An engaging story of love and faith.

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Déjà vu

Two teenagers’ love blossoms despite their different beliefs in this Christian romance novel.

Watson (Trevor’s Treasures, 2010) returns with another tale of young love. Teens Zach and Ruth meet while Zach volunteers at an archaeological dig in Israel; Ruth is there with her parents, who are leading the dig. They begin their relationship as friends, but after Zach saves Ruth from a potential rape, they form an undeniable connection. Zach returns to the States, but keeps in touch with Ruth by phone, and they eventually decide to marry. There’s one major problem, however: Ruth is a devout Christian and Zach is a committed atheist. The disparity eventually proves to be too much for Ruth to bear, and she breaks off the engagement. Zach and Ruth drift separately and despondently for a while, but when he goes back to Israel to attend school, fate thrusts them back together. Watson writes perceptively about these characters, and their conflict feels genuine. Fans of the genre will find a lot to like here; as in the best romances, the two main characters seem absolutely meant to be together, and they manage to find each other despite the things that separate them. However, when the story strays from its core romance, it loses some of its charm; for example, an overlong description of a family vacation in the middle of the novel feels more like the author’s personal indulgence than an integral part of the story. But the novel eventually rights its course and features a dramatic climax that ultimately seals Zach and Ruth’s love for each other. Christian-romance aficionados will root for these characters and find the ending, although predictable, deeply satisfying.

An engaging story of love and faith.

Pub Date: July 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-1468552409

Page Count: 298

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2013

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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