Category Archives: Alcove Press

Review: Every Now and Then by Lesley Kagen

Title: Every Now and Then by Lesley Kagen
Publisher: Alcove Press
Genre: Historical (’60s), Mystery
Length: 248 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


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.


Every Now and Then by  Lesley Kagen  is a suspenseful, coming of age mystery which takes place in 1960.

As school lets out for the summer in Summit, WI, three eleven year old friends are looking forward to the adventures awaiting them.  Calling themselves  the Tree Musketeers,  Elizabeth “Biz” Buchanan, Vivian “Viv” Cleary and Frances “Frankie” Maniachi use Biz’s tree house to plan their escapades.  Biz’s Aunt Jane May keeps a close watch on the girls, but they have plenty of free time to sneak out to the Broadhurst Mental Institution and watch their patients. Influenced by horror films, they are fascinated by the knowledge criminally insane patients are housed at the facility. Using their friendships with Jimbo, Albie and Delores, the girls get to know some of the residents at Broadhurst. But their summer fun takes an ominous turn when three patients escape on the fourth of July.

Biz’s mom passed away soon her birth and she is not close to her father who is the town doctor.  Aunt Jane May guides her and her friends with a firm hand.  Biz is observant and smart and she and her friends are refreshingly innocent. However, they put a little too much credence in town gossip.  After a child killer becomes a patient at Broadhurst, the facility captures their imagination and interest.

Not all of their summer is spent observing the goings on at Broadhurst. Much to Biz and Frankie’s dismay, Viv is becoming boy crazy and talks them into watching romantic movies as well as horror films. The girls also try to stay out of the way of the town bully Elvin Merchant. They defy Aunt Jane May’s order to stay away from Mud Town. This area is on the “other side of the tracks” and is home to the town’s people of color including Jimbo, Albie and Delores. The girls love chatting with their friends and watching the patrons dance.

Every Now and Then is a captivating mystery with a marvelous air of nostalgia.  The characters are vibrantly developed and diverse. The storyline is engaging and well-plotted.  The small town setting is the perfect backdrop for the girls’ adventures and goings on at Broadhurst. With the tension slowly building, Lesley Kagen brings this intriguing mystery to a twist-filled conclusion. I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this wonderful novel to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Alcove Press, Every Now and Then, Lesley Kagen, Mystery, Rated B+, Review