Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
Next book

THE BEST PART OF US

A dramatic, rewarding story about a woman reconnecting with family, nature, and herself.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

In Cole-Misch’s debut novel, an old land dispute reemerges after a young girl discovers Native artifacts.

Welsh immigrant Taid Llyndee purchased an island off the Canada coast from the Ojibwe people in the 1940s, establishing a family retreat there until 1990. In 2004, Beth Llyndee, Taid’s granddaughter, returns to this place, which she remembers well. Taid is still alive, but he’s drafted two wills—one granting the land to Beth, and the other to the Akeenes, an Ojibwe family, and Beth is to decide who gets it. The next chapter unfolds in 1987, when Beth is 11; she has a teenage brother, Dylan, and sister, Maegan. Her mother is wary of Maegan’s boyfriend; Beth’s father is the family peacemaker; and her grandparents are set in their Welsh traditions. The girl feels at home on the island, where she cares for a one-legged seagull and enjoys viewing her “favorite constellations.” The following summer, she discovers unusual wooden bowls on the island. Dylan suggests showing them to a nearby Ojibwe family, but Taid recalls the aftermath of a similar discovery: “Just because they [another family, the McGintys] found a few silly relics, the family had to give up five acres of their land to keep the community peace.” The Llyndees decide to research the items privately, but in 1990, chaos erupts as Maegan is injured, Dylan goes missing, and the family is evicted from the island. In 2004, Beth is unprepared for what lies ahead. The slow pace of this novel, which effectively offers readers a cautionary tale against secrecy, makes its twists even more rewarding. Cole-Misch manages to capture tender moments as skillfully as she does petty arguments between the siblings. Young Beth is shown to have all the characteristics that one expects of a family’s youngest child—sometimes excluded and often whining, but also the family favorite. The novel is informed by both Ojibwe and Welsh traditions and shows sensitivity regarding cultural differences. It also honors the natural world with dazzling imagery: “So many stars, as if the galaxies were holding a grand, illicit celebration after they thought the humans had gone to bed.”

A dramatic, rewarding story about a woman reconnecting with family, nature, and herself.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63152-741-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2020

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 112


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 112


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

Next book

LONG ISLAND

A moving portrait of rueful middle age and the failure to connect.

An acclaimed novelist revisits the central characters of his best-known work.

At the end of Brooklyn (2009), Eilis Lacey departed Ireland for the second and final time—headed back to New York and the Italian American husband she had secretly married after first traveling there for work. In her hometown of Enniscorthy, she left behind Jim Farrell, a young man she’d fallen in love with during her visit, and the inevitable gossip about her conduct. Tóibín’s 11th novel introduces readers to Eilis 20 years later, in 1976, still married to Tony Fiorello and living in the titular suburbia with their two teenage children. But Eilis’ seemingly placid existence is disturbed when a stranger confronts her, accusing Tony of having an affair with his wife—now pregnant—and threatening to leave the baby on their doorstep. “She’d known men like this in Ireland,” Tóibín writes. “Should one of them discover that their wife had been unfaithful and was pregnant as a result, they would not have the baby in the house.” This shock sends Eilis back to Enniscorthy for a visit—or perhaps a longer stay. (Eilis’ motives are as inscrutable as ever, even to herself.) She finds the never-married Jim managing his late father’s pub; unbeknownst to Eilis (and the town), he’s become involved with her widowed friend Nancy, who struggles to maintain the family chip shop. Eilis herself appears different to her old friends: “Something had happened to her in America,” Nancy concludes. Although the novel begins with a soap-operatic confrontation—and ends with a dramatic denouement, as Eilis’ fate is determined in a plot twist worthy of Edith Wharton—the author is a master of quiet, restrained prose, calmly observing the mores and mindsets of provincial Ireland, not much changed from the 1950s.

A moving portrait of rueful middle age and the failure to connect.

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781476785110

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

Close Quickview