Search Results: Victoria Roberts


BOOK REVIEW

AFTER THE FALL by Victoria Roberts
Released: Nov. 12, 2012

"A tale full of juvenile embellishment aimed squarely at sophisticated adults."
A wealthy New York City family hits the skids and is forced to move into Central Park. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

MOON RISING by Ann Victoria Roberts
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 19, 2001

"A top-grade historical, with richly evoked textures of daily life and fugitive moods."
Turn-of-the-century romance featuring Bram Stoker, tightly woven and superbly researched by Roberts (Morning's Gate, 1992, etc.). Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

HALLOWEENA by Miriam Glassman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

A very giggle-inducing telling of an unusual adoption story. Hepzibah the witch lives in a tower by an old cornfield, eating nothing but burnt cupcakes. She's not pleased when her sister leaves her a human child, but she adopts her, names her Halloweena, and figures, "if I can change a fool into a flea, I could certainly change a diaper." She finds, though, that she has to pull up all the poison ivy and plant fruit trees, and give up her nights out with the ghouls. As she grows, Halloweena misses other children; by the time she is six, she manages to attract some human friends by magicking the cornfield into growing candy corn. It all ends with "a Halloweena party." There's a fine interplay between the droll text and Roberts's wonderfully puckish illustrations (New Yorker readers will recognize her signature curlicues). When Halloweena has trouble riding a broom, Hepzibah makes her a training broom with three brushes; Hepzibah muses, "how hard could it be to make a few friends?" and the image shows her with her cauldron surrounded by packets of "best friends mix"; Baby Halloweena's stylish, round crib has a pink-and-white coverlet and a netting of spider webs. Yoking the sweetly normal (Hepzibah's ironing board) with the wryly odd (the ironing board has chicken feet) reflects the very human story of fitting in, making friends, and working with what you are given. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

MORNING'S GATE by Ann Victoria Roberts
Released: Feb. 21, 1992

The British author of the widely acclaimed historical romance Louisa Elliott (1989) now turns her considerable talents to writing the story of Louisa's children—beginning in the present when Zoe Clifford, Louisa's great-great granddaughter, travels to York in search of her family's history. There, Zoe meets a distant cousin, Stephen Elliott, who shares with her a long-unopened trunk filled with letters, photographs, and a captivating diary written by one of Louisa's sons, Liam. From there, the novel slips back in time to the year 1913, and the long- dead family members are brought vividly and convincingly to life. Young Liam develops a boyish infatuation with Georgina Duncannon, whom he believes to be a distant cousin, but an overheard conversation reveals that Georgina is actually his half-sister. Horrified, Liam confronts his mother and then abruptly leaves home, striking out for the wilds of Australia. When WW I breaks out, he enlists, and when he becomes violently ill with dysentery, he is sent to London to recuperate. Georgina, a nurse, finds him there, and the two are drawn into an incestuous affair. Slowly, Zoe and Stephen piece together the clues and make the discovery for themselves. And in the process, they discover some unusual parallels—Zoe lives in a flat where Georgina once lived, Stephen physically resembles Liam—between past and present. They also fall deeply in love, but trouble arises when Stephen, a ship's captain, is sent to the Persian Gulf. Distance and several misunderstandings make them doubt their feelings for each another. It takes a near- tragedy to shock them into a recognition of how much they do in fact care. Well-researched and deftly written: a thoroughly satisfying historical romance that manages to bridge the decades with grace and skill. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

Better known on this side of the Atlantic for series nonfiction, Ardagh kicks off what promises to be yet another Dickensian farce with this tale of an 11-year-old buffeted by winds of silliness. When Eddie's bedridden parents "turn yellow, go a bit crinkly about the edges, and smell of hot-water bottles," Mad Uncle Jack and Mad Aunt Maud arrive to sweep him off to their mansion, Awful End. Eddie does arrive safely by the end, but only after several quirky adventures, notably a brief stay in St. Horrid's Home for Grateful Orphans, run the aptly named Mr. & Mrs. Cruel-Streak. In overt homage to Edward Gorey and Victoria Chess, Roberts gives the figures in his small, spiky drawings exaggerated proportions and big, staring eyes for a comically gothic look. Neither author nor illustrator strays far from conventions long mapped out by Monty Python and legions of literary imitators; recommend this to fans as a placeholder while they wait for new work from the more creative likes of Sid Fleischman, Eva Ibbotson, Joan Aiken, Lemony Snicket, etc. (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

SLATED FOR DEATH by Elizabeth J. Duncan
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 14, 2015

A murder in a Welsh slate mine challenges an amateur sleuth.

Canadian expat Penny Brannigan has long since become part of the community in Llanelen, where she and her harp-playing partner, Victoria Hopkirk, own a highly successful spa. Glenda Roberts, one of her customers, is organizing a St. David's Day concert in the depths of the Llyn Dhu slate mine, where her father died. The mine, which ceased operations years ago, is run as a living history museum. When Glenda is found dead in the mine, Penny's friend DCI Gareth Davies finds that she was struck down with a slate splitter. Victoria, concerned about all the money that must be paid out even if the concert doesn't come off, begs Penny to take over its leadership. Glenda, whose abrasive personality won her few friends, leaves behind a small number of mourners: her mother, Doreen; her son, Peris; and her sister, Rebeccah, who runs a market stall. When Doreen dies unexpectedly in her nursing home, Penny, who's often helped Gareth (A Small Hill to Die On, 2012, etc.), can't resist snooping around with the help of another nursing home resident. Gareth, ever hoping to marry Penny, is always willing to hear her theories, one of which links Rebeccah and Glenda to a scheme to sell counterfeits of the spa's hand cream and other goodies. So many people disliked Glenda that you'd think Penny and her friends would be hard-pressed to pick out the one who was willing to kill.

Actually, the mystery is easy to solve. But the tutorial on slate mining and plenty of local color make for an entertaining entry in this long-running series.
Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

CONTINUED PURSUIT by Rachel Gripp
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Aug. 25, 2014

"A harmless, sprightly whodunit featuring a captivating gumshoe."
Gripp (Pursuit of the Frog Prince, 2013), a former teacher and Florida Panhandle resident, presents the vibrant sequel to her debut mystery novel. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

COMPULSORY GAMES  by Robert Aickman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2018

"As unnerving as it is sinuous; an absolute delight."
A collection of dark, eerie tales from a master of weird fiction. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

NON-FICTION
Released: May 1, 2011

"Current and often enlightening—of particular interest to academic libraries—but not essential."
A well-curated collection of essays on the decline of the newspaper industry and the future of journalism. Read full book review >

ARCHIVE

MORNING'S GATE by Ann Victoria Roberts
Released: Feb. 21, 1992

The British author of the widely acclaimed historical romance Louisa Elliott (1989) now turns her considerable talents to writing the story of Louisa's children—beginning in the present when Zoe Clifford, Louisa's great-great granddaughter, travels to York in search of her family's history. There, Zoe meets a distant cousin, Stephen Elliott, who shares with her a long-unopened trunk filled with letters, photographs, and a captivating diary written by one of Louisa's sons, Liam. From there, the novel slips back in time to the year 1913, and the long-dead family members are brought vividly and convincingly to life. Young Liam develops a boyish infatuation with Georgina Duncannon, whom he believes to be a distant cousin, but an overheard conversation reveals that Georgina is actually his half-sister. Horrified, Liam confronts his mother and then abruptly leaves home, striking out for the wilds of Australia. When WW I breaks out, he enlists, and when he becomes violently ill with dysentery, he is sent to London to recuperate. Georgina, a nurse, finds him there, and the two are drawn into an incestuous affair. Slowly, Zoe and Stephen piece together the clues and make the discovery for themselves. And in the process, they discover some unusual parallels—Zoe lives in a flat where Georgina once lived, Stephen physically resembles Liam—between past and present. They also fall deeply in love, but trouble arises when Stephen, a ship's captain, is sent to the Persian Gulf. Distance and several misunderstandings make them doubt their feelings for each another. It takes a near-tragedy to shock them into a recognition of how much they do in fact care. Well-researched and deftly written: a thoroughly satisfying historical romance that manages to bridge the decades with grace and skill. Read full book review >

ARCHIVE

LOUISA ELLIOTT by Ann Victoria Roberts
Released: Aug. 15, 1989

A debut on two counts—for British author Roberts and for the publisher, which is entering the hard-cover fiction field with this plump historical romance, set in England and Ireland around 1890, and documenting the anguished love life of Miss Elliott. Louisa, the illegitimate daughter of a York hotel-keeper, helps nurse a dashing captain of the Royal Dragoons back to health when he lands on their doorstep. She also works as a lady's companion, and in that capacity, re-meets handsome Robert Duncannon when he pays her spoiled employer, Rachel Tempest, a call. A near-rape at the hands of Rachel's slimy papa lands Louisa in Robert's bed, and soon she's set up in an apartment in York with him—to the disapproval of Louisa's cousin, Edward, a bookbinder (who's also in love with Louisa, though he hasn't quite figured it out). Robert can't marry Louisa because he already has a wife, insane and shut up in the moldering Irish family manse. But he takes her back to Dublin with him, where he trots her around in society—even as censure and guilt take their toll on ""Louisa's battle-strewn soul."" Louisa will bear Robert three children, and suffer his philandering and violent brand of love before she returns to York. . .first to attend to her dying mother, and then to marry patient Edward. This has more historic and emotional verisimilitude than most books in the genre. But those who expect heroic attachments from a romantic heroine will want their money back, since Miss Elliott spends most of the book scuttling after a cad. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

PATTI SMITH by Victor Bockris
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

Lou Reed and Keith Richards biographer Bockris offers the first full-length portrait of —70s rock icon Patti Smith, a woman whose charismatic live shows and uncompromising music earned her the moniker "The High Priestess of Punk." As a poet-turned-rock-critic-turned-musician, as a friend of Bob Dylan, best friend of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and as a lover of playwright/actor Sam Shepard and Basketball Diaries author Jim Carroll, Smith was in the hub of the vibrant New York arts scene throughout the —70s. Bockris concentrates heavily on that angle, slipping in famous names wherever possible and writing extensively about himself in the "Seventh Heaven" chapter, named after Smith's first published collection of poetry, which Bockris and his then partner, Andrew Wylie, were responsible for bringing to the public. But then it's also worth noting that Bockris obviously had no contact with Smith for this book. It's interesting to note because Smith, since returning to the public eye in 1996 after a long absence, has not been reclusive. Smith's lack of involvement with Bockris greatly diminishes the reader's feeling of gaining access to her life. Even more importantly, one can't help but think that if one truly wanted to learn about Smith, one would be better off picking up any one of the number of interviews she's granted, or last year's book The Complete Patti Smith, a collection of her lyrics, other writings, and photographs. There, in her complete works, music fans see how Smith, as a musician, has influenced acts from Nirvana to U2 to R.E.M. Also there, in her own words, is the strength she's shown as a person, in overcoming the deaths of her husband, best friend (Mapplethorpe) and brother (Todd) in the span of a year. Smith is indeed a worthy subject for a biography. But she and her many fans deserve better than this sometimes sensationalistic, second-hand account of her life. Read full book review >