THE LEHMAN TRILOGY

A vivid account of one remarkable family’s role in shaping modern America.

A fictional history of the immigrant family that built a great American financial institution.

Source for the eponymous stage production, Massini’s imposing novel in verse tells the story of Lehman Brothers, the venerable investment banking firm whose unimaginable collapse in 2008 helped trigger the Great Recession. Beginning with the arrival from Bavaria, in the mid-19th century, of brothers Henry, Emanuel, and Mayer and the establishment of first a grocery store and then a cotton trading business in Montgomery, Alabama, Massini follows three generations of this German Jewish family as it sinks its roots in unfamiliar soil and then, through shrewdness, daring, and tireless work, forges a worldwide financial empire. Expansive and intimate, sober and playful, Massini’s novel focuses less on arcane financial maneuvers and more on the outsized personalities of the Lehman family members who drove the company’s success. Among the most memorable are Sigmund, son of Mayer, who steels himself for leadership by memorizing a list of 120 draconian rules for ruthless business dealing, and Emanuel’s grandson Robert “Bobbie” Lehman, art collector and owner of racehorses, who shepherded the bank through the Depression and into the modern era, sowing the seeds of both its continuing prosperity and its ruin. Massini departs from the Lehman financial saga for a portrait of Herbert Lehman, Sigmund’s brother, the liberal reformer who challenged some of the excesses of capitalism displayed in the family business while serving as both governor of New York and senator from that state. With the aid of a vibrant translation from the Italian, the novel takes on an epic quality as the Lehmans relentlessly expand the scope of their business, accumulating vast wealth and economic power, while devoting themselves with equal single-mindedness to the acquisition of social status, the latter effort symbolized in their drive to shoulder aside rivals and move to the front row of their New York City synagogue.

A vivid account of one remarkable family’s role in shaping modern America.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294044-5

Page Count: 720

Publisher: HarperVia

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

THE WOMEN

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

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

GIRL ABROAD

A spicy novel that’s a must-read for fans of a British accent.

A rock star’s daughter decides to study abroad in search of her own experiences, finding romance and intrigue along the way.

For 19-year-old Abbey Bly, having a rock star for a father isn’t as glamorous as it seems. For one thing, she shares her name with Abbey Road, and for another, the only version of the famous Gunner Bly she knows is the helicopter parent she lives with in Nashville. Hoping to find her way outside her father’s sphere of influence, Abbey decides to spend a semester in London studying European history at Pembridge University. Promising to keep her father updated on every aspect of life abroad, Abbey heads to her shared apartment expecting to find three female roommates…only to find that she’s actually living with three men. Afraid that Gunner will order her home, Abbey decides to keep Lee, Jack, and Jamie’s gender a secret (lucky their names sound androgynous!) and sets her sights on adventure. While working on a research project about a mysterious painting and adapting to Britain’s drinking culture, Abbey finds time to explore a little romance despite her housemates’ strict no-fraternizing rule. First there’s Jack, a commitment-phobic Australian hottie who can’t seem to stay away from Abbey; then there’s Nate, a sexy bassist who keeps forgetting he’s taken. Toying with nonexclusive relationships and exploring her sexuality, Abbey can’t help but feel excited about all the experience she’s gaining, but has she really, truly found herself? Kennedy’s novel is a page-turner—who wouldn’t want to travel to a foreign country and meet interested potential lovers down the hall? Abbey is a relatable character who yearns to stand outside her father’s shadow, and though the love triangle is a focal point, it never outshines the heroine’s growth.

A spicy novel that’s a must-read for fans of a British accent.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2024

ISBN: 9781728299792

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Bloom Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

Close Quickview