Rosellen Brown's extraordinary new novel, Half a Heart, tells the story of a former civil rights activist, Miriam Vener, who feels trapped in the comfortable white upper-middle-class life she leads with her family in Houston in the 1980's. That life suddenly shatters with the appearance, after almost 18 years, of Veronica (Ronnee), her biracial daughter, born of Miriam's passionate affair a generation ago with Eljay, a brilliant black professor at a Mississippi college, who has raised the child ever since. When Miriam introduces her daughter to the utterly white New England town where she summers, and to the Houston society which represents the compromise of her sixties ideals, the results are complicated: What claim does Miriam have on Ronnee after all this time, and what does Ronnee want of her mother now? Ronnee wrestles with her fury at her mother's mysterious disappearance from her life. With which family -- and which race -- does Ronnee identify? Half a Heart is a profoundly moving story about estrangement and intimacy, race and privilege, identity and belonging.
©2000 Rosellen Brown (P)2000 Simon & Schuster
A killer who targets lonely women on cruise ships is at the center of Mary Higgins Clark's newest thriller You Belong to Me, a masterful combination of page-turning suspense and classic mystery. When Dr. Susan Chandler decides to use her daily radio talk show to explore the phenomenon of women who disappear and are later found to have become victims of killers who prey on the lonely and insecure, she has no idea that she is exposing herself - and those closest to her - to the very terror that she hopes to warn others against. Susan sets out to determine who is responsible for an attempt on the life of a woman who called in to the show offering information on the mysterious disappearance from a cruise ship, years before, of Regina Clausen, a wealthy investment advisor. Soon Susan finds herself in a race against time, for not only does the killer stalk these lonely women, but he seems intent on eliminating anyone who can possibly further Susan's investigation. As her search intensifies, Susan finds herself confronted with the realization that one of the men who have become important figures in her life might actually be the killer. And as she gets closer to uncovering his identity, she realizes almost too late that the hunter has become the hunted, and that she herself is marked for murder.
©1999 Mary Higgins Clark; 2008 Simon and Schuster
She was an all-American girl who became a legend of unparalleled stature. She inspired the adoration of millions, and her life has beguiled generations of fans and fellow artists. The story of Norma Jeane Baker, better known by her studio name, Marilyn Monroe, has been dissected for more than three decades, but never has it been captured in a narrative as breathtaking and transforming as Blonde. In her most ambitious work to date, Joyce Carol Oates, one of America's most distinguished writers, reimagines the inner, poetic, and spiritual life of Norma Jeane Baker, the child, the woman, the fated celebrity, and tells the story in Norma Jeane's own voice: startling, rich, and shattering. Drawing on biographical and historical sources, Joyce Carol Oates evokes the distinct consciousness of the woman and the unsparing reflection of the myth, writing as she has never written before, ecstatic, completely absorbed, inhabited as if by the spirit of her extraordinary subject. Rich with psychological insight and disturbing irony, this mesmerizing narrative illumines Norma Jeane's lonely childhood, wrenching adolescence, and the creation of Marilyn Monroe. With fresh insights into the heart of a celebrity culture hypnotized by its own myths, Blonde is a sweeping novel about the elusive magic of a woman, the lasting legacy of a star, and the heartbreak behind the creation of the most evocative icon of the 20th century.
©2001 Joyce Carol Oates (P)2001 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Alexa Chambers has a flair for style, an eye for art - and a reputation in tatters. An expert in Art Deco, she blew the whistle on an employer who was selling fakes to wealthy clients. Her payoff? No job and no prospects. Now she runs a shop in her hometown of Avalon, Arizona - a hot spot for crystal devotees and sunset gazers. But gutsy, energetic Alexa has no intention of sitting still. She's ready to take risks to rebuild her career...and she secretly consults on an exquisite deco collection being installed at the new Avalon Resorts. Her scheme might just work - if she can steer clear of the resort's owner, the enigmatic and possibly dangerous J. L. Trask. Alexa was a scared teenager the last time she saw Trask, the man who accused her stepfather of murder. Insisting his dad's fatal car crash had been no accident, Trask vowed one day he'd come back to Avalon for revenge. Now, 12 years later, their meeting is inevitable. Their attraction is immediate. And their chances of bliss are infinitesimal. Trask wants to piece together the past with Alexa's help - and get closer to this dazzling deco diva. Alexa wants to protect her family - and figure out Trask's real motivations. But when a killer emerges from the shadows, they have no choice but to team up to solve a deadly crime from long ago.
©2004 Jayne Ann Krentz (P)2004 Simon and Schuster, Inc.
Love, like chocolate, comes to us in many varieties, pure and simple, rich and complicated, sweet and bittersweet, and always memorable. These real-life tales celebrate the many ways we express our love, whether it be for a mate, parents, or children, even the acceptance of your own self, and challenge us to soar higher as we reach for our dreams. You'll find strength in stories that honor the power of unconditional love, and learn a lesson in courage as you read about women facing their ultimate moments of truth. You'll take delight in a reflection on the ever-elusive perfect relationship, and find comfort in stories about the generosity of the human spirit. Like the finest chocolate, these inspiring stories of love, drawn from the personal experiences of women from many walks of life, will boost your spirits, lift your heart, and soothe your soul.
©1999 Kay Allenbaugh (P)2004 Simon & Schuster