New Kirkus Reviews editorial review for my short story collection, Drink Wine and Be Beautiful

I’m very pleased to receive a new editorial review for my upcoming short story collection, Drink Wine and Be Beautiful.

This review comes from Kirkus Reviews. It means a lot to me. I’ve long wanted to publish a short story collection, and I’m so excited to have this one coming out in the world on 26 May. Good reviews are simply the icing on the cake.

You can read the full review below:

Drink Wine and Be Beautiful Kirkus Review

Sullivan’s debut short story collection follows modern-day women as they seek change.

In this collection, multiple female protagonists experience travel, success, changes in relationships, and journeys homeward. Many of the characters hail from or immigrate to Italy, and the stories are primarily set in Mediterranean countries. The author explores the complexities of female friendship, dissolving and abusive relationships, quests for autonomy, motherhood, widowhood, discoveries about the self, missed opportunities, envy, and careers. Most of these women find a way to thrive despite the challenges they face in a world that caters to men.

Inspiring wanderlust, Sullivan’s characters visit ancient bridges, beautiful Mediterranean landscapes, wine bars, coffee shops, and museums, occasionally venturing off to farther-flung locales including Indonesia and the United States. The prose employs sensory details to establish place as the environments parallel the characters’ internal landscapes. The author takes women out of victimhood roles, allowing them—in most cases—to become agents of their own destiny.

In “Stari Most,” a bridge compels a woman named Victoria to face a trauma that has haunted her relationships, leading her to repair her marriage. Valeria, the protagonist of “The Ring,” uses a found ring to enhance a potential relationship. Sullivan juggles multiple perspectives: old and young; wealthy and poor; and conservative and liberal.

Occasionally, stories end too abruptly, just before the reader sees the consequences of the character’s actions. Also, while many of the dynamics between the female characters feel authentic, as in the subtle envy depicted in “Wine and Beauty” (“ ‘Look at them, with their perfect clothes and thousands spent on hair and spas. Bet they wouldn’t be agonizing over rent payments or affording college.’ The more she observed, the more resentful she felt”), there are moments when gender roles feel stereotyped, and some interactions lack nuance. Still, this is a strong body of work, and the author is unafraid to experiment, as the stories range from slices of life to near fairy tales. Sullivan’s own adventures abroad and knowledge of history provide solid grounding for her narratives

A searching collection of tales about women’s quests for self-realization.


Direct link to review page: DRINK WINE AND BE BEAUTIFUL | Kirkus Reviews

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