An enjoyable, if slightly implausible, account of four friends who face unimaginable tragedies yet maintain their sense of...


In this novel by a forensic and rehabilitation psychologist, four women cope with serious challenges during their journey from college to grandmotherhood.

Sarah Brightenham awakens from her coma to find a strange woman in a candy striper uniform in her hospital room claiming to be awaiting the arrival of the patient’s sister. Nicole Fielding, as it turns out, is in the same literature class as Sarah and is eager to prevent her from being forced to enter the psychiatric ward after her overdose. Nicole enlists the help of Rebecca Trumble to pretend to be Sarah’s sister and caretaker. Nicole and Rebecca introduce Sarah to another friend, Clair Coleman. As the four women share their stories and plot revenge on football player Bo, who raped Sarah (precipitating her suicide attempt), they forge a friendship that will last throughout their lives. As each woman encounters a life-altering event, their bond deepens as the other three help her through the catastrophe. Eventually, they add husbands and children to their group, with Clair’s and Sarah’s families later united through marriage. All four women are successful in their chosen fields. But Clair’s three cohorts find her obsessive mothering alternately annoying and lifesaving, as her common-sense approach helps Rebecca discover the truth behind a psychotic break. The engrossing tale concludes as the four women travel first to New York City and then England together to find closure to the biggest crises they have dealt with. The character development is slow in Cools’ (Sometimes a Father, 2017, etc.) novel. With the exception of Sarah, whose story is the first one to be told, the other three women are virtually indistinguishable until they become the focus of the narrative. Even then, Rebecca’s and Nicole’s tales (attempted murder by a vengeful former boss, and the amputation of a foot due to diabetes, respectively) pale in comparison to Sarah’s and Clair’s gripping stories of abuse and loss. Some of the dialogue among the women is too contrived and unrealistic while the endlessly supportive yet one-dimensional spouses stretch credulity (perhaps because all four are improbable dream husbands).

An enjoyable, if slightly implausible, account of four friends who face unimaginable tragedies yet maintain their sense of fun.

Pub Date: March 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4960-5684-9

Page Count: 362

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2018

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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