A gorgeous mystery of love that twists into curses.

THE LAST TO SEE ME

One hundred years after her death, Emma Rose Finnis still haunts Lambry House, nestled along the harsh coast of northern California. When the last of the Lambrys dies however, Emma must match wits with a ghost hunter who's come to cleanse the estate of her spirit.

Dressler (The Deadwood Beetle, 2001, etc.) conjures a bewitching seacoast village swathed in fog and rimmed by fierce, cold, crashing waves. It’s a strange parallel world in which ghost hunters have rid most towns of all ghosts, revenants unconvinced of their own deaths. Clever and careful, Emma has avoided complete obliteration from the hunters’ strange weapons, yet the arrival of the Danes, who hope to renovate the historic estate, provokes her. Able to manipulate the physical world, Emma locks them in a pantry, bewilders them into thinking they're drowning, and then kicks them roughly into the hallway. The realtor, Ellen, is astonished when, instead of fleeing the premises, Mr. Dane immediately signs a contract for the house, vowing to rid the place of its ghost. Pratt, the hunter, is a cruelly calculating man, but Emma may well prove his match. Dressler’s tale compellingly shifts and slips between Emma’s long-buried life story and her increasingly eerie cat-and-mouse game with Pratt. A century ago, riven with loss—of her mother to childbirth, of her father to a horrific shipping accident—Emma gamely accepts Mrs. Augustus Lambry’s lucrative offer to work for the new family up at the lighthouse, an offer she knows is intended to keep her awayfrom Quint, the family's eldest son. Mrs. Lambry's ploy, however, sets into motion a series of disasters. Quint, utterly besotted, follows Emma to her new post, but his parents’ opposition frustrates him. Meanwhile the lighthouse keeper has noticed Emma’s beauty. As the veil lifts on Emma’s star-crossed fate, more secrets come to light, and Pratt’s relentless pursuit coils into dangerous waters.

A gorgeous mystery of love that twists into curses.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2067-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

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CIRCE

A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch.

“Monsters are a boon for gods. Imagine all the prayers.” So says Circe, a sly, petulant, and finally commanding voice that narrates the entirety of Miller’s dazzling second novel. The writer returns to Homer, the wellspring that led her to an Orange Prize for The Song of Achilles (2012). This time, she dips into The Odyssey for the legend of Circe, a nymph who turns Odysseus’ crew of men into pigs. The novel, with its distinctive feminist tang, starts with the sentence: “When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.” Readers will relish following the puzzle of this unpromising daughter of the sun god Helios and his wife, Perse, who had negligible use for their child. It takes banishment to the island Aeaea for Circe to sense her calling as a sorceress: “I will not be like a bird bred in a cage, I thought, too dull to fly even when the door stands open. I stepped into those woods and my life began.” This lonely, scorned figure learns herbs and potions, surrounds herself with lions, and, in a heart-stopping chapter, outwits the monster Scylla to propel Daedalus and his boat to safety. She makes lovers of Hermes and then two mortal men. She midwifes the birth of the Minotaur on Crete and performs her own C-section. And as she grows in power, she muses that “not even Odysseus could talk his way past [her] witchcraft. He had talked his way past the witch instead.” Circe’s fascination with mortals becomes the book’s marrow and delivers its thrilling ending. All the while, the supernatural sits intriguingly alongside “the tonic of ordinary things.” A few passages coil toward melodrama, and one inelegant line after a rape seems jarringly modern, but the spell holds fast. Expect Miller’s readership to mushroom like one of Circe’s spells.

Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-55634-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

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ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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