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Part gothic novel, part adventure story, but primarily a meditation on surmounting misfortunes that may lie beyond an...

Dead parents haunt Shreve’s 16th novel (You Are the Love of My Life, 2012, etc.).

In 2007, George Washington University professor Georgianna Grove still grapples with the mysterious tragedy that orphaned her as a small child. In 1941, when Georgianna was 4, her father, William, a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania, went to prison for murdering her mother on a canoe trip to the Wisconsin summer camp he ran. Four years later, William died in prison, leaving Georgianna to face a lonely childhood with unapproachable, anti-Semitic maternal grandparents. In reaction, Georgianna made the concept of "home" central to her research as an anthropologist and has continually welcomed strangers into the house where she raised her own three children. They’d become fatherless themselves at ages 4, 2, and still-in-the-womb when Georgianna’s husband died in Vietnam. On her 70th birthday, Georgianna receives a letter from the only other person from the 1941 canoe trip who's still alive. At the time, Roosevelt McCrary was an 11-year-old child who had been hired, along with his mother, to work at the camp despite being black. As an adult, Roosevelt became a part owner of the camp and has retired there. Hoping he has information to exonerate William, Georgianna decides to revisit the camp and nearby murder site for the first time. She drags along her family—grown children Venus, Rosie, and Nicolas, whose work on Barack Obama’s campaign hovers in the background; Rosie’s 13-year-old son, Thomas, in the throes of grieving his own father’s recent death; Nicolas’ son, 15-year-old Jesse, and 4-year-old daughter, Oona, coincidentally Georgianna’s age in 1941. Georgianna discovers that her parents’ lives and deaths were more complex and mysterious than she thought and not truly knowable. Shreve creates a spooky atmosphere with stormy weather, eerie parallels between past and present, and at least one threateningly crazy woman. Even spookier is the backdrop of 20th-century racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-immigration feeling that are all too familiar today.

Part gothic novel, part adventure story, but primarily a meditation on surmounting misfortunes that may lie beyond an individual’s control.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-393-29294-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

THEN SHE WAS GONE

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

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. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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