A well-constructed, if rather straightforward, modern adaptation of the Book of Job.



Chynoweth (The Runaway Prophet, 2016, etc.) retells the biblical story of Job in this contemporary novel.

Seth Jacobs has everything a man could want: a 40-room mansion on 200 acres, a national chain of celebrated waterfront restaurants, wealth, influence, a beautiful wife, and accomplished and loving children. During a delay on the Boston subway, Seth considers how lucky he is to lead the life he does. Unfortunately, that life comes crashing down the moment Seth gets back above ground. He walks into his Boston restaurant to discover that a severe case of food poisoning has broken out among his customers: “He looked into the chandeliered main dining room and saw a hundred or so well-dressed men and women in different states of sickness, their faces contorted in varying degrees of pain.” One of the afflicted is a U.S. senator, who ends up dying as a result. Later that same night, his sons are involved in a car accident that leaves one in a coma and the other charged with driving while intoxicated. One by one, the pillars of support and fortune in Seth’s life begin to topple: he loses his family, his business, and even his health. Like the protagonist in the Book of Job, Seth sees his life utterly destroyed. The only question that remains is whether his faith has been demolished as well. Chynoweth constructs—and then deconstructs —Seth’s life with an eye for detail and an inventive sense of how one tragedy can beget the next. While Seth’s existence is depicted as almost cartoonishly lavish at the beginning (and the protagonist portrayed as cloyingly virtuous), once his trials begin the reader cannot help but feel sympathy for him. The book is a fairly faithful expansion of the familiar story of Job, and so things unfold in a more or less predictable fashion. Those looking for twists and turns may become a bit bored with the archetypical plot, but for readers content with an exploration of what a contemporary Job might look like, Chynoweth’s tale should more than satisfy.

A well-constructed, if rather straightforward, modern adaptation of the Book of Job.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68350-291-3

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2017

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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