A bewitching tale of love across centuries.

READ REVIEW

THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS

When Xanthe Westlake and her mother, Flora—who's been blindsided by a nasty divorce—leave London to purchase an antiques shop in Marlborough, a 17th-century silver key belt, or chatelaine, begins to sing to Xanthe, pulling her into a time-traveling mission to save a wrongly accused servant girl.

Xanthe, gifted with psychometry, sometimes feels an emotional tug from the antiques she and Flora sell. Yet no artifact has sung so loudly and insistently as the chatelaine. As Xanthe clears the gardens behind their store, she discovers that the chatelaine’s energy increases the closer she moves toward a strange, rounded building, which turns out to be a blind house, a jail for suspected criminals awaiting trial. Local legend says the blind house sits at the intersection of two powerful ley lines. Although Xanthe is curious about the ley lines, the overwhelming sense of anguish in the blind house concerns her until she begins to be harassed by the ghost of Margaret Merton, a woman burned at the stake for Catholic beliefs. Mistress Merton desperately needs Xanthe to use the chatelaine and blind house to travel back in time to save the life of Alice, a maidservant accused of theft. Once she falls back in time, however, Xanthe’s task is complicated by the difficult machinations of a legal system that undercuts the poor, not to mention the possibilities of love with Samuel Appleby, a talented architect drawn to Xanthe’s unconventional ways. Attentive to historical detail as well as beautifully delineated scenes, Brackston (The Return of the Witch, 2016, etc.) has crafted rich characters with plausible concerns: Xanthe is not simply a time-traveling woman in search of love; she has wrongfully suffered jail time herself because of her no-good, drug-addicted ex-boyfriend and worries for her feisty yet arthritic mother, saddled with frozen bank accounts. Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander collection will delight in Brackston’s new series and eagerly await its second installment.

A bewitching tale of love across centuries.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-07243-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE CITY WE BECAME

This extremely urban fantasy, a love/hate song to and rallying cry for the author’s home of New York, expands her story “The City, Born Great” (from How Long ’Til Black Future Month, 2018).

When a great city reaches the point when it's ready to come to life, it chooses a human avatar, who guides the city through its birthing and contends with an extradimensional Enemy who seeks to strike at this vulnerable moment. Now, it is New York City’s time to be born, but its avatar is too weakened by the battle to complete the process. So each of the individual boroughs instantiates its own avatar to continue the fight. Manhattan is a multiracial grad student new to the city with a secret violent past that he can no longer quite remember; Brooklyn is an African American rap star–turned–lawyer and city councilwoman; Queens is an Indian math whiz here on a visa; the Bronx is a tough Lenape woman who runs a nonprofit art center; and Staten Island is a frightened and insular Irish American woman who wants nothing to do with the other four. Can these boroughs successfully awaken and heal their primary avatar and repel the invading white tentacles of the Enemy? The novel is a bold calling out of the racial tensions dividing not only New York City, but the U.S. as a whole; it underscores that people of color are an integral part of the city’s tapestry even if some white people prefer to treat them as interlopers. It's no accident that the only white avatar is the racist woman representing Staten Island, nor that the Enemy appears as a Woman in White who employs the forces of racism and gentrification in her invasion; her true self is openly inspired by the tropes of the xenophobic author H.P. Lovecraft. Although the story is a fantasy, many aspects of the plot draw on contemporary incidents. In the real world, white people don’t need a nudge from an eldritch abomination to call down a violent police reaction on people of color innocently conducting their daily lives, and just as in the book, third parties are fraudulently transferring property deeds from African American homeowners in Brooklyn, and gentrification forces out the people who made the neighborhood attractive in the first place. In the face of these behaviors, whataboutism, #BothSides, and #NotAllWhitePeople are feeble arguments.

Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-50984-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Orbit

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more