A delicate subject sensitively explored.

READ REVIEW

MOSAIC

Khashoggi (Mirage, 1996) spins another page-turning tale with a topical theme: an Arab father kidnaps his American children because he disapproves of the American way of life.

Life seems pretty good for Dina Ahmad, who lives in a splendid New York brownstone with husband Karim, their son Jordy, eight-year-old twins Ali and Suzanne, and their housekeeper, Jordanian Fatma. Dina also owns a high-profile flower-design business, called Mosaic, and she and Karim, a Jordanian native, have been married for nearly 20 mostly happy years. Recently, though, there’ve been some rocky moments: since 9/11, Karim has worried about American attitudes toward Arabs. Even more troubling is his attitude toward the teenaged Jordy. They’ve learned that Jordy is gay, and Karim, who can’t deal with the revelation, holds both Dina and America responsible. Jordy has been sent away to boarding school, and Karim refuses to have any contact with him. One spring day, Dina comes home to find the house empty, and soon she learns that Karim has taken the twins to his family in Jordan. Appalled, Dina calls her two best friends for help: African-American cable show star Emmeline and Jewish doctor Sarah Gelman. Both women, though currently single, have children of their own, empathize with Dina’s plight, and soon are helping her find a way to get them back. But it won’t be easy. The State Department can’t help, and Dina has next to rely on specially trained but pricey independent operatives. Heading to Jordan herself, she learns that the situation is even more complex than she realized: Karim’s family not only have powerful connections but their house is guarded and Karim is adamant about keeping the twins. When Dina and her ops plan a kidnapping of their own, the scheme goes badly awry.

A delicate subject sensitively explored.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-765-31235-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A heartwarming portrait of a broken heart finding a little healing magic.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

IN FIVE YEARS

After acing a job interview and accepting a marriage proposal, Dannie Kohan has had the perfect day. That is, until she awakens to find herself five years in the future with a completely different man.

Just one hour in that alternate reality shakes Dannie to her core. After all, highly ambitious Dannie and her boyfriend, David, have plotted out their lives in minute detail, and the sexy man in her dream—was it a dream?—is most certainly not in the script. Serle (The Dinner List, 2018) deftly spins these magical threads into Dannie’s perfectly structured life, leaving not only Dannie, but also the reader wondering whether Dannie time traveled or hallucinated. Her best friend, Bella, would delight in the story given that she thinks Dannie is much too straight-laced, and some spicy dreaming might push Dannie to find someone more passionate than David. Unfortunately, glamorous Bella is in Europe with her latest lover. Ever pragmatic, Dannie consults her therapist, who almost concurs that it was likely a dream, and throws herself into her work. Pleased to have landed the job at a prestigious law firm, Dannie easily loses her worries in litigation. Soon four and a half years have passed with no wedding date set, and Bella is back in the U.S. with a new man in her life. A man who turns out to be literally the man of Dannie’s dream. The sheer fact of Aaron Gregory’s existence forces Dannie to reevaluate her trust in the laws of physics as well as her decision to marry David, a decision that seems less believable with each passing day. And as the architecture of Dannie’s overplanned life disintegrates, Serle twists and twines the remnants of her dream into a surprising future.

A heartwarming portrait of a broken heart finding a little healing magic.

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3744-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more