A poignant romance that explores the complexities of a long-distance relationship.



Personal and professional pressures threaten to undermine a young couple’s attachment in this sequel.

Matthew Campbell and Lilia Bennett-Parker could not be happier. Friends since childhood, the two have watched their relationship blossom into a long-distance romance. Lilia, a cellist, attends graduate school in Boston while Matt lives in Pennsylvania, where his company, Knowledge Portal, is a leader in math and science education software. During a performance in Boston, Lilia catches the eye of Eduardo Santana, an acclaimed pianist and composer. He is writing a score for a new film and approaches Lilia with an offer to audition for the orchestra that will play the music. Lilia is conflicted by the proposal because she will need to move to California. Matt has problems of his own in Pennsylvania. His brother, Paul, a recovering addict, has moved back home, and Matt’s business partner wants to enter the online competitive gaming market. Matt is supportive when Lilia is accepted into the orchestra, but the distance puts a strain on their relationship. As they face professional stress and personal tragedy, and Eduardo’s campaign to seduce Lilia intensifies, they wonder whether their love will survive. Carr’s (The Bennett Women, 2015) novel is fast-paced and satisfying and could be enjoyed as a stand-alone. The author is adept at rendering a vivid portrait of Matt’s and Lilia’s distinctive worlds. Matt is passionate about STEM education while Lilia’s string-instrument talents lead her to California playing alongside the best musicians in the industry. The couple are surrounded by strong supporting characters, including the dashing Eduardo and violinist Mei Li, whose desire to become a mother culminates in a health crisis. Although the dialogue occasionally lapses into exposition (“Anyway, we’ve known each other since we were kids,” says Matt. “Having our grandparents live next door to one another”) and some of the subplots are resolved a little too conveniently, the story is well-developed. Ultimately, Carr demonstrates a knack for creating appealing and nuanced characters.

A poignant romance that explores the complexities of a long-distance relationship.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-973867-94-4

Page Count: 472

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2017

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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