A fine debut, written with style and heart.


Love and second chances sprout like fragile desert wildflowers in this winsome romance.

With her husband in a coma for six years now, Melanie Greyson figures it’s time to start over, so she packs up and moves to the northern Arizona village of Buena Suerte to take a teaching job. Her three kids—especially 17-year-old daughter K.C, dragged away from her friends and trumpet lessons during her senior year—are not amused when they see the tiny burg and the flyblown trailer in which they’ll be living. The Greysons’ malaise lifts, though, when Jesse Cockran, the school’s new music teacher, complete with pony tail, piercing blue eyes, well-muscled frame and haunting trumpet technique, roars up on his Harley and moves in across the street. Soon Jesse is flirting up a storm with Melanie and inspiring K.C., who finds her dreamboat in football captain Cooke Nasby, a soulful if sometimes exasperating boy from the Apache reservation. As Melanie and K.C. plunge into their sometimes tender, sometimes testy romances—the one young and passionate, the other mature and much more passionate—readers will settle happily in with their engaging story, which the author tells with a good feel for the tingling excitement, awkward hesitancies and sudden abandon of new love. Alas, complications both external and internal threaten their bliss: K.C. and Cooke confront the minefield of sex, Jesse battles a hostile school board president and a junkie, harridan ex-wife, and Melanie finds herself torn between her raging attraction to Jesse and her loyalty to her husband—a dilemma made more agonizing by family pressure to pull the plug. In her first novel, Hinton strikes a nice balance between realism and melodrama. She writes a supple prose and populates her small but by no means insignificant town with vivid characters possessing rich, complex emotional lives. We can’t help rooting for Melanie and K.C. as they fight their way through the tug-of-war between desire and responsibility.

A fine debut, written with style and heart.

Pub Date: July 30, 2007

ISBN: 978-1412098410

Page Count: 442

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet