An engaging depiction of the challenges that face businesswomen.

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THE EXIT STRATEGY

Two strong women take on the high finance world of Silicon Valley in Cameron’s debut novel.

San Francisco venture capitalist Ryn Brennan discovers that Todd, her successful real-estate agent husband of 10 years, has been having an affair with someone nicknamed “Carly-bear.” It turns out to be Carly Santos, the co-founder and chief scientist of BioLarge, a health tech startup in which Ryn’s firm is about to invest. Carly, the 35-year-old single mother of a 5-year-old, is innocently planning her wedding to Todd, whom she thinks is a widower. Ryn reels from Todd’s betrayal and soon comes to understand he’s been lying to both his wife and his unwitting mistress. The two women come to forge a connection, with Ryn serving as a mentor, professional ally, and close friend to Carly, who has an unusual backstory; she stole from her parents’ church fund and ran away with her boyfriend at 15. She also carries a visible symbol of her chaotic past: an arm-length tattoo of a gun, a bleeding skull, and butterflies. Removing it would be difficult, she realizes: “Just like her past, it would still have been there, transformed into ghost scars.” Alternating chapters reflect Carly and Ryn’s viewpoints, respectively, and each woman emerges as believable and sympathetic. The well-crafted narrative sizzles with tense, relatable, and realistic scenes involving a dreaded call from a child’s school during an important meeting, unwanted advances from co-workers, and the ongoing struggle for respect in the boardroom. Although Todd comes off as a somewhat stereotypical villain, other characters are intriguing, such as Carly’s entrepreneur friend Dev and Ryn’s assistant, Keisha,a talented young woman who confronts sexism and racism in the workplace. Throughout, readers will root for these women’s success.

An engaging depiction of the challenges that face businesswomen.

Pub Date: July 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5092-3138-6

Page Count: 386

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY

An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A story with both comedy and heartbreak sure to please Backman fans.

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ANXIOUS PEOPLE

Eight people become unlikely friends during a hostage situation created by an inept bank robber.

In a town in Sweden, a desperate parent turns to bank robbery to help pay the rent. Unfortunately, the target turns out to be a cashless bank, which means that no robbery can take place. In an attempt to flee the police, the would-be perpetrator runs into a nearby apartment building and interrupts an open house, causing the would-be buyers to assume they're being held hostage. After the situation has ended with an absent bank robber and blood on the carpet, a father-and-son police pair work through maddening interviews with the witnesses: the ridiculous realtor; an older couple who renovates and sells apartments in an effort to stay busy; a bickering young couple expecting their first child; a well-off woman interested only in the view from the balcony of a significant bridge in her life; an elderly woman missing her husband as New Year’s Eve approaches; and, absurdly, an actor dressed as a rabbit hired to disrupt the showing and drive down the apartment price. Backman’s latest novel focuses on how a shared event can change the course of multiple people’s lives even in times of deep and ongoing anxiousness. The observer/narrator is winding and given to tangents and, in early moments, might distract a bit too much from the strongly drawn characters. But the story gains energy and sureness as it develops, resulting in moments of insight and connection between its numerous amiable characters.

A story with both comedy and heartbreak sure to please Backman fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6083-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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