True to form, Ms. Hoffman relates [the novel's] events with such easy fluency that the reader is quickly enveloped in her story; it's like sinking into a rocking chair and being gently seduced by the movement and rhythm. Ms. Hoffman's facility as a writer, however, only temporarily disguises the highly contrived nature of a plot propelled by implausible coincidences. These developments—combined with a series of cute, supernatural events that are never organically integrated into the overall narrative—eventually undermine the novel's emotional power: the reader finishes the book feeling vaguely manipulated, and hence detached from the characters' fates. The result is a book that's entertaining enough to read, but lacking in significant emotional afterlife.
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times
Once charmed into one of Ms. Hoffman's stories about the intersection of wounded people who seek to learn where and how to give their love, the reader can't help searching for a happy ending as eagerly as Alice Hoffman's characters labor to achieve it.... In Turtle Moon, her latest work, Ms. Hoffman writes quite wonderfully about the magic in our lives and in the battered, indifferent world. I don't know that she's written better.
Frederick Busch - New York Times Book Review
Combining aspects of a suspense thriller and a romance, and including such surefire elements as an abandoned baby, a youngster on the verge of juvenile delinquency who is reformed, two dogs and a supernatural character who provides the requisite touch of fantasy, Hoffman's new novel has commercial success written all over it. But some readers will fail to find the enchantment provided in such previous works as Illumination Night and Seventh Heaven. The town of Verity, Fla., starts to steam up in May, when the humidity and temperature soar. (Among the things readers must accept is the dreadful, oppressive May heat; one is tempted to ask, if it's so unbearable in May, how do people live through the summer?) Verity is full of divorcees, and when one of them is murdered, Keith Rosen, "Verity's meanest 12-year-old," finds her baby, who was in fact the object of an aborted kidnapping, and runs away, instinctively hiding the threatened child. This development brings together Keith's divorced mother, Lucy, and the town's surly policeman, Julian Cash, a loner with a tragedy in his past. Despite the murder and a stalking assassin, this is really a fairy tale: Keith bonds with the baby and tames a vicious dog ("No one has ever known him the way this dog does"); a ghost/angel falls in love and brings redemption to Julian, and several people begin new lives. Hoffman lards her slick plot with ponderously sentimental observations, the kind of bromides that could be embroidered on a pillow. But she knows how to manipulate suspense and tug the heartstrings; with its cinematic flow and larger-than-life characters, her novel will make a wonderful movie.
A mix of murder and magic in the Florida sunshine as only Hoffman (Seventh Heaven, 1990, etc.) could conjure it. Verity, Florida, once known for live alligators, is now better known for alligator salads (a mix of spinach, peppers, avocado and chopped eggs, tinted green), as well as for having more divorced women from New York than any other town in the state of Florida. Lucy Rosen is one of those women. She has recently moved to Verity, and what she doesn't know yet is that in May, when the turtles come out and crawl across the roads, anything can happen. People go crazy. Dogs bite. Ficus hedges burst into flame. This particular May, a woman in Lucy's condo complex is murdered, her baby is missing, and Lucy's own son, Keith, has vanished as well. With the assistance of Julian Cash, a reclusive Verity policeman, Lucy sets out to find out who committed the murder and what has become of the missing children. The fact that the ultimate resolution of these mysteries is only partly plausible doesn't really matter in the end. Because Hoffman's strength is that she deals in dreams. She knows all about the everyday things that defy simple explanations—lovers who suddenly turn cold, turtles who mistake streetlights for the moon. The Florida she paints here is not the one promoted by any chamber of commerce. With a climate that is both mesmerizing and malignant, it is a place where dragonflies' wings catch fire and strangler plums drop down from trees, leaving dents in parked cars. It is a place where rattlesnakes crawl into telephone booths and angels lurk outside the Burger King. It's a place where anything might happen. And, naturally, it does. Pure Hoffman: her take on the tropics is haunting, hypnotic, and hot as a fever dream.
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