A riveting character study that turns seemingly routine lives into something extraordinary.



In this debut novel, a small group of people in a New England cul-de-sac spend a bleak summer dabbling in deceit, aversion, and sordidness.

Dr. Carla Bishop, a new assistant professor of political science at Yale, moves to Staniford Drive in Dorset, Connecticut. She and her husband, Phil, a lawyer between jobs, are the only blacks in the community. Other cul-de-sac residents include Neil Testa, who has recently lost his father and is essentially a recluse, staying at home either drunk or stoned. Amanda Holbrooke is a homemaker living with her husband, Gavin, a security company owner, and their son, Kyle, who’ll start college in the fall. Seventeen-year-old Ethan Carlisle is infuriated by his new lacrosse position of team manager, which he assumes is due to his last-season flub that cost the team the state championship. Turmoil for everyone slowly creeps in. Phil’s inability to secure employment leads to apparent despondency; Amanda grows weary of Gavin’s incessant financial manipulation; and Ethan frequents Neil’s house to buy whatever booze or drugs the man has. While some community members’ fantasies may spark an extramarital affair, others’ resentments within their households carry over to their neighbors. All of this negativity is bound to explode into hostility—or something violent. Mancuso writes in a straightforward style that meticulously covers the individual narrative perspectives of Carla, Neil, Amanda, and Ethan. The novel offers a tense, anticipatory tale from the beginning, as the very first line specifies that one character is a mere month away from death. From there, the story deftly hints at the seediness bubbling beneath everyone’s lives. For example, Gavin controls Amanda with a biweekly allowance while Carla and Phil endure microaggressions at a neighborhood garden party. But Gavin’s domineering nature seems a precursor to physical abuse, and Amanda believes her husband is racist, even if not overtly. Despite readers’ knowing someone will die and watching certain players, like Neil, spiral downward, both the narrative and the characters are often unpredictable. All of these threads culminate in an uncompromising and unforgettable ending.

A riveting character study that turns seemingly routine lives into something extraordinary.

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949116-24-3

Page Count: 402

Publisher: Woodhall Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2020

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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