Schnur’s attempts at humor, alas, are gratingly obvious and annoyingly self-congratulatory, especially when praising Nina...

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THE DOG WALKER

Awkward foray into romantic comedy depicting a dog walker on New York’s Upper West Side falling in love with one of her (human) clients based on the contents of his apartment.

Nina, an erstwhile copywriter at Random House who burned out on the nasty antics of the publishing world, takes over her friend Claire’s dog-walking business when the aspiring actress gets a part in a TV show. First-timer Schnur, the former editor-in-chief of Dell Publishing and Delacorte Press, provides plenty of cute scenes showing Nina walking her charges en masse and displaying her moral superiority over the pooches’ actual owners, whose apartments she checks out (despite her moral superiority) while picking up the pets. One of Nina’s favorite dogs, Siddhartha, belongs to a lawyer named Daniel. Without meeting him, Nina develops a crush on Daniel based on what she learns from snooping in his apartment. Of course, readers know right off from the description of the apartment that Daniel is actually a shallow yuppie, not worthy of our witty, pretty, and artistically gifted heroine. They might well wonder why Nina doesn’t pick up on this, but that’s okay because the “Daniel” she eventually meets is his identical twin Billy, an IRS agent using the apartment to stake out a suspect: a charming, mysteriously wealthy older woman who happens to be another of Nina’s clients. Billy/Daniel and Nina have immediate chemistry, for no better reason than he’s the sensitive romantic lead Schnur wants us to believe Nina deserves. Although the road to happiness can be rocky when one lover is not whom he claims and the other is a snoop, don’t be surprised when Nina, Billy, and all the supporting characters (except chauvinist pig Daniel) reap love and success.

Schnur’s attempts at humor, alas, are gratingly obvious and annoyingly self-congratulatory, especially when praising Nina and Manhattan.

Pub Date: July 27, 2004

ISBN: 0-7434-8207-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2004

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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