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The old place : a novel
2022
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Library Journal Review
In Other Birds, next from the New York Times best-selling Allen, Zoey encounters a runaway girl, two grumpy middle-aged sisters, a famed writer, an isolated chef, and three ghosts when she returns to her recently deceased mother's apartment in a horseshoe-shaped house on South Carolina's Mallow Island, where tiny turquoise birds called Dellawisps flit (200,000-copy first printing). In Emmons's Unleashed, deep cracks in Lu and George Barnes's marriage become evident once only daughter Pippa goes to college, even as Pippa struggles to retain her budding sense of independence amid loneliness and the California wine country surrounding them all threatens to burn. Cohost of the popular podcast Who? Weekly, Finger sets his debut, The Old Place, in a small Texas town where a reluctantly retired schoolteacher Mary Alice finds her life--especially her friendship with close neighbor Ellie--suddenly in question when a long-buried secret is revealed. In debuter Huynh's The Fortunes of Jaded Women, three estranged Vietnamese American sisters living in Orange County's Little Saigon must find a way to lift a curse placed on their family long ago never to find love or happiness (100,000-copy first printing). Blockbuster author Sparks again takes readers to Dreamland in a book about pursuing one's desires possibly at the cost of abandoning the past.
Publishers Weekly Review
Finger debuts with an engaging story of a former high school math teacher and the secrets that catch up with her. After 40 years in the Billington, Tex., school district, Mary Alice Roth is forced into retirement. Prickly and adrift, she rekindles a dormant friendship with her neighbor Ellie Hall. Decades earlier, divorcée Ellie moved next door and became fast friends with Mary Alice, by then a widow, as did their same-age sons. Then, after their sons' high school graduation in 2002, a drunk driver killed Ellie's son Kenny. News of the death of Mary Alice's son, Michael, spread through town shortly after, though the cause went "unspoken" by Mary Alice. Now, Mary Alice's estranged sister, Katherine, arrives, bringing news that Michael is in fact alive, and has shown up drunk at her home in Atlanta. The revelation upends Mary Alice's exacting plans for the town's annual picnic. The years of hiding the truth catch up with Mary Alice, as does her husband's covered-up suicide. Though the narrative tends to meander, and some of the twists are telegraphed early, Finger has a firm handle on Billington's complex and stifling social dynamics. Fans of small-town yarns will find much to like. Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Sept.)
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