A stunning work of historical fiction, with many points of comparison to Canadian Guy Vanderhaeghe’s The Last Crossing.



A young Englishman’s North American adventure during the War of 1812.

In a preface, Scottish author Elphinstone (The Sea Road, 2001, etc.), grandniece of James Fenimore Cooper, identifies her narrative as a memoir written some 20 years after the events it records by her protagonist, Lakeland Quaker farmer Mark Greenhow. It’s the story of his journey to “Upper (i.e., eastern) Canada” in search of his sister Rachel, excommunicated by the Society of Friends after she had fled from a mission in York with her non-Quaker lover and eventual husband Alan Mackenzie, an employee of the bustling North West trading company. The illusion of a past time is beautifully sustained by Elphinstone’s detailed re-creations of indigenous (mostly Native Canadian and American) period detail, and by her narrator’s reserved and wondering voice, whose lilting, dignified rhythms perfectly capture his unshakeable goodness and innocence. Mark’s adventures take him not only across Canada’s vast expanse with the “voyageurs” who transport furs for sale but into broader understandings of his sister’s courageous and rebellious spirit, and of the integrity and value of cultures completely alien to all he knows: those of the native tribes caught up in the burgeoning war between old England and young America. Even more to the point are Mark’s evolving relationships with his half-French, half-Indian guide and mentor Loic, as well as with the elusive Alan Mackenzie, whose uncertain loyalties to both Rachael and his supposed political allies open the ingenuous Quaker’s eyes to moral complexities he grows to understand and acknowledge (e.g., asking himself “whether a man should be held guilty of a sin that is entirely invisible to his own conscience”). His voyage is thus a passage to greater wisdom, tolerance, and wholeness.

A stunning work of historical fiction, with many points of comparison to Canadian Guy Vanderhaeghe’s The Last Crossing.

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2004

ISBN: 1-55278-375-8

Page Count: 466

Publisher: Canongate

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2004

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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