challenging for the radically displaced: When Amina is asked to provide her college transcripts as part of a job application, she tersely replies: “No. I... I do not know that I can get a transcript sent. There’s a war.”

A poignant exploration of a timely political topic. 

Pub Date: July 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-948051-11-8

Page Count: 344

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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