THE FIRST FOUR YEARS

From the Little House on the Prairie series , Vol. 9

Laura wasn't sure about marrying Manly, she'd 'always said she'd never marry a farmer' . . . For a moment it's all wrong, this manuscript left unrevised by Mrs. Wilder, and then Manly (never 'Almanzo') takes hold, joking and reasoning and promising that they'll quit at the end of three years if he hasn't "made such a success that you are willing to keep on." Compared to its predecessors this is telegraphic, with little dialogue or development of incident; one might also say less fictionalized. and consequently closer to the bone, to the hopes for a good harvest dashed year after year. A twenty-minute hailstorm ruins the first year's work; another crop is struck by three days' hot wind and "the grains were cooked in the milk, all dried and shrunken, absolutely shriveled." But if that one good year evades them, there is recompense in a snug house and mutual sympathy; in adding New Year's at the Wilders' to Thanksgiving at the Boasts' and Christmas at the Ingalls'; in racing the ponies, sledding with Shep, the least new acquisition (once a windfall of Waverly novels); and, with little Rose sleeping or toddling close by, in plowing and haying together and seeing the stock thrive: "It would be a fight to win out in this business of farming, but strangely she felt her spirit rising for the struggle." The spirit as well as the format is that of the Little House (though the format will mislead those who expect a functional resemblance).

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1971

ISBN: 0060581883

Page Count: 163

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1971

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A fascinating work of historical fiction that showcases a well-developed, likable protagonist and presents Cline-Ransome at...

FINDING LANGSTON

A Great Migration novella with a vivid, believable protagonist.

When Langston’s mother dies in 1946, his father feels that Alabama has nothing left for him and moves himself and Langston to Chicago, where Negroes could make a living wage and avoid the severe discrimination so prevalent in the South. A sensitive boy who loved his mother deeply, Langston has spent so little time with his father that he doesn’t really know him. When he becomes the target of schoolyard bullies who call him “country boy,” his loneliness sends him to the George Cleveland Hall branch of the Chicago Public Library, where he learns that African-Americans are welcome, which is different from Alabama. A kind librarian helps him find books—including poetry by Langston Hughes, for whom she assumes he has been named. From snooping into letters his dad has saved, he realizes that his mother loved the poetry of Langston Hughes, which inspires him to read everything Hughes has written. Cline-Ransome creates a poignant, bittersweet story of a young black boy who comes to accept his new home while gaining newfound knowledge of the African-American literary tradition. Langston’s heartfelt, present-tense narration, which assumes a black default, gathers readers so close they’ll be sad to see his story conclude.

A fascinating work of historical fiction that showcases a well-developed, likable protagonist and presents Cline-Ransome at her best. (Historical fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3960-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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