An intriguing if ultimately frustrating blend of sci-fi and New Age philosophy.

Day of Forgiveness

In this contemplative sci-fi—the prequel to Love, Light and Labor (1995)—Anthony offers an enticing glimpse into a more utopian Earth.

This novel introduces readers to Tobias Sinclair, a lawyer-turned-author-turned–reluctant savior of the human race. At first, Tobias is a scuffling New-Age hack, on the road promoting his latest book. But a knock on his head during a mugging gives him a whole new perspective on the universe, which he then takes to “the people of the earth.” That’s because, as he explains, Tobias feels a sense of urgency to help them survive: “I continue to think that somehow we will all die, or at least our society will die, if we don’t restructure the way we view ourselves.” The bulk of the novel finds Tobias, aided by friends Mill and Jimmy, attempting to bring others around to his humanistic way of thinking as he perpetually runs into self-interest and sectarianism while espousing forgiveness and togetherness. He says exasperatedly, “If we continue to kill and mistreat one another, we will be a doomed species.” Then, in an unexpected but worthwhile twist, extraterrestrials reveal themselves to Tobias. While the aliens applaud his lofty goals, they fear he’s revealing too much too soon for the humans to process. As alien spokesman Stokes says, “They don’t like change, and they just think of you as a dangerous threat.” Tobias works well as a flawed protagonist who can’t seem to heal his own fractured family while striving to save humanity. His friends are serviceable sidekicks, but most of the other characters are merely faceless, intransigent opposition. Anthony offers thought-provoking ideas, yet, with too much philosophy and not enough action, the novel seems much longer than it is. It’s hard to save people from themselves if they’ve stopped listening early in the sermon.

An intriguing if ultimately frustrating blend of sci-fi and New Age philosophy.

Pub Date: May 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9743600-2-7

Page Count: 266

Publisher: Paul Anthony Corley

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2015

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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