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Cover of "Just Take My Heart: A Novel"
Cover of Just Take My Heart: A Novel

–> Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark

Kirkus Reviews

An assistant prosecutor trying the biggest case of her life doesn’t realize that the victim she’s hoping to avenge isn’t the only damsel in distress. Fifteen years after her actress roommate Jamie Evans was strangled in Central Park, Broadway sensation Natalie Raines has the awful experience of meeting and recognizing her killer. Hours later, Natalie is shot to death herself. But Bergen County prosecutor Ted Wesley, who never called Jamie’s murder anything but a robbery gone bad, fails to connect the two crimes. Instead, he indicts Gregg Aldrich, Natalie’s estranged husband and former agent. The most damning (and virtually the only) testimony against Gregg comes from career burglar Jimmy Easton, who bargained down the sentence for his latest job in return for a story about Gregg offering to pay him $25,000 to kill Natalie. Jimmy should be a terrible witness, but he isn’t. So even though Michael Gordon, the Courtside TV host who’s kept an ominous distance from his old friend in the weeks leading to the trial, runs a series of informal polls that indicate that nearly half the TV audience thinks Gregg is innocent, things look a lot blacker for the defendant in the courtroom. Emily Wallace, the assistant prosecutor Wesley has assigned to the case, wonders if Gregg is guilty after all. Although she doesn’t know it, Emily has much bigger problems to deal with. Her solicitous neighbor Zach Lanning is actually Charley Muir, who vanished after killing his wife’s family in Iowa and now has his eye on Emily. The closer Emily gets to nailing Natalie’s murderer, the closer a second, unrelated murderer is getting to nailing her. Clark (Where Are You Now?, 2008, etc.) handles the courtroom scenescapably, and fans will be as excited as ever coming down the home stretch. It’s a shame that the climax awaiting them is the most strained and silly the bestselling author has ever fobbed off on her devoted readers.

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Publishers Weekly

Huston’s memoir begins when she is five years old, learning of her mother’s death from her godfather. Although she is sent to live with her father, the film director John Huston, he is an intermittent presence in her life. Then, when she is 12, Allegra’s stepmother informs her that her real father is the British historian John Julius Norwich. Huston, who spent several years as an editor in British publishing before creating a writers’ workshop in New Mexico, skillfully integrates her childhood memories with revelations from her mother’s correspondence, recounting her often-awkward encounters with “my dad” (Huston) and “my father” (Norwich) with great sensitivity. Although she spent part of her adolescence living with her older sister, Anjelica, there isn’t much in the way of Hollywood gossip beyond fleeting scenes of Marlon Brando playing chess and verbal abuse from Ryan O’Neal. Instead, the emphasis lies in young Allegra’s constant feelings of alienation and the subtle development of familial affections that culminate with Hustons and Norwichs coming together to witness the christening of her own son. Where many memoirists compete to see who’s had the most outrageous life, this story stands out in its quiet poignancy.

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Publishers Weekly

In this rich study, British historian Moorhouse (Great Harry’s Navy) portrays the destruction of England’s 650 Catholic monasteries and nunneries in the 1530s as a brazen smash-and-grab by a cash-strapped King Henry and his crafty vicar-general, Thomas Cromwell. After a beady-eyed inventory of assets by Cromwell’s lawyer-accountants, Moorhouse notes, religious houses were seized or semivoluntarily “surrendered” to the Crown by terrified abbots, their occupants dispersed, their estates auctioned off, their shrines vandalized and buildings demolished, their jewelry and chalices sent to the royal treasury. Moorhouse finds continuity amid the upheaval by focusing on Durham Priory, a Benedictine monastery with a celebrated cathedral, that survived to become an Anglican Deanery. Drawing on monastic archives, the author vividly recreates the Priory’s close-knit community and the warmth and grandeur of its Catholic observances -whose spirit, he contends, infused the Anglican era. His story is partly about the triumph of modernity, with its mercenary logic and remorseless bureaucracy, over medieval values of tradition and sacredness. But as it mourns what was lost in the English Reformation, Moorhouse’s absorbing account takes stock of what was not.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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