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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

Did you like this book?