Soapy, fast-paced fun with a murder thrown in for good measure.

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INDEPENDENTLY WEALTHY

In a sequel to New Money (2013), spunky heroine Savannah Morgan navigates New York’s social world while attempting to solve the mysterious death of her father.

The modern Cinderella story continues in the opening: Southern girl Savannah is still dating aspiring writer Alex, her editorial responsibilities have increased at Femme, and she’s still living an enviable life with a Central Park West apartment and a $10,000 a week allowance—all thanks to her late father, media mogul Edward Stone. Though she never knew her father (those gifts over the years were supposedly from an aunt), his will made her an heiress and pushed the children he raised, Ned and Caroline, to the inheritance sidelines. Despite the initial animosity, the three are now committed to finding out the truth about their father’s death. They suspect he may have been ready to blow the whistle on some powerful people—but whom? Sen. Carys Caldwell, with whom he was having an affair? Her jilted husband? The COO of Amicus, accused of polluting a lake and causing the deaths of innocents? Or someone closer to home?  Mixed in with the light mystery is the real focus of the novel: the state of Savannah’s various relationships. She breaks it off with Alex because he's too controlling; she gets closer to Caroline and enjoys newfound sisterhood; she and Ned are frequently at loggerheads, though he's endearingly protective; and she builds a romance with Wes Caldwell that's almost too good to be true. Watch out, Savannah! Rosenthal’s prose is occasionally clunky, focusing on inconsequential details, but her heroine's likability makes the flaws forgivable. After some impressive investigative work and a few moments of jeopardy, Savannah cracks the case. Her love life, however, may be less predictable.

Soapy, fast-paced fun with a murder thrown in for good measure.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-250-04035-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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