Overstuffed, at times rambling, but colorful and highly enjoyable and pulled together by an engaging narrator.

FRESH WATER FOR FLOWERS

French bestseller Perrin makes her English-language debut in an atmospheric novel rife with adulterous romances, bad marriages, mysterious deaths, and lots of burials.

The frequent burials are because narrator Violette Toussaint is a cemetery keeper at the Brancion-en-Chalon cemetery in Burgundy. She arrived there some 20 years ago with no-good husband Philippe, a philanderer and spoiled mama’s boy who did her a favor by disappearing shortly after they took up the post. Except Philippe turns out to be living 100 kilometers away with another woman, she learns from Julien Seul, a handsome detective who came to the cemetery because his recently deceased mother, Irène, had inexplicably decreed that her ashes be placed on the grave of a man buried there who was, needless to say, not her husband. At first, Perrin unspools her plot in a leisurely manner, intertwining Violette’s recollections of her trying marriage, the records she keeps of what was done and said at individual gravesides (touching testimonies to the infinite varieties of loss and grief), and amusing portraits of the eccentric cemetery staff. Once Julien enters to disrupt Violette’s neatly ordered world, the author augments an already busy narrative with plot strands concerning Irène’s decadeslong affair, the growing attraction between her son and the cemetery keeper, the tragic story of the Toussaints’ daughter, and a chorus of new voices that soften our view of the not-quite-as-rotten-as-he-seemed Philippe. It’s a lot for one book, and the novel does sometimes falter under its own weight, but Perrin’s eye is so compassionate, her characters so many-faceted, and the various mysteries she poses so intriguing that most readers will happily go along for the long ride toward a pleasingly romantic conclusion tempered by one last funeral.

Overstuffed, at times rambling, but colorful and highly enjoyable and pulled together by an engaging narrator.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-60945-595-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Europa Editions

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Relentlessly suspenseful and unexpectedly timely: just the thing for Dick Cheney’s bedside reading wherever he’s keeping...

WITHOUT FAIL

From the Jack Reacher series , Vol. 6

When the newly elected Vice President’s life is threatened, the Secret Service runs to nomadic soldier-of-fortune Jack Reacher (Echo Burning, 2001, etc.) in this razor-sharp update of The Day of the Jackal and In the Line of Fire that’s begging to be filmed.

Why Reacher? Because M.E. Froelich, head of the VP’s protection team, was once a colleague and lover of his late brother Joe, who’d impressed her with tales of Jack’s derring-do as an Army MP. Now Froelich and her Brooks Brothers–tailored boss Stuyvesant have been receiving a series of anonymous messages threatening the life of North Dakota Senator/Vice President–elect Brook Armstrong. Since the threats may be coming from within the Secret Service’s own ranks—if they aren’t, it’s hard to see how they’ve been getting delivered—they can’t afford an internal investigation. Hence the call to Reacher, who wastes no time in hooking up with his old friend Frances Neagley, another Army vet turned private eye, first to see whether he can figure out a way to assassinate Armstrong, then to head off whoever else is trying. It’s Reacher’s matter-of-fact gift to think of everything, from the most likely position a sniper would assume at Armstrong’s Thanksgiving visit to a homeless shelter to the telltale punctuation of one of the threats, and to pluck helpers from the tiny cast who can fill the remaining gaps because they aren’t idiots or stooges. And it’s Child’s gift to keep tightening the screws, even when nothing’s happening except the arrival of a series of unsigned letters, and to convey a sense of the blank impossibility of guarding any public figure from danger day after highly exposed day, and the dedication and heroism of the agents who take on this daunting job.

Relentlessly suspenseful and unexpectedly timely: just the thing for Dick Cheney’s bedside reading wherever he’s keeping himself these days.

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-14861-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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A novel tailor-made for those who cherish books and libraries.

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THE PARIS LIBRARY

World War II Paris during the German occupation forms the setting for an intelligent and sensuously rich novel of a young woman's coming-of-age.

In 1939, Odile Souchet, the daughter of the captain of a police precinct, has just finished library school. She lands her dream job assisting patrons of the American Library, which serves both foreigners and Parisians, and falls in love with one of the police officers her father brings home for dinner. As the war proceeds and the Nazis take over the city, she fears for her twin brother, who has been captured by the Germans, places herself in danger by transporting books to Jewish patrons who are forbidden to visit the library, and begins to question some of her boyfriend's actions. Her story is juxtaposed with that of a teenager named Lily who, in 1983, lives in a small rural town in Montana. When Lily's mother becomes ill, Lily grows close to her previously frosty next-door neighbor Odile, who moved to Montana as a bride immediately after the war ended. While the chapters featuring Lily are snappy and often amusing, especially as she begins to adopt Parisian airs, they play a distinctly secondary role to those concerning Odile's life during the war. Structurally, the novel sometimes sags: Charles tends to move into the points of view of secondary characters, which leads to some repetition. But the author has a clear affection for both Paris and the American Library, where she worked as a programs manager in 2010, and she integrates the stories of many of the real-life employees and patrons of the library into the story with finesse, earning the novel its own place in the pantheon of World War II fiction.

A novel tailor-made for those who cherish books and libraries.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3419-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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