A strong romantic fiction debut that will appeal to readers looking for a story of true love via self-discovery.

HONEY GIRL

What happens in Vegas follows two women home.

Grace Porter, newly minted Ph.D. in astronomy, has done everything right—that is to say, she’s done everything according to her father’s plan, and “a Porter always does their best.” As a Black woman in a predominantly White field, she’s had to, so when her friends take her to Las Vegas to celebrate, it’s not a shock that she abandons her lifetime of discipline for just one night of fun. The shock comes the next morning, when, gripped by her hangover, she realizes she got married the night before, and the woman she married is already on her way back to New York City. Grace and her friends want to learn more about her new wife, Yuki Yamamoto, and Grace gets to know her through her late-night radio show out of Brooklyn and old-fashioned phone calls. Before long, she does the second impulsive thing of her life. Frustrated by the bias she’s encountering in her job search, she moves out East to take a break from her perfect plans and get to know Yuki and see if their marriage is worth keeping. But now that she’s started pushing back against the rigid confines of her life, feelings kept tightly locked away are beginning to appear. And for all their attraction to each other, Grace might be carrying too much unresolved pain and confusion to make their marriage work out. This novel, Rogers’ debut, may not strictly be a romance, but it will strongly appeal to readers of the genre. For all the sweet charm of the blossoming love between Grace and Yuki, the book is especially notable for its celebration of friendship, especially in queer communities, and for exploring the many ways relationships can be meaningful and intimate beyond romance. Both Grace and Yuki have diverse, tightly woven groups of friends who buoy and ground them, and the richness of these relationships is the true core of the story. Romance fans will appreciate the happily-ever-after of it all, with a rewardingly emotional conclusion, but this is a book with true crossover appeal as well.

A strong romantic fiction debut that will appeal to readers looking for a story of true love via self-discovery.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7783-1102-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Park Row Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry.

THE FOUR WINDS

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.

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY

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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