An intensely emotional and engaging tale of marriage, separation, and growth.

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A woman struggles with responding to her husband’s infidelity.

In this debut contemporary novel, MacKenzie writes from the perspective of Kate René Willoughby, who discovers that after 22 years of marriage, her wealthy lawyer husband, Brian, is cheating on her. Kate, who has relocated to an Arizona ranch at Brian’s urging after many years spent living with him in Alaska, investigates his deceptions, both emotional and financial, as she attempts to decide whether or not to end her marriage. Kate’s story moves between the present and the past as she deals with the fallout from Brian’s adultery, remembers growing up with an abusive father, and takes comfort in the critters who surround her on the ranch (“I try to live in the here and now, to be grateful. For the roof over my head, the food I’m not eating, for the animals who force me out of bed each morning and keep me in a routine, who keep me alive”). When she finally makes a decision about Brian, Kate finds support within her community of friends and family as she learns to trust her own judgment and rediscovers her strengths. MacKenzie is a strong writer. Her evocative use of metaphors (“Like that innocent tarantula, I’m being consumed from the inside—by my husband’s love for another woman, by the words I hear him saying to her, by visions of skin against skin”), combined with the steady revelation of Brian’s secrets and deceits, will keep readers engaged even as Kate’s indecision about whether to leave is repetitive and drawn out far longer than necessary. Kate’s first-person narration gives readers a deep look into her thoughts, and fans of character-driven fiction will appreciate the intimacy of her portrayal and the power of her emotions. MacKenzie also does an effective job of incorporating the many animal characters into the story, allowing them to reveal Kate’s struggle without turning them into stand-ins for humans. The protagonist bears a strong resemblance to the author, beginning with their same first and middle names. Kate also shares many of the personal and professional experiences MacKenzie includes in her bio, making it difficult to separate the character from the author.

An intensely emotional and engaging tale of marriage, separation, and growth.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73-542210-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Red Lace Books

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2021


A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Truth and deception clash in this tale of the Holocaust.

Udo Graf is proud that the Wolf has assigned him the task of expelling all 50,000 Jews from Salonika, Greece. In that city, Nico Krispis is an 11-year-old Jewish boy whose blue eyes and blond hair deceive, but whose words do not. Those who know him know he has never told a lie in his life—“Never be the one to tell lies, Nico,” his grandfather teaches him. “God is always watching.” Udo and Nico meet, and Udo decides to exploit the child’s innocence. At the train station where Jews are being jammed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, Udo gives Nico a yellow star to wear and persuades him to whisper among the crowd, “I heard it from a German officer. They are sending us to Poland. We will have new homes. And jobs.” The lad doesn’t know any better, so he helps persuade reluctant Jews to board the train to hell. “You were a good little liar,” Udo later tells Nico, and delights in the prospect of breaking the boy’s spirit, which is more fun and a greater challenge than killing him outright. When Nico realizes the horrific nature of what he's done, his truth-telling days are over. He becomes an inveterate liar about everything. Narrating the story is the Angel of Truth, whom according to a parable God had cast out of heaven and onto earth, where Truth shattered into billions of pieces, each to lodge in a human heart. (Obviously, many hearts have been missed.) Truth skillfully weaves together the characters, including Nico; his brother, Sebastian; Sebastian’s wife, Fannie; and the “heartless deceiver” Udo. Events extend for decades beyond World War II, until everyone’s lives finally collide in dramatic fashion. As Truth readily acknowledges, his account is loaded with twists and turns, some fortuitous and others not. Will Nico Krispis ever seek redemption? And will he find it? Author Albom’s passion shows through on every page in this well-crafted novel.

A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9780062406651

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.

Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.

A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-778-38608-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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