A tale about a man’s mystical quest that should appeal to readers who believe in the power of prayer.

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The Ragged Edge

THE BATTLE FOUGHT WITHIN

A debut novel explores a protracted spiritual odyssey that takes place during the late 1960s.

This story opens as its protagonist, Cary, reaches a low point in his life: no job, no money, and no wife. Devastated by the end of his seven-year marriage, he takes a therapist’s advice to heart: Cary must embark on a long process of soul-searching to discover what is at the root of his suffering. One of the first stops on this journey is a visit with his grandmother, who sheds light on a family tragedy that affected Cary more than he had realized. Readers may wish that Thomas had devoted more pages to their encounter, as this sharp character disappears from the novel entirely. Later, when Cary comes into some money and distributes handsome sums to family members, it seems baffling that she is not included or even mentioned. This is but one example of the structural problems that plague the narrative. Similarly, quite late in the novel, Cary comes to the understanding that his ulcer was a major contributing factor to the turmoil of his marriage, resulting in his divorce. What ulcer? A steadier plot element that builds a fair amount of suspense concerns Cary’s involvement with his brother Jim’s top-secret invention. During Cary’s negotiations with different companies about selling the rights to this potentially revolutionary device, he meets Molly, a love interest that resurfaces throughout the book. A simultaneous stint as a cemetery groundskeeper and interactions with mourners bring up issues of loss, death, forgiveness, and regret. Finally, Cary has an epiphany of sorts when a mysterious woman slowly erases herself from view, disappearing and reappearing twice in front of him and another witness. In a note, the author states that this turning point is presented exactly as it happened and is “true in every detail.” It is up to individual readers whether to accept this assertion at face value. Regardless, this woman’s message intensifies Cary’s determination to continue with his spiritual trek, which leads him to accept the importance of faith and prayer. As Cary explains to Molly, “You ask for what you want and then cling to the highest virtue, patience, then incidents will appear out of the blue and these events can change your life in ways you can’t now imagine.”

A tale about a man’s mystical quest that should appeal to readers who believe in the power of prayer.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-9760923-3-9

Page Count: 444

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2016

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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