A modern love story with an absorbing, unique take on May-December relationships.

See You Then

A 40-year-old widow falls for her 23-year-old neighbor in this debut contemporary romance.

In her first foray into fiction, Coventry presents a sympathetic heroine confronted by forbidden love. Samantha Sullivan lives alone in suburban Michigan, where she’s been quietly grieving her deceased husband for nearly five years. But when her attractive, young neighbor Jason Grant returns to his parents’ house from college for the summer, she’s stunned by his good looks. As they chat over the backyard fence, she feels the first stirrings of her libido since before she lost her husband. She tries to laugh off her fantasies about the much younger man, but it quickly becomes clear that Jason feels an attraction to her, too. With wisdom well beyond his tender years, he convinces her that she should give their budding relationship a chance. The two quickly become close during a series of very private and steamy dates. However, Sam is frightened about how others will perceive their relationship and tries to keep it secret despite Jason’s objections. When he finally tells his parents about Sam, his mother gives her a cold reception, which Sam interprets as a harbinger of what’s to come. Sam soon attempts to extricate herself from the relationship, pushing Jason to accept an internship in Denver that could result in a permanent job. Although she thinks she’s falling in love with him, her fear of social rejection may prevent them from ever having a chance. As Coventry describes the complex issues of age and love that Jason and Sam must navigate, she also touches on other weighty topics, such as grief, friendship, and emotional renewal. She tells the story at a fast clip, building the suspense in a way that will keep even the most experienced romance fans engaged. The story artfully explores the difficulties inherent in unconventional relationships without skimping on steamy sex scenes. Although the tale’s trajectory is somewhat predictable, readers should enjoy Coventry’s witty narrative style, complex characters, and knack for flirtatious dialogue.

A modern love story with an absorbing, unique take on May-December relationships.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-64822-3

Page Count: 346

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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THE COLDEST WINTER EVER

Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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