This dynamic, genre-bending tale involving dreams and the Roanoke Colony delivers new discoveries and venerable truths.

DANGEROUS DREAMS

A STORY OF THE LOST COLONY OF ROANOKE

A debut historical novel weaves a tale of youth, conflict, loss, and choice through one of America’s greatest mysteries.

Allie O’Shay has, in some ways, left her past behind, departing her family’s cattle ranch to pursue a doctorate in psychology. But the past is no simple thing, and Allie begins having strange, impossibly vivid dreams that seem to be genuine history, not fantasy. The dreams center on the Roanoke Colony, filling in the gaps of just how the settlement vanished. In particular, Allie feels drawn to a young colonist named Emily Colman, who’s particularly embroiled in the turmoil of Roanoke. Emily’s story offers a portrait of the colony: the escalating tensions and disastrous errors in dealing with the local Native American tribes, and the elation and grief as both new life and swift death come to Roanoke. Finally, there are Emily’s own timeless tribulations, as she contends with the romantic attentions of multiple men and faces a decision that could take her life places she never thought possible. Allie struggles to make sense of the dreams, and turns to everything from family history to cutting-edge dream theory to drugs in order to delve deeper. What’s more, as conditions in Emily’s timeline deteriorate, Allie learns she may be approaching an end to the dreams, leading to a terrifying conclusion that has wreaked havoc on the minds of women throughout her family line. Rhynard’s two compelling tales manage to combine powerful emotionality with thorough research, as both the investigations into dream theory in the present timeline and the colonial activities of the past are deftly detailed without overwhelming the characters or story. Similarly, while the narration centers on Emily and Allie, it also effectively incorporates the perspectives of all the other significant characters without becoming confusing. It’s possible that a chapter with more descriptions of Allie’s life immediately before the dreams began would have allowed readers to connect with her more in the novel’s early parts. But the suspense of the Roanoke story provides plenty of incentive to keep reading until Allie’s sections develop more weight.

This dynamic, genre-bending tale involving dreams and the Roanoke Colony delivers new discoveries and venerable truths.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5347-4081-5

Page Count: 612

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2016

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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