A rather stale continuation of the engaging love story introduced in Domovitch’s previous novel.


Domovitch’s sequel to Scorpio Rising (2011) continues the love story of Alex and Brigitte, this time in America.

When Alex Ivanov returns to New York from Paris with his new bride, Brigitte, and her young son, David, his ambition and lust for power threaten their happiness. Once a penniless aspiring architect whose job fell victim to the scheming of a fellow employee, Alex begins to find success in real estate development; through his ruthlessness and daring, he soon becomes a wealthy, powerful developer. Realizing that her own promising career as a painter is incompatible with Alex’s ambition to break into high society, Brigitte gives up art and devotes herself to helping her husband, despite his growing aloofness. As the years pass, Alex begins grooming David to become his successor, without consideration for David’s own artistic inclinations and disregard for material wealth. In denial of Alex’s prolific, indiscreet philandering, Brigitte continues to efface herself in service to her husband—to both her and her son’s detriment. Though Alex achieves success beyond most people’s wildest dreams, it never seems to be enough; he begins to overreach, taking on increasingly risky projects that threaten to bankrupt his company. While Alex deals with a personal tragedy and an increasingly fractured marriage, the company’s precarious position is threatened even further. Alex now stands to lose everything, even his family. Unfortunately, the sequel is weaker than the original title. Alex’s megalomania and Brigitte’s rejection of her own goals are rendered too simplistically to be compelling. David is hardly developed as a character, despite his importance to the plot. Brigitte’s passivity throughout the novel comes as a disappointment; she’s much less dynamic than she was in the first book, so the deterioration of her marriage is less affecting than it could have been. Alex’s seamless rise from poverty to social prominence strains credibility at times, and the depiction of his business dealings is rather unsophisticated. One problem may be that the novel spans more years than its predecessor, whereby few events or emotional developments are explored in enough detail to provide the depth that could save the plot from cliché.

A rather stale continuation of the engaging love story introduced in Domovitch’s previous novel.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-1466242340

Page Count: 328

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2012

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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

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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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