A mythical story of two lovers whose connection transcends space and time.

READ REVIEW

Black Inked Pearl

A GIRL'S QUEST

The captivating tale of a young woman’s journey to reclaim her lost love.

Early in Finnegan’s debut novel, there’s a gush of confused emotion and panic: “She was too young she was not ready she was afraid she was terrified only fifteen not ready yet she must go now immediate like a brother nice-impossible too young sea too loud storm tangle-hair she was too young now run run run.” Fifteen-year-old Kate is just an ordinary Irish girl, terrible at math, fearful of the nuns in her school. But as Kate points out, she’s part of an epic love story that is continuously unfolding, waiting for her to step in and bring the story to its conclusion. Alongside the roaring Atlantic Ocean, she meets a mysterious young man and falls under his spell. But, frightened by the intensity of their connection, she rejects his ardor and runs from him. Seven years later, however, she feels compelled to find him and reignite their passion. Kate turns to God and finds that she must complete seven tasks to find her beloved, including traveling through Eden and hell. She relives the biblical tale of love and indiscretion in the Garden of Eden as she and her soulmate converse with the infamous snake and contemplate the apple. Before long, though, Kate appears to be on her way back to her Irish village, with traces of her saga standing as testimony that dreams can penetrate reality. Blurring the lines between poetry and prose, dreams and reality, Kate’s tale recalls the archetypal search for love, as the pursuit permeates every thought of Kate’s. Engaging readers with humor and insight, this unique tale is told through lyrical verse: I said it was friendship / but you wanted love / I said that I’d thought of you / when you wanted—above.Kate’s romantic quest calls to mind Paradise Lost and Greek mythology as it weaves together biblical allusions, fantasy, and details of the modern day.

A mythical story of two lovers whose connection transcends space and time.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-94-214616-2

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Garn Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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THE GIVER OF STARS

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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