A short but sweet tale about taking a shot at true love.

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JESSE'S GIRL

Two old friends go from playing house to truly making a home together in this contemporary romance.

One day, Gwen Gallo-Clark gets an unexpected knock at her door: It’s a swarm of reporters asking her about allegations against her Texas congressman husband, Jesse Clark. The rapid-fire questions about embezzlement and an affair with an intern deeply trouble her, although she manages to put on a brave face for the press. Shortly afterward, however, Gwen finds out that Jesse remortgaged their home and withdrew their savings before running off with his mistress, leaving almost nothing for her and their young daughter, Maddie. It’s only due to the kindness of Jesse’s longtime friend attorney Reade Walker that Gwen and Maddie have a place to stay until the end of Maddie’s school year. While spending time with Reade, Gwen begins to remember just how much she enjoys his company—and how attractive he is. Reade, meanwhile, has loved Gwen almost since the first day they met, but he never acted on his feelings. Now that Jesse’s gone, he wants to be there for her. However, the road to happily-ever-after is paved with speed bumps—because Jesse isn’t done ruining Gwen’s life just yet. September (From Florida With Love, 2018) delivers a charming tale of two old friends finally getting their chance at happiness. It’s not the usual setup for a friends-to-lovers story, but fans of this age-old trope will surely enjoy Reade and Gwen’s history and chemistry. The book is on the short side, coming in at fewer than 150 pages, but there’s enough here to interest and amuse those who usually prefer more fleshed-out narratives. A surprising twist at the end, and a bit of spicy political drama, will leave readers satisfied.

A short but sweet tale about taking a shot at true love.

Pub Date: April 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-09-317613-1

Page Count: 142

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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THE GIVER OF STARS

Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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