by Mary Beth Keane ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2009
Sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes joyous and tender—one of those stories that lingers in the reader’s memory as a lived...
From 2005 Pushcart Prize nominee Keane, a richly moving first novel about Irish immigration to America in the late 20th century.
As an 11-year-old child in the 1950s, Michael Ward meets Greta and Johanna Cahill when his gypsy mother dies at the Cahills’ doorstep in isolated western Ireland. Though fascinated, the little Cahill girls consider the caravan of “travelers” less than respectable, although the Cahills themselves are impoverished, living off the salmon they poach from a neighboring landowner. Skinny, nearsighted eight-year-old Greta is considered slightly loopy, especially in contrast to older assertive Johanna, but her life is almost idyllic until her father dies while caught poaching. When adolescent Michael, rejecting his father’s gypsy lifestyle, runs away to the Cahills, Johanna makes him part of her secret plan to immigrate to America. Afraid that Ireland offers no future, Johanna’s mother approves of the move and sends Greta along against her wishes. Ironically, in New York the girls’ roles reverse. Pregnant with Michael’s baby although she does not love him, Johanna becomes depressed and withdrawn while Greta thrives, landing a good job at Bloomingdales. As Greta teaches dependable, streetwise Michael to read, they fall innocently in love. Shortly after baby Julia is born, Johanna runs away, leaving Greta and Michael to raise Julia with the children they eventually have together. Never formally married, they share the ups and downs of a loving working-class life together. At first resentful, then fearing that Johanna will claim Julia and take her away, Greta avoids seeing Johanna or the rest of her family. Having learned the truth, Julia orchestrates a family reunion to coincide with Michael’s retirement (and the painful onset of early Alzheimer’s). Keane gives her characters range and complexity so that there are no victims or villains.Sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes joyous and tender—one of those stories that lingers in the reader’s memory as a lived experience.
Pub Date: May 20, 2009
Page Count: 392
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2009
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by Lisa Jewell ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 24, 2018
Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.
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
Page Count: 368
Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018
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by Christina Lauren ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 10, 2018
With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.
Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.
Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.
Pub Date: April 10, 2018
Page Count: 416
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018
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