Warmhearted country romance, from the author of, most recently, Bebe’s By Golly Wow (2000).


Ain’t nothing like the real thing.

Terri Mills has it all: degree from Harvard, career at a prestigious law firm that includes high-stakes deal-making for the city of Chicago, and the perfect man: Derek Houser, a lawyer with a politician’s charisma. Being black meant being the best—and nothing’s ever slowed Terri down. But her Grandma Ollie, who raised her, has been seeing signs—and there’s no arguing with the old lady. Didn’t she foretell that her only daughter would die while giving birth to Terri, and didn’t it happen? Now that Terri and Derek are engaged, Grandma Ollie has to write their names in the old family Bible, but the pen runs out of ink before she can add Derek’s name. So she’s not surprised when Terri finds out that Derek’s been cheating on her and calls off the engagement. Then Grandma Ollie shatters her hip in a fall, and Terri goes back to Arkansas to care for her. The old woman floats in and out of consciousness and recalls her own lost love: Hank, a honey gatherer for a local farmer, the sweetest man she ever knew. But he had to disappear after the farmer tried to burn him to death in a barn, and Ollie married Wesley, another good man. Now, even when all hell breaks loose back in the city’s legal department, Terri stays on, soaking up the atmosphere and memories of the small town and learning more about her roots. Lynnwood Conway, a hospital volunteer, reads aloud to her grandmother, and Terri just melts at the sound of his deep voice. But can she really love a country boy like Lynnwood, who’s got nothing but a pickup truck and the farmhouse his parents left him?

Warmhearted country romance, from the author of, most recently, Bebe’s By Golly Wow (2000).

Pub Date: March 10, 2003

ISBN: 0-525-94716-7

Page Count: 238

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2003

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


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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