Readers will die for the delightfully absurd hijinks in this dark comedy.

DIAL A FOR AUNTIES

Murder and mayhem crash the wedding of the year.

Meddelin “Meddy” Chan thought she knew all about her mother’s meddlesome ways. She’s spent her whole life surrounded by the strong-willed women in her Chinese Indonesian family—including her four aunties—and she’s learned better than to fight what they think is best. In fact, it’s their influence that made Meddy break up with her secret college boyfriend, Nathan, and stay at home to join her family’s wedding business as a photographer. But when Meddy finds out that her mother has been posing as her on a dating app for weeks—and has set her up with a guy—she’s still shocked. Even more so when she meets Jake, a hotelier who turns out to be self-centered, rude, and the exact opposite of her type. When Jake tries to attack her and Meddy accidentally kills him, she’s suddenly grateful to have five women in her life who are willing to help her hide the body. Things get complicated, though, when a cooler containing the body is accidentally shipped from her aunt’s bakery to the wedding of billionaires Tom Cruise Sutopo and Jacqueline Wijaya—and Nathan turns up as part owner of the resort where the ceremony is taking place. But this is the biggest gig her family has ever had, and they’re certainly not going to let a corpse get in the way. Comparisons to Crazy Rich Asians are apt, as the author details the wild spending and luxurious lifestyles of the superrich. But this story is filled with mistaken identity, a gaggle of intoxicated groomsmen, five lovably hilarious sisters, and slapstick humor that leans more toward the film Clue.

Readers will die for the delightfully absurd hijinks in this dark comedy.  

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 9780593333037

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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