A moving examination of the complexities of motherhood and the strength of female friendship.


A newfound friendship galvanizes three women into exploring their late mothers’ pasts.

Elise Armstrong is just “not feelin’ Namaste” at her weekly yoga class when her less than enthusiastic performance catches the attention of her classmates Carmen Bradshaw and DeeDee Davis, who also seem to be struggling with finding their Zen. When they decide to grab dinner at a Mexican restaurant after class, they discover that all three are grappling with the grief left in the wakes of their mothers’ deaths—Elise’s mother, Marie Wade; Carmen’s mother, Joan Bradshaw; and DeeDee’s mother, Laura O’Neill. All of the women are still in the process of going through their mothers' possessions, and each is hesitant to dive into the past for varying reasons. Marie was a collector—of African masks, 10 sets of china, five distinct collections of jewelry—and Elise is overwhelmed with the prospect of picking through it all. Laura struggled with bipolar disorder throughout DeeDee’s childhood, and DeeDee is not only dealing with the fear that her free-spirited daughter, Frances, has inherited her grandmother’s mental illness, but she is loath to unearth more of Laura’s inner turmoil. Joan was a preacher’s wife who lived a quiet life, and Carmen doesn’t imagine she’ll find any evidence to the contrary in her mother’s old things. But when Elise, DeeDee, and Carmen agree to help each other wade through these items, they grow closer to each other and to the women their mothers really were. Flashback chapters from Joan’s perspective prior to Carmen’s birth as well as diary entries written by Laura during DeeDee’s adolescence give further insight into the ways each mother’s experience intersects and contrasts with those of her daughter in the present day.

A moving examination of the complexities of motherhood and the strength of female friendship.

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293422-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.


The miseries of the Depression and Dust Bowl years shape the destiny of a Texas family.

“Hope is a coin I carry: an American penny, given to me by a man I came to love. There were times in my journey when I felt as if that penny and the hope it represented were the only things that kept me going.” We meet Elsa Wolcott in Dalhart, Texas, in 1921, on the eve of her 25th birthday, and wind up with her in California in 1936 in a saga of almost unrelieved woe. Despised by her shallow parents and sisters for being sickly and unattractive—“too tall, too thin, too pale, too unsure of herself”—Elsa escapes their cruelty when a single night of abandon leads to pregnancy and forced marriage to the son of Italian immigrant farmers. Though she finds some joy working the land, tending the animals, and learning her way around Mama Rose's kitchen, her marriage is never happy, the pleasures of early motherhood are brief, and soon the disastrous droughts of the 1930s drive all the farmers of the area to despair and starvation. Elsa's search for a better life for her children takes them out west to California, where things turn out to be even worse. While she never overcomes her low self-esteem about her looks, Elsa displays an iron core of character and courage as she faces dust storms, floods, hunger riots, homelessness, poverty, the misery of migrant labor, bigotry, union busting, violent goons, and more. The pedantic aims of the novel are hard to ignore as Hannah embodies her history lesson in what feels like a series of sepia-toned postcards depicting melodramatic scenes and clichéd emotions.

For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2501-7860-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.


An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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