An enjoyable university tale for readers who appreciate an older heroine, drama, and romance.


A 50-something career woman considers her next move when things don’t go as planned in this novel about higher education politics.

Georgia Davis is the associate vice president of the public relations office at Georgia Central University, a large Southern state institution. Georgia has focused all of her efforts on her job, at the expense of her personal life. So when she is passed over for the promotion she has worked and studied for, she is furious. Instead, Paul Van Horne, the new university president and an Ivy Leaguer from the Northern U.S., chooses one of his old buddies from Princeton, Carl Overstreet. Carl had been in charge of public relations at a small college in New York but doesn’t have Georgia’s experience at a big state school or a higher degree. (Georgia is finishing her Ph.D. in public relations.) To her dismay, Carl is an alcoholic who speaks brusquely to the public relations staff, making enemies. In addition, he is extremely preoccupied with the fact that he is still in love with Paul’s wife, Elena. Then there’s Georgia’s friend Marina Roberson, a development officer, who has been inappropriately propositioned by an important donor. Her supervisor pressures her to continue meeting with him despite her discomfort. Meanwhile, Georgia must decide how she wants to handle Paul’s slight, considering whether to get to know Carl better and support him or try to find a new position. The discussions of sexual politics in the workplace are timely, and it’s always refreshing to read a book with an older female protagonist. While there is an almost overwhelming number of characters, the tale skillfully dramatizes the messiness of university politics. Some things that happen aren’t strictly realistic, such as some shenanigans with emails, but it’s not out of place within the gossipy territory of the story. The resolutions are satisfying despite, or even because of, some ludicrous plot turns. Pritchett’s (Making Lemonade, 2016) writing is clear and sometimes quite a bit detailed—she can give a lot of information on a subject that the characters are addressing. The tie-in to her previous work (Georgia meets that novel’s star, Missouri Rothman) is a bonus.

An enjoyable university tale for readers who appreciate an older heroine, drama, and romance.

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61296-979-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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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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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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