This upbeat story triumphs thanks to its veracity and memorable characters.

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Family members learn more about themselves and each other on a global journey in Reed’s novel.

At the heart of this moving work is a family matriarch, 75-year-old Lucinda Billings Maynard “Cinny” Posey. Though she is loath to admit it, Cinny has begun a slow slide into Parkinson’s disease. She’s hellbent against the concept of assisted living but is giving into assisted dying: She convinces her resistant adult children, Grace and Brian, to help her get moved into hospice care, where her plan is to starve herself to death. During her lengthy decline, Cinny scrawls page after page, finally stuffing these papers into seven envelopes and giving them to Grace as death descends. Her wish is to have her family take a trip around the world to scatter her ashes and those of her late English professor husband, Frank. Embarking on this journey are Grace, her husband, Jack, and their daughter, 24-year-old Chelsea; they are joined by bisexual Brian, his new bride, Ella, and her 16-year-old daughter, Sage. At each stop along the way, Cinny’s notes shed clarity on her relationship with Frank, helping Grace, Brian, and the rest to better understand their family’s dynamic. By the time the whirlwind pilgrimage ends, they are all more secure in their relationships with each other. The author successfully mines his personal history, including his background in academics and international travel, lending authenticity to this engaging narrative. The story is fast-paced, giving the reader the feel of the family’s rapid travel through Asia and Europe over three short weeks. The novel truly thrives thanks to its cast, beginning with Cinny, a child of Woodstock and a character with a capital C (Grace marvels, “She looks ten years older, but there’s so much of the old Mom there. Laughing. Joking. Giving me shit. I don’t have a clue how she manages to keep it up”) whose dying wish is to improve the lives of her twins, Grace and Brian, who have been clashing since sharing the womb. The result is a bracing novel in which an extended family actually returns re-energized from an exhausting voyage.

This upbeat story triumphs thanks to its veracity and memorable characters.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023

ISBN: 9780825310263

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Beaufort Books

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023


A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Truth and deception clash in this tale of the Holocaust.

Udo Graf is proud that the Wolf has assigned him the task of expelling all 50,000 Jews from Salonika, Greece. In that city, Nico Krispis is an 11-year-old Jewish boy whose blue eyes and blond hair deceive, but whose words do not. Those who know him know he has never told a lie in his life—“Never be the one to tell lies, Nico,” his grandfather teaches him. “God is always watching.” Udo and Nico meet, and Udo decides to exploit the child’s innocence. At the train station where Jews are being jammed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, Udo gives Nico a yellow star to wear and persuades him to whisper among the crowd, “I heard it from a German officer. They are sending us to Poland. We will have new homes. And jobs.” The lad doesn’t know any better, so he helps persuade reluctant Jews to board the train to hell. “You were a good little liar,” Udo later tells Nico, and delights in the prospect of breaking the boy’s spirit, which is more fun and a greater challenge than killing him outright. When Nico realizes the horrific nature of what he's done, his truth-telling days are over. He becomes an inveterate liar about everything. Narrating the story is the Angel of Truth, whom according to a parable God had cast out of heaven and onto earth, where Truth shattered into billions of pieces, each to lodge in a human heart. (Obviously, many hearts have been missed.) Truth skillfully weaves together the characters, including Nico; his brother, Sebastian; Sebastian’s wife, Fannie; and the “heartless deceiver” Udo. Events extend for decades beyond World War II, until everyone’s lives finally collide in dramatic fashion. As Truth readily acknowledges, his account is loaded with twists and turns, some fortuitous and others not. Will Nico Krispis ever seek redemption? And will he find it? Author Albom’s passion shows through on every page in this well-crafted novel.

A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9780062406651

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.

Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.

A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-778-38608-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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