A brutal, cinematic tale of mass murder.



In this debut novel of the Armenian genocide, ethnic cleansing nearly annihilates two close-knit families.

The Elmassians and the Bedrosians live in Bayburt, Turkey, in the early 20th century. The respective families of patriarchs Bedros Elmassian and Megerdich Bedrosian are united by longtime friendship and, later, marriage when Megerdich’s youngest son, Papken, marries Bedros’ daughter, Emma. The governor of Bayburt, Muhammad Kasaba, attends their wedding; he’s a Turkish Muslim and the Elmassians and Bedrosians are Armenian Christians. The relationship between Muhammad and these two Armenian families is notable in a time when misconceptions about Armenian Christians brew resentment in the Ottoman Empire: “We have to perform five years of military service. The Armenians pay a tax and avoid serving at all. While we’re off defending Turkey, they take advantage of our absence to gain control of agriculture and trade.”(At the start of this novel, it’s noted that “all able-bodied Armenian men were conscripted into service last year.”) This resentment results in the murder of an important family figure early on, and also in a governmental order that all Armenians be deported from Bayburt. This sets off a series of horrors that results in the murders of many Armenians, and Bosland doesn’t spare readers the brutality of the events at hand. Rosmerta Bedrosian, the daughter of Megerdich, emerges as the story’s central figure as the gruesome cruelty around her makes it increasingly challenging for her to heed her father’s injunction: “Do what you must to survive. When there is life, there is hope.” The author makes sure that this does not come off as a contrived moment of sentimentality; the words echo in Rosmerta’s mind as she witnesses rape, the deaths of infants, rampant disease, and many other forms of suffering—effectively revealing to readers the challenge of finding hope, or even the will to live, when faced with genocide. But as Bosland highlights in an epigraph and in his author’s note, it’s essential to chronicle such terrible things: “Failure to remember the Armenian Genocide for what it was made it difficult for the world to recognize what was happening in Germany during World War II.”

A brutal, cinematic tale of mass murder.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73416-621-7

Page Count: 242

Publisher: Read All Over Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2019

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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