Not a typical ghost story but a young woman learning about love, camaraderie, and self-identity —and possibly a spirit.

The Habitant

A NOVEL

From the The Habitants series , Vol. 1

A college freshman’s job at the campus library comes with new eccentric friends, creepy strangers, and perhaps a ghost in this debut supernatural tale.

With her mom suddenly unemployed, University of Oklahoma student Sarah Felton offers to get a position to help out with expenses. She applies at the library, where the circulation supervisor, impressed by her impromptu interview, hires her. It’s a rough start; her introduction to patron Dr. Patty Nakamura, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, consists of the woman declaring Sarah’s Pakistani co-worker Lubna a terrorist. But soon Sarah forms friendships with Lubna and student security guard Stanley and something a little more than friendship outside the library with nerdy but winsome Adam. Stanley is particularly unusual, a Native American descendent of shamans who claims he can see auras and ghosts— and that spirits sometimes roam the library. That may include Bernie, a woman evidently taking up residence there. It seems she’s something other than human, floating around the stacks and invisible to everyone, or at least most people. Bernie finds a connection to Sarah and may become what Stanley would call a spirit guide. Unable to speak with words, Bernie tries to communicate with Sarah through feelings. She hopes to warn the freshman about a guy Bernie’s dubbed TC, for The Creep, with a penchant for tampering with elevators and a sinister plan in the works. The novel is a drama first, giving a wide berth to genre conventions. The author, for example, smartly keeps Bernie ambiguous; Sarah proposes that the woman could be an alien, while Bernie herself isn’t sure—there’s no inkling of any sort of past. Sarah, meanwhile, is wholly engaging simply as a 19-year-old student. She hasn’t quite recovered from her dad’s death from lymphoma and worries about her blossoming romance with Adam after witnessing roommate Jennifer’s failed relationship. Readers anticipating spookiness may be dispirited: Bernie’s unequivocally amiable, TC’s unnerving but not outright scary, and Sarah and pals discuss but never investigate spirits. Sarah’s open-mindedness and endless curiosity, however, make her a perfect guide for readers into a world beyond tangible perception—even if it’s largely speculative.

Not a typical ghost story but a young woman learning about love, camaraderie, and self-identity —and possibly a spirit.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9969514-0-1

Page Count: 248

Publisher: PWM Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2016

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Hilderbrand’s portrait of the upper-crust Tate clan through the years is so deliciously addictive that it will be the “It”...

THE ISLAND

Queen of the summer novel—how could she not be, with all her stories set on an island—Hilderbrand delivers a beguiling ninth (The Castaways, 2009, etc.), featuring romance and mystery on isolated Tuckernuck Island.

The Tate family has had a house on Tuckernuck (just off the coast of swanky Nantucket) for generations. It has been empty for years, but now Birdie wants to spend a quiet mother-daughter week there with Chess before Chess’s wedding to Michael Morgan. Then the unthinkable happens—perfect Chess (beautiful, rich, well-bred food editor of Glamorous Home) dumps the equally perfect Michael. She quits her job, leaves her New York apartment for Birdie’s home in New Canaan, and all without explanation. Then the unraveling continues: Michael dies in a rock-climbing accident, leaving Chess not quite a widow, but devastated, guilty, unreachable in the shell of herself. Birdie invites her younger daughter Tate (a pretty, naïve computer genius) and her own bohemian sister India, whose husband, world-renowned sculptor Bill Bishop, killed himself years ago, to Tuckernuck for the month of July, in the hopes that the three of them can break through to Chess. Hunky Barrett Lee is their caretaker, coming from Nantucket twice a day to bring groceries and take away laundry (idyllic Tuckernuck is remote—no phone, no hot water, no ferry) as he’s also inspiring renewed lust in Tate, who has had a crush on him since she was a kid. The author jumps between the four women—Tate and her blossoming relationship with Barrett, India and her relationship with Lula Simpson, a painter at the Academy where India is a curator, Birdie, who is surprised by the recent kindnesses of ex-husband Grant, and finally Chess, who in her journal is uncoiling the sordid, sad circumstances of her break with normal life and Michael’s death.

Hilderbrand’s portrait of the upper-crust Tate clan through the years is so deliciously addictive that it will be the “It” beach book of the summer.

Pub Date: July 6, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-04387-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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