Could possibly appeal to college-age travelers to Europe, but more demanding readers will understandably say no.

READ REVIEW

ALL WE KNOW OF LOVE

An awkward if impassioned coming-of-age story set in the Pacific Northwest, Italy, and New York City, and involving art and spirituality.

Jo Shepherd’s terminally ill grandfather Frank wants her to attend college in her home state of Washington. But shortly before Frank dies, the Virgin Mary appears and urges Jo to follow her dream of going to Italy to become an artist, a plan that necessitates not only dishonoring Frank’s wishes but also abandoning a childhood sweetheart named Jack. In Florence, these and other past issues emerge, as do new visions triggered by encounters with statues, frescoes, and two young American expatriates who vie, it seems, for Jo’s affections: Chad, a soulful cellist who plays on the street but really studies politics, and Walter, a worldly cynic adrift in Europe. Walter champions Jo’s art and bankrolls her studio—into which she sneaks Chad—while her portraits of saints reveal equally her torment and ecstasies. Unannounced, Jack shows up around New Year’s and things begin to unravel. Chad reveals himself to be something less than a knight in shining armor, and Walter more than a disinterested friend. Jo’s final artistic apprenticeship takes place in the crucible of New York City’s Lower East Side, where the young artist finds her fullest vocabulary and a prestigious gallery. She leaves for Washington to face unfinished romantic business with Jack and to avoid the imminent enormous success of her show. Jo is full of purpose and can be engaging, but her tale suffers from an artificiality in its expository shortcuts—those visions and frescoes, for example—from flatness of scene, and from a fractured chronology that intrudes more than illuminates.

Could possibly appeal to college-age travelers to Europe, but more demanding readers will understandably say no.

Pub Date: July 11, 2000

ISBN: 0-7679-0408-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Despite the false start, this heartwarming story sweetly balances friendship and mother-child bonding with romantic love.

WINDOW ON THE BAY

Macomber (Be a Blessing, 2019, etc.) threatens to set her latest beach read in Paris, but her characters have other plans.

Maureen Zelinski and Jenna Boltz have been friends since college. Years ago, their plans to go to Paris were thwarted when Maureen found out she was pregnant. Now that they’re both single mothers whose children have left the nest, the time is right to dust off their passports and try again. In a somewhat disappointing turn of events, Maureen and Jenna don’t make it to Paris just yet. Instead, they stay in Seattle and pursue new love interests. Jenna, a nurse, meets orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rowan Lancaster in the emergency room after her mother falls and hurts her hip. Maureen, against her better judgment, accepts a date with Logan, a union plumber who frequents the library where she works. Jenna is afraid to date a co-worker after her workplace romance with her ex failed, but when Rowan proves to be a good listener, she’s more willing to discuss her options. Maureen doesn’t think she’ll fit in with Logan and his beer-drinking buddies, but she’s surprised when she enjoys their date at a football game. Meanwhile, Jenna worries about her children, Allie and Paul, as they navigate college and life. Though the story is primarily told from the two mothers’ perspectives, Allie breaks into the narrative with a surprising connection to Rowan. Maureen’s daughter, Tori, also takes on the role of confidante. The happy endings (and potential travel plans) unfold with a touch of realism to contrast the idyllic backdrop of the Pacific Northwest.

Despite the false start, this heartwarming story sweetly balances friendship and mother-child bonding with romantic love.

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-18133-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

OUTFOX

An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more