It's 1987, and only Pope Pius XIII knows that the Apocalypse is at hand and that two virgins will give birth simultaneously this very year. And indeed news reaches him that a 14-year-old virgin is apparently divinely pregnant in Ireland and another in Newport, Rhode Island. And only the Pope knows that one of the two babes will be. . . the Beast of Revelation come to do battle with the newborn Savior. Meanwhile? Famine in India! Locust plagues in Africa! Polio epidemic in California! Signs and portents! So the Pope orders Father Eduardo Rosetti, Chief Investigator for the Congregation of Rites (i.e., big man on miracles), to jet to Dublin and Newport and check into the forthcoming immaculate deliveries. (And also assigned to watch over virgin Kathleen in Newport is Sister Anne Feeney, herself a disturbed virgin, in tormented love with brilliantly handsome, lustful Father Justin O'Carroll.) Are the virgins really virgins? And which virgin has the halo? Patterson doesn't really care—and neither will you; but the pages fly by professionally enough, churned along by a writer who once wrote a good book (The Thomas Berryman Number) before turning to exploitative concoctions like The Jericho Commandment and this.

Pub Date: June 1, 1980

ISBN: 0553146521

Page Count: 240

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1980

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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