An unusual, enjoyable novel for readers interested in religious history and speculative fiction.

PRECIPICE

In Joseph’s debut sci-fi novel, there’s intelligent life beyond humanity—and it wants to play a direct role in human progress.

This rollicking book weaves together the stories of a handful of characters whose seemingly normal lives become marked by unexpected, bizarre and apocalyptic events. Kimberly Martin, a young Georgia woman, is plagued by visitations from extraterrestrials who want to use her body for mysterious purposes. She becomes pregnant during a late-night bar encounter, short-circuiting the aliens’ interest. Meanwhile, her brother, Benny, a New York preacher, convenes with a supernatural, otherworldly spirit, and offers up his sister to be a surrogate mother for a new, hybrid species. An insectoid presence known as the Lady visits Sarah Matheson, a student at Calvary Bible College in Texas, and informs her that she will bear a divine son. Chris Altenbrook, a talented football player with a penchant for Biblical prophecy, leaves behind an athletic career and girlfriend to join the priesthood. Later, Sarah’s son, Zack, learns of his place in a vast plan to bring about a new world order. Benny increasingly becomes involved with a mysterious cadre of Vatican reformers, who recruit him to their endeavor; still later, Kimberly’s children, Gabe and Michael, find themselves in danger while studying in West Germany. Beginning in 1969 and progressing in decade-long intervals, this first novel in Joseph’s This Generation series is a suavely futuristic story about a major shift in the paradigms of Western civilization and religion. It effectively combines humanistic sympathy and ambitious speculation about the cosmos’ trajectory. The narrative is steeped in the author’s knowledge of the prophetic traditions of Abrahamic, Eastern and esoteric religions, and engagingly mixes science fiction with psychological drama.

An unusual, enjoyable novel for readers interested in religious history and speculative fiction.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-4808-0785-3

Page Count: -

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2014

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

BAREFOOT

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

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

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

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