An introspective novel that reveals the depths of human connection and the struggle to overcome loneliness and trauma.


A chance meeting in Paris sends two Americans into a relationship that forces them both to consider how well they know themselves and those around them in D’Agincourt’s (All Most, 2015, etc.) latest novel.

Jacob Printz, apparently in his early 40s, is a political campaign manager who can talk his way out of anything. But after his sister, Catherine, dies, he drops the various strands of his life and flies to Paris, with no plans other than to escape grief. Greta Hatler, 12 years Jacob’s junior, is similarly aimless; during a semester studying art history in Florence, Greta falls in love with her Italian lecturer, Tomasso. But now the semester is over, Greta is in Paris, and all she has is Tomasso’s ring and vague guilt. Tomasso remains a mystery for much of the novel as Greta attempts to piece together her affair and reconcile her memories; the last thing that she recalls about Tomasso is that he may be dying. In Paris, Jacob and Greta are thrown together not by romantic attraction but by twists of fate. Greta loses the ring, and Jacob returns it to her. But the cafe to which they retreat almost becomes the target of a suicide bomber. This layer of danger brings the two characters closer as they confront their fears and grief. D’Agincourt offers a quiet novel about trauma, memory, and how well one can understand another person. She often compares people and artworks, showing how both can be the subjects of speculation and interpretation. At one point, she describes how Greta, seeking to understand Tomasso, imagines his childhood: “He must have been precocious…rambunctious on the playground, needing to be the leader.” But then Tomasso tells her how wrong her imaginings are. Via third-person narration, D’Agincourt effectively steps into the heads of both Jacob and Greta, seamlessly integrating their perspectives and acute senses of loneliness. Despite their desire to connect, the characters lack the ability to adequately communicate their feelings. However, their flaws also give them complex interior lives that propel the novel forward.

An introspective novel that reveals the depths of human connection and the struggle to overcome loneliness and trauma.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9891745-9-6

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Portmay Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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