One of the strongest entries yet in this deservedly popular historical series.


Youngest sibling Fleurette takes up sleuthing on her own in the seventh Kopp Sisters adventure.

It opens on a grim note: The sudden death of their brother, Francis, in January 1919 has left the sisters responsible for his pregnant widow, his two older children, and a mountain of debt they had no inkling of. Each of them makes painful sacrifices: Constance gives up her dream job with the FBI in Washington; Norma abandons her plan to live a freer life in Europe; and a bout with scarlet fever has damaged Fleurette’s voice and her nascent stage career. She’s delighted when a lawyer offers her a well-paying gig as a “professional co-respondent,” helping couples who need to prove adultery to get divorced by posing for compromising photos with the husbands. Although nothing even close to adultery occurs, Fleurette knows her sisters would disapprove, and indeed Constance explodes when she finds out. But Fleurette is sick of being told what to do by Constance and storms off; her ignorance of the fact (which readers of previous novels already know) that she is actually Constance’s illegitimate daughter makes their conflict in this volume particularly wrenching. However, the mysterious behavior of one of the lawyer’s clients gets Fleurette involved in what proves to be a confidence scam targeting vulnerable women, and her attempts to bring the wrongdoer to justice land her in jail. Her sisters come to the rescue, each making her individual, forceful contribution to the satisfying resolution of multiple mysteries: Norma’s overbearing nature is instrumental in unravelling Francis’ catastrophic finances; Constance enlists her law enforcement know-how to smooth over Fleurette’s legal troubles. (As usual, Stewart explains in endnotes what in this fact-based story actually happened and what she invented.) It’s a pleasure to watch Fleurette, rather tiresomely vain and self-centered in earlier novels, mature into a strong, independent woman very much in the Kopp mold. As always, Stewart leaves us with the welcome promise of more Kopp sisters adventures to come.

One of the strongest entries yet in this deservedly popular historical series.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-09311-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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An exhilarating ride through Americana.


Newly released from a work farm in 1950s Kansas, where he served 18 months for involuntary manslaughter, 18-year-old Emmett Watson hits the road with his little brother, Billy, following the death of their father and the foreclosure of their Nebraska farm.

They leave to escape angry townspeople who believe Emmett got off easy, having caused the fatal fall of a taunting local boy by punching him in the nose. The whip-smart Billy, who exhibits OCD–like symptoms, convinces Emmett to drive them to San Francisco to reunite with their mother, who left town eight years ago. He insists she's there, based on postcards she sent before completely disappearing from their lives. But when Emmett's prized red Studebaker is "borrowed" by two rambunctious, New York–bound escapees from the juvie facility he just left, Emmett takes after them via freight train with Billy in tow. Billy befriends a Black veteran named Ulysses who's been riding the rails nonstop since returning home from World War II to find his wife and baby boy gone. A modern picaresque with a host of characters, competing points of view, wandering narratives, and teasing chapter endings, Towles' third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow (2016). You can quibble with one or two plot turns, but there's no resisting moments such as Billy's encounter, high up in the Empire State Building in the middle of the night, with professor Abacus Abernathe, whose Compendium of Heroes, Adventurers, and Other Intrepid Travelers he's read 24 times. A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, Towles' novel is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history.

An exhilarating ride through Americana.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-73-522235-9

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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As the pieces of this magical literary puzzle snap together, a flicker of hope is sparked for our benighted world.

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An ancient Greek manuscript connects humanity's past, present, and future.

Stranger, whoever you are, open this to learn what will amaze you” wrote Antonius Diogenes at the end of the first century C.E.—and millennia later, Pulitzer Prize winner Doerr is his fitting heir. Around Diogenes' manuscript, "Cloud Cuckoo Land"—the author did exist, but the text is invented—Doerr builds a community of readers and nature lovers that transcends the boundaries of time and space. The protagonist of the original story is Aethon, a shepherd whose dream of escaping to a paradise in the sky leads to a wild series of adventures in the bodies of beast, fish, and fowl. Aethon's story is first found by Anna in 15th-century Constantinople; though a failure as an apprentice seamstress, she's learned ancient Greek from an elderly scholar. Omeir, a country boy of the same period, is rejected by the world for his cleft lip—but forms the deepest of connections with his beautiful oxen, Moonlight and Tree. In the 1950s, Zeno Ninis, a troubled ex–GI in Lakeport, Idaho, finds peace in working on a translation of Diogenes' recently recovered manuscript. In 2020, 86-year-old Zeno helps a group of youngsters put the story on as a play at the Lakeport Public Library—unaware that an eco-terrorist is planting a bomb in the building during dress rehearsal. (This happens in the first pages of the book and continues ticking away throughout.) On a spaceship called the Argos bound for Beta Oph2 in Mission Year 65, a teenage girl named Konstance is sequestered in a sealed room with a computer named Sybil. How could she possibly encounter Zeno's translation? This is just one of the many narrative miracles worked by the author as he brings a first-century story to its conclusion in 2146.

As the pieces of this magical literary puzzle snap together, a flicker of hope is sparked for our benighted world.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982168-43-8

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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