An intimate, insightful, intricately rendered story of intergenerational trauma and love.


A Jewish woman escapes from Germany with her husband and baby daughter on the cusp of World War II. Decades later, can her granddaughter escape the lingering effects of her family’s trauma?

A terrifying knock on the door. A pounding heart. A woman clutches her baby in the dark, seeks out the “reassuring shape” of her sleeping husband, then thinks, “They will take him, too. They’ll take all of it, everything and everyone she has ever loved. In an instant. A flash.” Fox’s partly historical novel about a German Jewish family riven on the cusp of the Holocaust begins with this nightmare. While readers are immediately reassured that, for the woman, Annelise, fear will recede and life will go on, a sense of foreboding shadows this bittersweet intergenerational tale of love and trauma, casting it in poignant chiaroscuro. Fox’s novel—subtle, striking, and punctuated by snippets of family letters—tracks Annelise, who works alongside her devoted, kindhearted parents in their family bakery in a small German city, from first love to first heartbreak to marriage to motherhood. Against Annelise’s warm, quiet, tasteful domestic existence swirl the anger, ugliness, and brutality of growing anti-Semitism, ultimately crashing into it in the form of a brick thrown through a window. Annelise is lucky to escape to America with her husband, child, and a close friend. But although she is able to find safety and start a life in a new place with her young family, her parents are not so lucky. Cut to modern-day Milwaukee: Annelise’s granddaughter, Clare, is a young woman held fast by familial love, loyalty, and history as she struggles to move toward romantic love, independence, a sense of purpose. When Clare discovers a neglected cache of family letters and has them translated, she begins to see the invisible emotional scars she carries and to understand how the sadness and pain in her family’s past may be impeding her own future happiness. Fox has imbued this deeply personal, ultimately hopeful novel, which she explains in an author’s note is based on her own family’s story, with emotion, empathy, and an essential understanding of the complicated bonds between generations and the importance of reckoning with the past in order to embrace the future.

An intimate, insightful, intricately rendered story of intergenerational trauma and love.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-101-9478-07

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.


The miseries of the Depression and Dust Bowl years shape the destiny of a Texas family.

“Hope is a coin I carry: an American penny, given to me by a man I came to love. There were times in my journey when I felt as if that penny and the hope it represented were the only things that kept me going.” We meet Elsa Wolcott in Dalhart, Texas, in 1921, on the eve of her 25th birthday, and wind up with her in California in 1936 in a saga of almost unrelieved woe. Despised by her shallow parents and sisters for being sickly and unattractive—“too tall, too thin, too pale, too unsure of herself”—Elsa escapes their cruelty when a single night of abandon leads to pregnancy and forced marriage to the son of Italian immigrant farmers. Though she finds some joy working the land, tending the animals, and learning her way around Mama Rose's kitchen, her marriage is never happy, the pleasures of early motherhood are brief, and soon the disastrous droughts of the 1930s drive all the farmers of the area to despair and starvation. Elsa's search for a better life for her children takes them out west to California, where things turn out to be even worse. While she never overcomes her low self-esteem about her looks, Elsa displays an iron core of character and courage as she faces dust storms, floods, hunger riots, homelessness, poverty, the misery of migrant labor, bigotry, union busting, violent goons, and more. The pedantic aims of the novel are hard to ignore as Hannah embodies her history lesson in what feels like a series of sepia-toned postcards depicting melodramatic scenes and clichéd emotions.

For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2501-7860-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.


An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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