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Every Now and Then

 

By: Lesley Kagen 

ISBN: 1643853546

Publisher: Alcove Press 

Publication Date: 10/06/20 

Format: Kindle

My Rating: 5 Stars

For fans of Where the Crawdads Sing and This Tender Land comes a heartfelt story about three young girls searching for adventure during the summer of 1960 from the New York Times bestselling author of Whistling in the Dark.

That summer would change us . . . forever.

The summer of 1960 was the hottest ever for Summit, Wisconsin.

For kids seeking relief from the heat, there was a creek to be swum in, sprinklers to run through, and ice cream at Whitcomb's Drugstore. But for Frankie, Viv, and Biz, eleven-year-old best friends, it would forever be remembered as the summer that evil paid a visit to their small town--and took their young lives as they'd known them as a souvenir.

 

With a to-do list in hand, the girls set forth from their hideout to make their mark on that summer, but when three patients escape from Broadhurst Mental Institution, their idyllic lives take a sinister turn. Determined to uncover long-held secrets, the girls have no idea that what they discover could cost them their lives and the ones they hold dear.

 

Six decades later, Biz, now a bestselling novelist, remembers that long ago summer and how it still haunts her and her lifelong friends in Every Now and Then, a story about the ties that bind us, the timelessness of grief and guilt--and the everlasting hope for redemption.

 

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My Review

 

EVERY NOW AND THEN is a bittersweet nostalgic coming-of-age tale full of humor and life’s lessons —assured to win your heart. As always, Lesley Kagen is an entertaining storyteller and does not miss a beat.

 

Summer in the 1960s is the best time for three eleven-year-old young girls who are best friends. Frances “Frankie” Maniachi, Vivian “Viv” Cleary, and Elizabeth “Biz Buchanan in the small town of Summit, Wisconsin.  

 

These gals love horror movies, the drug store, dodging Aunt Jane, and mainly intrigued by the creepy mental hospital, Broadhurst.  They are full of adventure and mischief and cannot wait to get inside the criminally insane institution.  They like to observe the patients from a distance, and they want to get closer to learn more. 

 

Biz, the narrator of this nostalgic tale, is raised by Aunt Jane May (nurse)— after her mother’s death shortly after she was born. Her father is the town physician, and she enjoys reading the medical records.

 

The girls have a killer tree house equipped with all the necessary items every girl wants and calling themselves the “Tree Musketeers.” 

 

The girls are funny, sassy, and smart.  They love listening to gossip and spying on people in all the favorite spots.  However, in some ways, they are naive and unaware of the dangers that surround them.

 

Keagan explores racism, the mentally ill, and homosexuality, among other events of the 60s. You will laugh out loud and want to protect these young, innocent girls from the darkness of the world. Mixed with memories, suspense, and tragedy, you may find yourself rewinding, recalling those summers long ago.  I loved the Aunt Jane May and Uncle Walt and the Epilogue and wrap up.

 

I first read Lesley’s novels in 2014: The Undertaking of Tess (novella) and The Resurrection of Tess Blessing, which landed on my Top books of 2014. I was excited when I saw this novel and was reminded of why I enjoy her books.

 

I grew up in the 50’s/60s and these stories resonate and remind me of my youth. A good summer never exists without a little blackmail. If you love Authors Joshilyn Jackson, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Susan Rebecca White, Beth Hoffman, Diane Chamberlain, and William Kent Krueger, you will enjoy this one.

 

A perfect blending of good versus evil. Insightful, captivating, full of suspense, wit, mystery, and —injustices of the world, grief, guilt, and wisdom. 

 

A special thank you to Alcove Press and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.  I also purchased the audiobook and Hillary Huber delivered an entertaining performance.

 

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Praise

 

“Kagen skillfully spins a nostalgic tale...This fast-paced and suspenseful outing will captivate Kagen’s fans and do much to win her new ones.”

—Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

"Kagen thoughtfully captures the spirit of '60s small-town America, showing both the idyllic, rosy past that inspires nostalgia and its troubling underbelly."
—Booklist

 

“Every Now and Then hits it out of the park with Kagen's trademark folksy vernacular, larger-than-life escapades...and characters who mix the innocence of their age with a certain grown up wisdom...Every Now and Then is for everyone who loves a good story.”
—Jill Miner, owner of Saturn Booksellers

 

"Using true-to-life regional language, Kagen offers us a delightful, entertaining book with very serious undertones...I certainly recommend this book!”
—Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault

 

“A complete winner. It reminded me of the best parts of To Kill A Mockingbird, and the wonderful friendship displayed by Kate DiCamillo’s three amigos in the Raymie Nightingale trilogy. Filled with all the charm of a 1960's small town, Every Now and Then also tackles issues of racism, homophobia, and gender that are topical today. Biz, Frankie, and Viv are sure to steal any reader's heart.”
—Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books

 

"Filled with secrets, lies, and all the truth of what is to be human, especially in a small town, Every Now and Then is a story every heart will embrace.”
—William Kent Krueger, New York Times Bestselling Author of Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land

 

“With a grace reminiscent of Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides, Lesley Kagen paints a tragic and evocative of a childhood summer disrupted by tragedy in 1960s Wisconsin...Both a memorable coming of age tale and suspenseful page-turner. Longtime and new fans of Kagen will delight!”
—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

 

“Lesley Kagen’s Every Now and Then ticks all the best boxes...This novel is delightful and the perfect summer read.” 
—Laurie Frankel, New York Times bestselling author of This Is How It Always Is

 

“Kagen’s trademark blend of childhood curiosity and hidden mysteries shines in this richly imagined coming-of-age adventure.”
—Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

 

"A rollicking good read!” 
—Ellen Marie Wiseman, bestselling author of What She Left Behind and The Orphan Collector

 

“A poignant, beautifully told story...with characters that leap off the page, mysteries both innocent and evil, multi-leveled humor and twists you never see coming, this novel is delightful and unputdownable - I can’t recommend it enough!" 
—Jane Healey, bestselling author of The Beantown Girls

 

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About the Author

 

 

Lesley Kagen is a multi-award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of nine previous novels, an actress, voice-over-talent, sought-after speaker, child advocate, student storyteller, and writing instructor. The mother of two and grandmother of two, she lives in a hundred and fifty year old farmhouse in a small town in Wisconsin. Read More 

 

 

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