A refreshingly energetic novel featuring lovable heroines.



In Murray’s debut novel, four lesbian friends navigate the romantic landscape of their senior years and support one another through hardships.

A group of women takes a trip to New Orleans, expecting an invigorating weekend of good food and music, and although their ages range from 58 to 69, they all share a passion for life. Dory and Robby have been romantic partners for more than 20 years; the former is spontaneous and sometimes absent-minded while the latter is practical and protective. Charlene is a down-to-earth former judge from humble beginnings who’s now running for State House representative; at the French Quarter Music Festival, a romance blossoms between her and a courteous woman named Lee Childs. Jill Hunt, the youngest and wildest of the group, is a sharp-witted woman with an inheritance who’s currently seeing a much younger woman. However, it soon becomes apparent that the women have secrets involving the success of Dory’s new book, the details of Jill’s money management, and the legitimacy of Charlene’s past employment. As the women face the consequences of deception, betrayal, and blackmail, their bonds become more important than ever. Murray alternates the focus among the four main women, extensively developing each character. Her depictions of their interactions, both platonic and romantic, make for entertaining reading. The romantic moments vary in tone, from the serious, steadfast intimacy of established partners to the infatuation of a casual affair, enlivened by several explicitly erotic scenes. Despite the gravity of the characters’ situations and their resulting emotional lows, the tone of the book is ultimately optimistic. Along the way, the author provides bits of casual wisdom; for instance, in the subplot about Dory’s journey as an author, Murray comments on the difficulties of breaking into publishing. The text is also self-aware of how stories about older lesbians don’t tend to receive a lot of mainstream attention. An older demographic may be this book’s main audience, but it merits consideration by adults of any age.

A refreshingly energetic novel featuring lovable heroines.

Pub Date: March 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-948232-51-7

Page Count: 334

Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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