OUT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKY

A beautifully told blend of grief, hope, and humor that showcases Higgins at her best.

A woman gets revenge—and a whole new life—when her husband announces he’s leaving her the day before their son graduates from high school.

Lillie Silva is heartbroken that her only son, Dylan, is about to graduate from high school and leave their home in Cape Cod to attend college all the way in Montana. But she knows she’ll still be plenty busy—she has a wonderful job as a nurse midwife, family nearby (even if they have their problems), and, best of all, she’s about to surprise her husband, Brad, with a trip to Europe. But when Brad takes her out to dinner the night before Dylan’s graduation, it’s not to celebrate raising their wonderful son—it’s to tell her he wants a divorce because he’s in love with Melissa Finch, a much younger woman who recently moved to town. Lillie had dreamed of handling her son’s departure by commiserating with the only other person who really understood—but now she’ll be spending all her time alone. With a lot of free time on her hands, Lillie starts playing small pranks on Brad—like, for example, unleashing a skunk in his new home. It’s not all laughs, though—Lillie feels a deep grief over the loss of the life she had, one with a devoted husband, family holidays, and all the little routines she thought would last forever. She also mourns the daughter she delivered stillborn years ago and imagines how much less lonely her life would be if that daughter had lived. As she adjusts to being on her own, Lillie starts to reconnect with people from her past—including her former classmate Ben Hallowell, who was behind the wheel in a car accident that nearly ended Lillie’s life. And when she befriends Ophelia, Melissa’s niece (who lives with her), Lillie realizes that life still has plenty of surprises in store. Higgins manages to address a plethora of tough topics, including infertility and sexual assault, and give them the respect they deserve while also crafting a story that’s full of hope. With a blend of humor and poignancy reminiscent of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn, Lillie’s witty narration never obscures the very real devastation that she feels as the family she loved breaks apart.

A beautifully told blend of grief, hope, and humor that showcases Higgins at her best.

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-33532-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

BRIDE

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

A vampire and an Alpha werewolf enter into a marriage of convenience in order to ease tensions between their species.

As the only daughter of a prominent Vampyre councilman, Misery Lark has grown accustomed to having to playing the role that’s demanded of her—and now, her father is ordering her to be a part of yet another truce agreement. In an effort to maintain goodwill between the Vampyres and their longtime nemeses the Weres, Misery must wed their Alpha, Lowe Moreland. But it turns out that Misery has her own motivations for agreeing to this political marriage, including finding answers about what happened to her best friend, who went missing after setting up a meeting in Were territory. Isolated from her kind and surrounded on all sides by the enemy after the wedding, Misery refuses to let herself forget about her real mission. It doesn’t matter that Lowe is one of the most confounding and intense people she’s ever met, or that the connection building between them doesn’t feel like one born entirely of convenience. There’s also the possibility that Lowe may already have a Were mate of his own, but in spite of their biological differences, they may turn out to be the missing piece in each other’s lives. While this is Hazelwood’s first paranormal romance, and the book does lean on some hallmark tropes of the genre, the contemporary setting lends itself to the author’s trademark humor and makes the political plot more easily digestible. Misery and Lowe’s slow-burn romance is appealing enough that readers will readily devour every moment between them and hunger to return to them whenever the story diverts from their scenes together.

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9780593550403

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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