An entertaining, informative account of the beginnings of European settlement in North America.

THE CIRCLE BROKEN

New novel by retired education professor Johnston explores the competing claims of love, commerce and religion in 17th-century Canada.

This work of historical fiction mines its author’s longstanding interest in Native American  history and culture in order to craft an account of the early days of European settlement in Canada. The narrative follows Remy Moisson, a young Frenchman who has abandoned a promising Jesuit education to seek his fortune overseas. Through Remy’s actions and journal entries, the reader gains an insightful picture of a representative young man’s intellectual and personal development as he encounters the differing perspectives of his European peers and the peoples of the New World. Most important is his experience of falling in love with Tika, a young Wendat woman, who also serves as a liaison between the local Jesuit missionary and her tribe. As the novel unfolds, this romance not only places both Remy and Tika in grave danger, but also forces each to confront the other’s traditional practices and beliefs. This theme of cultural friction is not limited to the story of the star-crossed lovers. Johnston skillfully depicts the competing perspectives of commercial explorers and missionaries, showing validity in each, even as both are subtly critiqued. Among the strongest passages in the novel are the fictional letters exchanged between Jesuit priests on far-flung missions. Johnston adeptly conveys these characters’ fears and aspirations while also giving a convincing sense of their frame of reference. Although some readers may wish that Johnston had drawn the protagonist with equal subtlety, Remy in fact fits into a long tradition of upstanding adventure heroes, such as Jim Hawkins or D’Artagnan, upon whom a wide range of readers can project their own personalities. In any event, the complex character of Tika, caught between love and tradition, provides an insightful point of contrast. Though the generally brisk narrative sometimes drags, readers will nonetheless find themselves enriched by the various bits of historical information Johnston has succeeded in weaving into his story.

An entertaining, informative account of the beginnings of European settlement in North America.

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2010

ISBN: 978-1426917981

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2010

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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