A wholesome and uplifting tale of rediscovered hope, love, and second chances, perfect for fans of breezy, beachy fiction.

READ REVIEW

THE GIFTS OF PELICAN ISLE

A young woman, devastated by the loss of her husband and unborn child, relocates to a remote island where the local culture helps her learn to live again. 

Gerler (Lessons I Learned from Nick Nack, 2014, etc.) introduces the story’s heroine, Ally Albright, after she has hit rock bottom. Ally mourns her husband and baby, who were killed when the family car was struck by a drunk driver. Emotionally ravaged and teetering on the edge of a psychotic breakdown, Ally has lost the will to live. She has abandoned her career as a teacher and spends her days closeted in her childhood bedroom. Her concerned parents, who have been nursing her through her grief, can’t figure out how to rouse her from her misery. Then one day, everything changes. A former professor contacts Ally, requesting that she help a struggling school. Located on a remote island off the coast of North Carolina, Pelican Isle Elementary is desperate for a first-grade teacher. Ally’s professor, Dr. Betsy Brown, persuades her to fill in temporarily, until a permanent replacement can be found. Within a matter of days on the island, Ally’s life, as well as her outlook, begins to evolve. Although school supplies and state funding are sorely lacking at Pelican Isle Elementary, enthusiasm for education and community spirit are present in abundance. As the Pelican Isle residents embrace Ally, she begins to find new purpose. When a local woman comes to her for help with a heart-wrenching conundrum, Ally begins to realize just how much Pelican Isle means to her. The fast-paced narrative style offers a host of plot twists and unexpected developments for the denizens of sleepy Pelican Isle that should keep readers eagerly turning pages. Gerler’s writing is replete with compassion and grace as she addresses issues of poverty, nationality, loss, and love that arise on this small island. At one point, Ally reads a volume of sonnets, a Christmas gift from a Pelican Isle denizen: “The cadence of the lines felt lovely as I spoke the words, so soft and tender. The poems were of love, and they touched my heart. Maybe I’d just never given sonnets a chance.” With finesse and wit, the author depicts the power of kindness in healing the human heart. 

A wholesome and uplifting tale of rediscovered hope, love, and second chances, perfect for fans of breezy, beachy fiction.

Pub Date: May 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5306-9168-5

Page Count: 250

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE GIVER OF STARS

Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more