Gentle humor, deeply emotional stories drawn from everyday life—Taylor's books are what Garrison Keillor might have produced...

AN IRISH DOCTOR IN LOVE AND AT SEA

Taylor (An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War, 2014, etc.) revisits his beloved Irish medico, Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, as he faces new challenges in his practice and reconciles with World War II demons.

The chapters alternate between the mid-1960s in Balleybucklebo and the early 1940s, when O'Reilly left the HMS Warspite for anesthesiology training at the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar in Portsmouth. Living ashore provides O'Reilly an opportunity to marry his fiancee, Deirdre. Taylor is superb on how characters live, work, and love each other, and O’Reilly’s deep feeling for Deirdre anchors the tale. Humor and pathos reign as the scene shifts to 1964. At a medical school class reunion, O’Reilly notices former classmate Ronald Fitzgerald displaying signs of illness, but Fitzgerald angrily rejects his gentle observation. Fitzgerald’s a prim, closed-off person, but once his symptoms become critical, he calls O’Reilly, and a friendship blooms. As Balleybucklebo denizens enter, O’Reilly’s associate Barry descends into a funk since his fiancee, Sue, has met a charming French fellow while traveling. The Marquis of Balleybucklebo gets help from O’Reilly’s brother Lars in managing estate inheritance taxes. There’s plenty of ribald humor—"If your man Edgar Redmond there was at a wake, he’d not be satisfied unless he was the feckin’ corpse." The war years show young O’Reilly despairing over the carnage—"the butcher’s bill"—yet heroic in his duties, and in the happier 1960s segments, a thread about positive/negative blood types gets technical, but following along with O’Reilly on house calls through the green fields of Northern Ireland is constant good fun, especially when the local scallawag decides his ten mutt puppies are exotic Woolamarroo quokka herding dogs.

Gentle humor, deeply emotional stories drawn from everyday life—Taylor's books are what Garrison Keillor might have produced if he'd been born in Country Antrim.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7820-0

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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