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1666

A NOVEL

A disturbing, absorbing, and valuable addition to the literature of cruelty inflicted upon Indigenous peoples.

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Chilton’s historical novel imagines the harrowing tale of three Virginian Patawomeck women who survived the 1666 massacre of the men of their tribe and were sold into slavery.

The small Native American Patawomeck tribe make their home in northern Virginia, near the Chesapeake. In 1666, frustrated with the tribe’s refusal to sell their land or accept the Virginia Governor’s Council’s choice for a new chief, the council chooses to respond with violence. On one summer night of that year, the Virginia militia enter the Patawomeck territory carrying their “thunder sticks” and savagely shoot every adult male in the village. They seize babies and corral the women, who are placed on a ship and sold into slavery in Barbados. Among these women are Ah’SaWei (Golden Fawn), a young mother, and her close friend, NePa’WeXo (Shining Moon). Once in Barbados, Ah’SaWei, her mother, and her daughter are sold to the Mount Faith Manor Plantation, owned by master Russell White, a Quaker. They are luckier than Xo and her daughter, who are purchased by the vicious, sexually avaricious master James Lewis of the Sugar Grove Plantation. In alternating chapters, Ah’SaWei, whose name is changed to Rebecca, and Xo, renamed Leah, narrate their tales of struggle and survival—on the ship, on the plantations, and after their triumphant return to the colonies in 1669. Packed with Indigenous culture and customs and sprinkled with tribal terminology, the narrative is vivid, magnetic, and chilling. The author is herself a Patawomeck descendant, and she’s combined scant available written records with tribal oral history to inform her creation of two emotionally powerful, vibrant female protagonists. Mixed in with the tragedies that befall these women are humorous moments, such as their descriptions of the English men: “They rarely bathe, their breath and teeth repulsive. They are hairy and filthy; they cover themselves with woven layers, fetid with sweat and dirt.” Several sections move languidly, but plenty of action, tears, cheers, and historical detail work to keep the pages turning.

A disturbing, absorbing, and valuable addition to the literature of cruelty inflicted upon Indigenous peoples.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781960573957

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Sibylline Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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LONG ISLAND

A moving portrait of rueful middle age and the failure to connect.

An acclaimed novelist revisits the central characters of his best-known work.

At the end of Brooklyn (2009), Eilis Lacey departed Ireland for the second and final time—headed back to New York and the Italian American husband she had secretly married after first traveling there for work. In her hometown of Enniscorthy, she left behind Jim Farrell, a young man she’d fallen in love with during her visit, and the inevitable gossip about her conduct. Tóibín’s 11th novel introduces readers to Eilis 20 years later, in 1976, still married to Tony Fiorello and living in the titular suburbia with their two teenage children. But Eilis’ seemingly placid existence is disturbed when a stranger confronts her, accusing Tony of having an affair with his wife—now pregnant—and threatening to leave the baby on their doorstep. “She’d known men like this in Ireland,” Tóibín writes. “Should one of them discover that their wife had been unfaithful and was pregnant as a result, they would not have the baby in the house.” This shock sends Eilis back to Enniscorthy for a visit—or perhaps a longer stay. (Eilis’ motives are as inscrutable as ever, even to herself.) She finds the never-married Jim managing his late father’s pub; unbeknownst to Eilis (and the town), he’s become involved with her widowed friend Nancy, who struggles to maintain the family chip shop. Eilis herself appears different to her old friends: “Something had happened to her in America,” Nancy concludes. Although the novel begins with a soap-operatic confrontation—and ends with a dramatic denouement, as Eilis’ fate is determined in a plot twist worthy of Edith Wharton—the author is a master of quiet, restrained prose, calmly observing the mores and mindsets of provincial Ireland, not much changed from the 1950s.

A moving portrait of rueful middle age and the failure to connect.

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781476785110

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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