The result is Lake Wobegon with more environmental activism and historical preservation and considerably less humor.

READ REVIEW

THE GREAT SAND FRACAS OF AMES COUNTY

A homespun novel finds a small Wisconsin town torn between preservation and progress.

Folksy activism provides the impetus for Apps’ return to Ames County, where he's set five earlier novels in this series (Tamarack River Ghost, 2012, etc.). He's also published many nonfiction books about farming and rural life in Wisconsin, and the themes in those volumes invariably make their ways into his fiction as well. In this case, the small village of Link Lake finds itself caught between its past as a farming community and whatever prosperity the future might hold as a tourist destination. There's a battle for the soul of the village between two organizations headed by two strong-willed women. Marilyn Jones, who inherited the village’s only supper club when her parents died in a car crash, leads the Link Lake Economic Development Council, whose initiatives invariably meet resistance from the Link Lake Historical Society, headed by feisty octogenarian Emily Higgins. Marilyn fumes, “When are these people going to quit focusing on the past and begin thinking about the future?” Tensions come to a head when a sand mining company strikes an agreement with the village that will require the removal of a “sacred tree.” The controversy attracts the attention of a mysterious but widely read syndicated environmental columnist with the pen name Stony Field, whose writings attract protestors to the site. Too many coincidences and surprises strain the reader’s credulity (including the possibility that an environmental columnist with an unknown identity could wield such national influence), but a Fourth of July parade, an explosion and a potentially fatal storm threaten to tear the town apart—or perhaps heal its wounds.

The result is Lake Wobegon with more environmental activism and historical preservation and considerably less humor.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-299-30070-8

Page Count: 269

Publisher: Terrace Books/Univ. of Wisconsin Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more