Lush, evocative descriptions carry readers through an unforgettable journey.


From the The Silver Web series , Vol. 2

A practitioner of magic struggles with her forbidden love for a king as she and her friends/students are threatened by impending war in the second of Gastreich’s (Eolyn, 2016, etc.) fantasy series.

Eolyn, the sole High Maga left in the kingdom of Moisehén, has a small coven with only five girls under her wing. They reside in the meek province of Moehn to hone their magic, an art once prohibited for females. Eolyn has long been in love with King Akmael, but years earlier she turned down his offer of marriage believing that a woman cannot be both Queen and High Maga. Akmael, in the interim, wed Taesara, the princess of Roenfyn, as part of a political maneuver to ensure an alliance between the two kingdoms. Meanwhile, dying San’iloman (leader) of the Syrnte, Joturi-Nur, names his granddaughter Rishona as his successor. Easily defending her claim by killing one of the princes who challenges her, Rishona makes plans to invade Moisehén, where she would have been princess if not for her parents’ murders long ago. She summons Naether Demons from the Underworld, and ensuing attacks put everyone in danger, including Eolyn’s students and friend/music teacher, Adiana. Battling demons may take a back seat for Eolyn when someone abducts members of her coven. Gastreich’s unhurried but engaging tale is heavily populated with characters and social themes, including feminism and bigotry: Roenfyn citizens are known for their disdain for “witches.” Characters are undeniably versatile; Rishona, though unquestionably the villain, is still worthy of admiration—at age 6, she demanded that her uncle teach her to wield a sword. But the story’s greatest triumph is Gastreich’s prose, a consistent blend of lyrical verse and dark imagery: “Trees creaked and groaned as if death were being drawn up in excruciating threads through their roots.” The inevitable clash, while striking, is over too soon, and a couple of significant deaths hardly leave a mark. There is, however, ample material left for the series’ subsequent volume.

Lush, evocative descriptions carry readers through an unforgettable journey.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9972320-1-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2016

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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