Powerful, dramatic and sensitive.



In this novel, set in 1948, a young nun teaching at a Catholic boarding school is challenged by her new pupil, who feels angry and abandoned.

Helene Rhenehan, 10, lost her mother to a car accident four years ago. Now, her surgeon father is going on a lecture tour in Italy and plans to leave her for six months at a girls’ boarding school run by the distinguished Convent of the Sacred Heart. Strongly believing in discipline and rules, the school mainly teaches girls who are, like Helene, “from Chicago’s Gold Coast or opulent suburbs.” Mother Mary Agnes Adelli, set to take her final vows the next year, is a favorite among the girls, and she hopes to win Helene over and help her be happy. But Helene’s rage at being left behind is boundless—more so as she stokes her anger to push down tears. Her unashamed, rule-breaking defiance soon has Mother Adelli in trouble with her superiors, who tell her to figure it out and enforce rules more harshly. This brings Mother Adelli into a terrible struggle with her conscience, balanced against her vow of obedience and need to control her students, who turn against her when Helene’s misbehavior brings punishments for the whole group. When something terrible happens, Mother Adelli must re-examine her whole life, especially the decisions that led her to give up a ballet scholarship to become a nun. Keithley (3/Chicago, 2013, etc.) brings the convent boarding school to life (you can almost smell the floor wax), with all its power struggles, affections and little routines. Characterizations are psychologically acute and well-rounded: Helene, for instance, is absolutely maddening while at the same time sympathetic, since no one is paying proper attention to her. The religious figures run the gamut, neither monotonically good nor bad. The reader’s knowledge of the huge changes to come in the church after Vatican II (not to mention present-day scandals) adds a layer of irony to the school’s emphasis on rules, order, conformity and discipline.

Powerful, dramatic and sensitive.

Pub Date: March 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1496186553

Page Count: 268

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2014

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


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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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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