A richly satisfying novel of blood ties, the interplay of nature and nurture and the secrets that even the closest families...

TOMORROW

A marvelous character study with minimal plot.

One of Britain’s foremost novelists, Swift (Light of Day, 2003, etc.) displays his profound empathy in a novel that never leaves the mind of its first-person narrator Paula Hook. It all transpires over a few hours on a June night in 1995 and is told as something of a bedtime story by Paula to her sleeping twin children, Kate and Nick. Tomorrow, she explains, their father will reveal something momentous that will change all of their lives. The timing is significant, because the revelation will occur the week after the twins’ 16th birthday and the week before the Hooks’ 25th anniversary. Though she keeps talking about tomorrow, most of the narrative takes place after midnight, so it’s actually today when the family dynamic will be threatened. And though she addresses her story to her sleeping children, she is plainly talking to herself, revealing intimacies about her own life and her relationship with her husband that no mother would likely inflict on her children. Now a successful art dealer, she explains how she met her husband, biologist Mike Hook, how the two met and fell so rapturously in love, but waited nine years after marrying before having children. What she doesn’t explain until well past the novel’s midpoint is what Mike could possibly reveal that could undermine the love that the two plainly feel for each other and share with their children. If there’s a weakness to the novel, it’s that the suspense that Swift takes such pains to sustain makes the climax feel a little anticlimactic. Yet Paula Hook is a character of such heart, soul and intelligence that the reader forgives her foreboding repetition of “tomorrow.” No novelist is better than Swift at celebrating, as Paula explains, “how sweet and treasurable even the most unambitious moments of life can be.”

A richly satisfying novel of blood ties, the interplay of nature and nurture and the secrets that even the closest families keep from each other.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-307-26690-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2007

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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