Latest in Birmingham's infatuations with other peoples' lives (Shades of Fortune, 1989, etc.)—here in another of his popular tales of Manhattan mensch on the move, with shaky pasts and glittery presents, their women and their well-kept secrets. This time, the death of a famous retail magnate turns out to have been murder, and it's his daughter who'll save both the endangered business and her own self-esteem as her father's past steams open. Silas Tarkington (nÇ Solomon Tarcher), founder and owner of Tarkington's—a Fifth Avenue emporium for the super-rich/super- chic—is found floating in his Long Island mansion's swimming pool. But Silas, it seems, was in perfect health—and why did second wife Consuela, who found the body, call a doctor friend a half-hour away instead of 911? Meanwhile, Silas's daughter Miranda, always discouraged by her father from a career in the store, accepts with pleasure the invitation of Silas's right-hand man, handsome Tommy Bonham, to be a partner in administering Tarkington's. Silas' son by his first wife, however, is not mentioned in the will, and neither is Moses Minskoff, a gross chewer of dead cigars, telephone glued-to-ear—a combo of Bugsy Siegel and Fibber Fox, given to toss off wonders like ``entre vous'' and ``tempo fugit, as the fella says.'' This Birmingham cartoon, broad as a meat axe, has had a lot to do with the rise of Silas Tarkington. Now, out of the mists of the past, arise: ancient mother Rose and sister Simma, as well as a mysterious lady in a West End Avenue brownstone, her hand out for a monthly payment personally delivered by Silas. While Miranda suffers and wonders about Dad's women in and out of wedlock, a nice journalist begins to help Miranda snoop—successfully. An agreeable enough mystery enlivened by Birmingham's sense of intimacy with the scene. The author's following—carriage-to-subway trade—is a given.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 1993

ISBN: 0-553-08135-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1993

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet