Killing time before starting his civilian life, an Aussie sailor signs on with the crew of an American yacht and promptly falls in love with the owner's gorgeous, young fiancÇe—in a clever romance by a master entertainer. The Second World War has been over for seven years, but big, handsome Bryan Cavanaugh, late of His Majesty's Australian Navy, is still trying to figure out what to do with his life. He's gotten his law degree, but hanging out his shingle in Melbourne holds no appeal. Does he want Europe? The US? To support himself and his dithering, Bryan, a skilled shiphandler, has been bumming around the Med, doing whatever people will hire him to do. American millionaire Declan Molloy hires him to crew his grand new yacht, the Salamandra d'Oro. Molloy's a brooding, two-fisted rich guy who's decided to settle down long enough to marry into one of Europe's most distinguished families, the Farnesi of Italy and the Vatican. His fiancÇe, selected with the help of the Pope's closest advisors, is the astonishingly beautiful, thoroughly spoiled, and shockingly young Giulia Farnesi. The middle-class Cavanaugh finds himself in uncharted waters. Molloy's crew also includes a resourceful Cunard stewardess to relieve his sexual needs (since Giulia must remain a virgin), a couple of male American dancers, a philosophizing cook, and Molloy's lifelong Greco-American chum, who is rather more than chum. In addition to his relationship with the See of Rome, Molloy does business with the CIA—business that lands his dear friend in the hospital and puts young Bryan, badly smitten with Giulia, into the number one spot on the crew. When Molloy flies off to Naples to be with his battered pal, Giulia, Bryan, and Molloy's aristocratic guests have time to get into all sorts of interesting trouble. Very charming. It's an old song, but West (The Masterclass, 1991, etc. etc.) sure knows the words and has a great voice. (First printing of 125,000)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1993

ISBN: 1-55611-370-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Donald Fine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1993

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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