An inspiring tale of a quest for purpose, perfect for fans of Western fiction.

A Northern Gentleman

A debut historical novel about a privileged young man in the 19th century who forsakes his fortune in search of a new identity. 

Drucker May is a troubled man in 1890 Atlanta. In a matter of days, he will assume a leadership post at the Atlanta Southern National Bank, a position long held by his father. Although his succession seems natural enough, Drucker is dreading it. He’s never enjoyed bank work, and he’s desperate to find greater purpose to his life. At the eleventh hour, he leaves town in search of personal reinvention. He heads for Boston, where he hopes to locate a woman who served as his childhood governess. Unfortunately, the first of many traveling mistakes lands him on a train headed in the wrong direction. He disembarks in the small town of Clayton, Arkansas, where he assumes a fake identity to help the townspeople find a horse thief. As much as he enjoys life in Clayton, his involvement in a confusing romantic triangle makes him decide to move on. He travels to Austin, Texas, where he interacts with various politicians, including real-life characters such as railroad magnate Jay Gould. When another romance brings new complications, Drucker sets his sights on California. Yet again, unforeseen circumstances leave him waylaid instead, this time landing him at the center of a bizarre caper. As the story’s misadventures continue, the surprising twists and turns keep the narrative moving along. The tale is full of engrossing historical details, including information about the various towns and political climates that Drucker encounters as he travels west. It also effectively brings to life the experience of 19th-century rail travel. Despite the emphasis on history, Everett’s prose is full of compassion and insight as she explores the psyche of a character who’s discontented with the status quo. As Drucker tries to determine his place in the world, readers will find themselves rooting for him the whole way.

An inspiring tale of a quest for purpose, perfect for fans of Western fiction.

Pub Date: July 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9963977-0-4

Page Count: 298

Publisher: Senior Prospect Publishing Co.

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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THE COLDEST WINTER EVER

Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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