An optimistic, feel-good story that celebrates love, community, goodness, and the creation of family, however it might...

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A HAPPY CATASTROPHE

A matchmaker who believes herself able to see love shimmering in the air must get through a series of personal setbacks in her own life.

In this follow-up to Dawson’s Matchmaking for Beginners (2018), Marnie MacGraw and Patrick Delaney return, and the story is told through their perspectives. Marnie is a 33-year-old Florida transplant to Brooklyn, a magically influenced matchmaker, and the owner of a flower shop that has become a community hangout space. She loves Patrick, a prickly artist with significant physical and mental scarring from an explosion that, years earlier, killed his then-girlfriend. The pair live in a Brooklyn brownstone, where Patrick led an almost hermitlike existence in the basement apartment before Marnie inherited and moved into the building. A one-time sculptor, he can no longer create because of the scarring and pain in his hands. The story begins nearly four years into their relationship, with Marnie longing for a baby, Patrick uninterested in being a parent, and the universe taking over their lives as surprise after surprise is dropped into their laps. A broken condom; the return of Tessa, a one-night stand (well, two-night, she and Patrick are quick to point out) with a child in tow; the opportunity for Patrick to put on an art show in a new medium with as-yet-unpainted work; the arrival of Marnie’s mom from Florida; and the constant ups and downs in the lives of a handful of neighborhood teenagers are just the tip of the iceberg. The chaos brings Marnie to life and causes Patrick to withdraw ever further into himself. Dawson has created a truly quirky story, filled with a little bit of magic (think unicorn glitter and sparkles) and a lot of love. This is a long read leisurely told, but there is enough tension to keep the reader racing through its pages.

An optimistic, feel-good story that celebrates love, community, goodness, and the creation of family, however it might appear.

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0646-0

Page Count: 380

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A heartwarming portrait of a broken heart finding a little healing magic.

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IN FIVE YEARS

After acing a job interview and accepting a marriage proposal, Dannie Kohan has had the perfect day. That is, until she awakens to find herself five years in the future with a completely different man.

Just one hour in that alternate reality shakes Dannie to her core. After all, highly ambitious Dannie and her boyfriend, David, have plotted out their lives in minute detail, and the sexy man in her dream—was it a dream?—is most certainly not in the script. Serle (The Dinner List, 2018) deftly spins these magical threads into Dannie’s perfectly structured life, leaving not only Dannie, but also the reader wondering whether Dannie time traveled or hallucinated. Her best friend, Bella, would delight in the story given that she thinks Dannie is much too straight-laced, and some spicy dreaming might push Dannie to find someone more passionate than David. Unfortunately, glamorous Bella is in Europe with her latest lover. Ever pragmatic, Dannie consults her therapist, who almost concurs that it was likely a dream, and throws herself into her work. Pleased to have landed the job at a prestigious law firm, Dannie easily loses her worries in litigation. Soon four and a half years have passed with no wedding date set, and Bella is back in the U.S. with a new man in her life. A man who turns out to be literally the man of Dannie’s dream. The sheer fact of Aaron Gregory’s existence forces Dannie to reevaluate her trust in the laws of physics as well as her decision to marry David, a decision that seems less believable with each passing day. And as the architecture of Dannie’s overplanned life disintegrates, Serle twists and twines the remnants of her dream into a surprising future.

A heartwarming portrait of a broken heart finding a little healing magic.

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3744-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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