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THE DAY EVERY DAY IS

A vivid, compelling collection by an erudite poet.

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A wide-ranging volume of poetry explores mythological figures, relationships, and the natural world.

Upton marries past with present, myth with reality, and ideas with emotions in this collection of poetry. Greek mythological characters feature heavily in the book. She depicts the murder of Hyacinth and takes on the voice of rape victim Danaë. Actaeon and Eurydice merit their own poems as well. Nature is another prominent theme. Upton considers noisy insects that “give the tree a voice” and wonders if it is fair to trick forsythia into believing it’s spring by placing it before a sunny window. Two sacks of mushrooms given a week apart inspire the poet to ask: “What other gifts are wasted on us?” The sight of a centipede in the shower prompts her to ponder: “How strange we must seem / to God. How sometimes we must / frighten him, how he must wish we would just / crawl away.” Intense religious moments, such as the stone in front of Jesus’ tomb being rolled away, and biblical figures, like Adam and Eve, are jumping-off points for other poems. As the book draws to a close, the author’s personal relationships become more prominent. In “The Blanket,” the poet considers her roles as a daughter and a mother and the ways they overlap. Upton is an austere but evocative writer. She details how the “milkweed blossoms / fade as if antique”; the way a willow “slouches as if it were in a classroom”; and the “pine’s greenness / frosted like a forged dollar bill.” The author is well read, as evidenced by references to everything from Shakespeare and Rilke to Shirley Jackson. Upton is also insightful; she wonders why “we give our hours away” to actors “as if our hours aren’t magnificent” and notes that “privacy is a kind of power.” Her honesty is unflinching, but she also injects humor into her work. In “Why Am I Not Invited to Your Party?” she recalls how she used to dance “like someone being stung / by ferocious bees.” The only time she goes too far is when she describes how “steam hisses off the oiled husks of him” and “flesh / slides to his ankles like a stocking” during the satyr Marsyas’ skinning. But even then, it’s hard to fault her for such skillful writing.

A vivid, compelling collection by an erudite poet.

Pub Date: March 15, 2023

ISBN: 9781947817500

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Saturnalia Books

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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THE WOMEN

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

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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

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THIS SUMMER WILL BE DIFFERENT

A steamy, romantic summer read with a charming setting.

A florist attempts to avoid her best friend’s brother—and their powerful chemistry—on Prince Edward Island.

When Lucy Ashby visits her best friend Bridget’s family home on Prince Edward Island for the first time, Bridget gives her three rules: Eat your weight in oysters….Leave the city behind. And, most importantly, Don’t fall in love with my brother. Unfortunately for Lucy, she sleeps with Felix basically the second her plane lands, unaware that he’s Bridget’s brother until it’s too late. Lucy has never felt understood or accepted by her immediate family, and Bridget is one of the very few people she allows into her inner circle, so Lucy’s desperate to abide by these rules. And so she and Felix try to avoid each other on every one of Lucy’s visits to PEI over the years. And, of course, they fail spectacularly, always returning to each other when they’re in between relationships. But it’s never been anything serious…Lucy makes sure of that, backing off whenever her emotions feel too strong. In her “real life” back in Toronto, it’s easier for Lucy to avoid thinking of Felix as she runs a busy floral shop, working herself into the ground. But when Bridget asks Lucy to come to PEI for an emergency girls’ trip less than two weeks before Bridget is supposed to get married, Lucy drops everything to be there for her best friend. She doesn’t expect to find Felix there, along with feelings that are stronger and more difficult than ever to ignore. Even more than jeopardizing her relationship with Bridget, Lucy is afraid that giving in to her feelings could ruin the life she’s worked so hard to build. Fortune, the author of hits like Every Summer After (2022), gives readers another refreshingly summery story full of angst, romance, and sex scenes aplenty. The PEI setting is a beautiful backdrop for Lucy and Felix’s secret hookups and Lucy’s journey of self-discovery as she learns how to stand on her own two feet as a business owner, friend, and daughter. In addition to frequent (and welcome) Anne of Green Gables references, there are oysters galore and many sandy, windy scenes that transport readers straight to the island.

A steamy, romantic summer read with a charming setting.

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780593638880

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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