Book review: New Marlborough author's first novel 'highly recommended'

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"Time's A Thief," by New Marlborough author B. G. Firmani, takes us to that place where we know time has flown and we recall the past with an earnest and wiser hindsight about what our precious lives were like when we were young and adventurous.

The novel takes its title from the song lyric, "Love is pure gold and time a thief " (From Tony Bennett's "Speak Low"). It recalls a beautiful reminiscence of New York City in the mid-1980's.

Francesca "Chess" Varani is a student at Barnard College when she happens to meet the extraordinary Kendra Marr-Lowenstein who embodies the wealth and the mystique Chess admires.

The subplots involving her college friends and her employment in a "languages services" company called ACME are often hilarious and sometimes sad.

Chess' intense friendship with Kendra is interrupted by betrayal and separation when Kendra disappears, presumably to Morocco.

But Chess is soon drawn into Kendra's family when Kendra's mother Clarice, a writer, employs her as a personal secretary.

The story is further complicated, as it can be with young people who are seekers, when Chess falls in love with Kendra's brother Jerry.

Manipulations, intrigues and unbridled adventures ensue with startling realism. Every strand of this story and every friendship reveals Chess' solid character, longing for real love, and a loyalty it seems at first every character abuses.

Chess becomes a kind of spiritual grace in all their lives.

Signatures of the era are brought out perfectly among New York landmarks, trending titles, music and then-popular personalities. In this gorgeous and atmospheric first novel, we are given a chance to go back in time, reliving perhaps our own '80s.

It is about a smart and caring young woman with the ability to withstand the hurt and emotional damages that accompany a coming of age that forges ahead, as this character does, to find meaning and knowledge at a sometimes costly but never regretted price.

Firmani's characters and her descriptions of people are marvelous.

Her wit, humor and breadth of understanding for very interesting people in this story is as rewarding as her beautiful writing, which flows like a lovely river.

The realization that time has flown when wisdom and appreciation of our past sets in is natural.

This novel bravely portrays the stories of many troubled hearts, how they loved everything and everyone in their lives, even, perhaps especially, the difficult ones, who they remember most.

"Time's A Thief" will be released in May. Firmani will have a book launch for this wonderful and highly recommended new novel at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 4, at The Bookstore & Get Lit Wine Bar in Lenox.

Colin Harrington is the Events Manager at The Bookstore & Get Lit Wine Bar in Lenox. Colin welcomes reader comments at charrington686@gmail.com

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