LAST STOP ON THE 6

A novel that brings the Bronx to teeming life with a wry marriage of drama and humor.

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A woman returns home to New York City and confronts her past in Dunn’s novel.

Theresa Angela Campanosi, a financially strapped, Italian American activist with a “tough-Bronx-girl vibe,” fled to Los Angeles, consumed with guilt over a fateful night of teenage carelessness that left her brother Jimmy paralyzed. Ten years later, when her mother mails her a one-way ticket home for Jimmy’s last-minute wedding, Angela knows something else is up. Her fears are confirmed when she returns to the Bronx to find Jimmy missing—the first in a string of difficulties that brings Angela in contact with various elements from days gone by: her childhood friend Billy, an artist and recovering addict working for Angela’s family’s exterminating business; her alcoholic father, who’s preoccupied with Jimmy’s childhood acting career; a closetful of plastic saints; and an unsavory man called “Fat Freddy” and his thuggish cronies. As seen through Angela’s eyes, the novel paints a portrait of a Bronx where a progressive anti-war activist still needs a “red slut dress” to do a business transaction with neighborhood muscle. Angela soon reveals herself to be an unreliable narrator, however, whose “bulldozing” manner seems to run in the family: Her mother is the queen in a hive of overbearing personalities, fuzzed by clichés but nevertheless complex in their motivations. The characters’ constant bickering, which sometimes feels more scripted than reflective of real life, brings the novel to a head at Billy’s art show, where “creepy-crawlies” take center stage in more ways than one. Set against the backdrop of America’s 1991 involvement in Kuwait and addressing addictions of all kinds, the novel dabbles in moralism but refuses to sacrifice its fast pace to pause for deep reflection. Ultimately, Dunn’s novel is a primer on the strength of family and the frailty of memory and a reminder that the only way we can truly understand those we love is to stop and listen; after all, Dunn reminds us, “forgiveness can’t happen in silence.”

A novel that brings the Bronx to teeming life with a wry marriage of drama and humor.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-59954-173-0

Page Count: 286

Publisher: Bordighera Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

FANGIRL DOWN

This golf romance is a winner.

A professional golfer trying to make a comeback hires his biggest fan to be his caddy.

Despondent and demoralized at his terrible season, professional golfer Wells Whitaker decides to quit the pro circuit. He’s already been dumped by his mentor, his sponsors, and his agent—why not throw in the towel himself? The only person left on his side is Josephine Doyle, his most devoted fan, a woman so dedicated to his career that she’s given herself the moniker “Wells’s Belle.” Josephine has been following the golfer’s career for years, and she can’t help but feel betrayed when he abandons the game. After a hurricane destroys her family’s Palm Beach pro shop, Josephine is surprised to find Wells at her door. He’s had a change of heart and is determined to give himself one last chance on the pro circuit. Wells has secured a spot at an upcoming tournament in San Antonio and wants Josephine to be his caddy. She can’t say no. The money she earns will allow her to rebuild the shop and afford health insurance, which is crucial for managing her diabetes. Once they’re at the tournament, their obvious camaraderie and their chemistry make them the target of gossip and speculation in the press. Wells feels intensely possessive and protective of Josephine while still respecting her autonomy, and Josephine learns that her faith in him was not misplaced. Although several of the initial plot pieces feel manufactured, the emotional connection between Josephine and Wells is vibrant and alive. They fit together perfectly, with each growing and benefiting from their professional and romantic partnership. Bailey delivers her trademark high-heat, spicy romance, but it’s the emotional connection between Wells and Josephine that makes the book a winner.

This golf romance is a winner.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2024

ISBN: 9780063308367

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

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