A breezy but uneven look at romance among the jet set.



A wealthy widow’s search for love leads to a voyage of self-discovery and a plethora of complications in this debut novel.

Mallory Hill is a businesswoman who’s experienced a lifetime’s worth of achievement and heartbreaking loss. Born in America, she relocated to Europe, where she built a successful company with her second husband. They sold the company to travel around the world, but he died while they were in Hong Kong. She now divides her time between London and Cannes, France, and dates Michael Graham, a married man who says he will never leave his wife. For her 50th birthday, she treats herself to 10 days at the Chiva Som spa in Thailand. While there, she meets Brad Miller, a retired Canadian businessman, who shares her passion for travel. Mallory is besotted with Brad and thinks he may be “Husband Number Three,” but their romance will have to wait until he returns from Nepal. In the meantime, Mallory ends her relationship with Michael and moves to Cannes, where she will reunite with Brad. While she waits for Brad to contact her, Mallory amuses herself by accepting dates with several eligible bachelors, including Derek Dearing, a paunchy older man, and Dandridge Larkin, a dashing, ambitious producer. Soon Brad’s unusual behavior and a series of broken promises cause her to question if there’s more to him than meets the eye. Arkus’ book presents an engaging, briskly paced tale of a woman’s quest for love and fulfillment that’s bolstered by a large cast of characters and a wicked sense of humor. Mallory is a winsome heroine whose gregarious and adventurous personality attracts a wide range of friends and potential suitors. Her desire for true love is the story’s emotional center and the source of the novel’s most humorous moments, particularly a country-house encounter with a friend’s randy husband. Her relationship with Brad blossoms quickly, and his character is primarily developed through phone calls and a short visit by his brother, Sanford. The strong supporting characters include Mallory’s close friend Kate Handler, a confidante with an equally tumultuous romantic life, and Michael. That said, inconsistent editing sometimes slows the narrative’s momentum. For example, Mallory’s friend Colleen’s last name is given as both “O’Brien” and “O’Brian,” and the actress Brigitte Bardot is referred to as “Bridget Bardot.”

A breezy but uneven look at romance among the jet set.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-68470-372-2

Page Count: 201

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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