FLOWERS IN THE RAIN

AND OTHER STORIES

A second story collection by the British author of such runaway hits as The Shell Seekers and September, full of what can only be called quintessential women's magazine fiction, featuring tales for every major holiday, heroines straight out of the Laura Ashley catalogue, lots of National Trust properties in the background, comfortingly predictable endings, plenty of romance and even more sentimentality. Most conspicuous here are the shafted British thirtysomething female stories, like ``The Blackberry Day.'' In it, Claudia returns to the village in Scotland where she grew up only to read in the paper that the London businessman she's been dating has up and married someone else; fortunately, she reads this tidbit in the company of her old friend Magnus, whom she's just beginning to see with new eyes. Then there are Pilcher's studies of very recognizable dilemmas: the compromises required in marriage, as in ``Playing a Round with Love,'' with its much too easy, darling- we're-having-a-baby ending; connubial love in the golden years, rekindled in the ``The Watershed'' on the occasion of a 30th wedding-anniversary party; children hanging tough in the wake of a parent's death, as 12-year-old William does in ``The Dolls House''; and still more romance, typically between simple but ruggedly handsome farm managers and the princess-like daughters at the big house. Pilcher fans will doubtless go all atremble—even though her novels are much more satisfying than these unresolved stories. Others will find them platitudinous, obvious, and, in terms of scope and variety, a little like another article on 15 great ways to cook chicken.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 1991

ISBN: 0-312-06357-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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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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