An engaging family tale set during one of the most critical periods in American history.




The second historical novel in Kenna’s series (Cinders Over the Junction, 2011) about hardworking families affected by the economic and social transformations of their times.

The author provides a window into the mentality of late 19th century, during which industries boomed and the foundations of the labor movement were formed. It’s an intriguing look into the lives of working-class families who escaped the perils of Ireland’s Great Famine by immigrating to the United States just before the Civil War. These profound historical events provide the backdrop as the American economy grows during the Second Industrial Revolution. Readers primarily get to know the cautiously optimistic Francis and Kathleen Scanlon, devoted parents of several children, including Jimmy and Mike. They also meet Father Daniel Quinn, who’s passionate about the growing labor movement, and the equally outspoken Norah Kelley, who hosts salons where people from all walks of life join in heated discussions about the Catholic Church and its relationship to labor. These scenes, in particular, are a treat, like overhearing a captivating conversation. There are also regular mentions of well-known, real-life historical figures, such as James J. Hill, who wanted to build another railroad line to the Pacific, and Eugene V. Debs, an outspoken Socialist leader. Jimmy’s experiences as a track worker serve to frame conversations among his family and his friends back home, often leading to discussions of loftier concepts. Some readers will find these conversations relevant to other industries today, as when Norah says to Francis, “What I contemplate most is whether this industrial expansion…is happening to improve the lives of the greatest number of people, or whether it’s to enrich the already overstuffed pockets, and bellies, of a few ‘fat cats.’ ”

An engaging family tale set during one of the most critical periods in American history.

Pub Date: July 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0692018408

Page Count: 535

Publisher: Shamrock & Spike Maul

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2014

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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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Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.


Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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