One of King’s finest works.

LISEY’S STORY

The widow of a bestselling novelist reveals that the wellspring for his ideas is a very dark place, indeed.

First and last, this is a powerful love story—and love causes people to do strange and remarkable things. It has been two years since legendary novelist Scott Landon died. His widow, Lisey, has finally summoned the strength to begin clearing and cataloguing his workspace. It is a significant metaphor that Scott and Lisey never had children. Instead, their coupling allowed him to produce numerous novels that thrilled readers. His bestselling works are filled with raw emotion. Academic vultures circle the widow, desperate for access to Scott’s massive archive of unpublished works, notes and secrets. And some of those secrets are worth killing for. Only Lisey knows the source of Scott’s magic, the place where imagination runs wild, the place called Boo’Ya Moon. Scott and Lisey shared a life full of passion, but his death has left a void in her life. She is adrift, confused and stalked by supernatural forces. Incunks prowl, while Lisey chases bools and ducks blood-bools. Sometimes it is unclear where her reality stops and her imagination takes over. Battling against Scott’s legacy, Lisey also comes face to face with her own demons at the edge of Boo’Ya Moon. King is surprisingly introspective and mature here. He showcases the agony and the ecstasy of the writing process. Where Misery (1987) looked at the relationship between writer and fan, this time it is that of the writer and his one true love. There seems to be much of King in the character of Scott (although Scott is both a Pulitzer- and National Book Award–winner). Pain and suffering are Scott’s literary trademarks. The Buddha taught that the end of suffering is supreme happiness. When King finally reveals Lisey’s fate, we all reach the same destination in Boo’Ya Moon.

One of King’s finest works.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2006

ISBN: 0-7432-8941-2

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2006

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

BAREFOOT

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.

FRIENDS FOREVER

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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