|Kirkus Review, December 2016
A small child’s obvious need puts a world-weary New Yorker in touch with her own vulnerability and capacity for love.
When she first meets young Jenny Gilmour, Kate Andersen has lost her publishing job and her high-powered lawyer boyfriend in the same week, and she is in no mood to be motherly. However, when her neighbor Sally McKean introduces her to the 6-year-old she is babysitting indefinitely, the strange silent girl tugs at her sympathies, and, almost against her will, Kate finds herself reaching out to Jenny. The lonely child responds to Kate’s simple kindness and slowly emerges from her shell. Kate begins to get some freelance work, and her boyfriend, Roger, calls and apologizes. Just when Kate’s life seems to be back on track, Jenny’s past intrudes in the form of a scheming absentee mother and a gangster who claims to be her father. Determined to protect the child who has become important to her, Kate is drawn into legal problems, physical danger, and the threat of losing Roger again. This engrossing romantic adventure combines mystery and psychological drama in an intricate study of family relationships, economic class, and child abuse, the sometimes-casual portrayal of which is disturbing. Sally, who is presented as basically good-hearted, if rough around the edges, constantly refers to Jenny as “Creephead” and almost always curses at her. Rothman-Hicks and Hicks (Weave a Murderous Web, 2016, etc.) avoid offering simple solutions, and the characters are often the victims of circumstance as well as their own failings. An emotionally incisive ending sidesteps pat resolutions.
An absorbing story about both the supportive and destructive aspects of family entanglements.
Reviewed By Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite June 12, 2015 — Five Statrs
Kate And The Kid by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks revolves around a troubled woman, Kate, and a neglected child, Jenny. The latter has been physically and mentally abused by her alcoholic and drug addict mother who still continues to live her life in the same lane. Kate has enough issues in her life. Hiroth Publishing, where she has been working, is closing down and she has two weeks left to find another job. It is at this stage of mild depression when Kate sees the six-year-old looking out of Mrs Morley’s street level apartment one day. Kate takes this little girl under her wing and tries to give her a normal life by making her feel loved and giving her the simple joys of being a little girl.
The plot is relatable with its authenticity in character portrayal and dialogue. The book handles the topic of child abuse very well and shows readers how a person can bring about a positive change in another person’s life. The book connects with readers emotionally, and every scene in the book, from the parks to the courtrooms, to the cheap apartments and hospitals is described with expertise. The book has a subtle message which makes the story even more appealing. The author weaves the story of Jenny and Kate together while the other dominant characters in the story, Sally and Roger, are also well sketched, aiding the main characters effectively. This beautiful story of bonding, friendship and loyalty is a touching read.
Reviewed By Jackie Timmons for Readers’ Favorite June 13, 2015– Five Stars
Things are looking bleak for both Kate and “the kid” at the start of Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks’ novel, Kate and the Kid. Kate lost her editorial job at a NYC publishing company and had a huge, possibly relationship ending, fight with her lawyer boyfriend. The kid, Jenny, fell asleep one night with her mother and awoke the next morning to find she’d been abandoned and left to stay with her mom’s friend, Sally, who refers to Jenny only as “creep-head.” Jenny’s previous six years likely hadn’t been much better since she’s so scared and shy that she only speaks through her one armed Barbie named Miranda. Both girls desperately need a break and a friend when they are thrust together. Despite her lack of motherly instincts and her issues with her own mother, Kate connects quickly with Jenny. Kate seems to understand Jenny and treats her like a real person instead of some annoying burden. Jenny latches onto her and the two end up spending more and more time together while Kate unwillingly takes on more and more parental responsibility. As Kate tries to reconnect Jenny with her mother, she ends up getting seriously involved in a world she knows nothing about. A world of drug dealers, attempted murder, and family court. Through everything, Kate wants only to help Jenny and do what is best for the sweet little girl. But with so many factors involved, from Jenny’s mother to her alleged father to social workers, Kate has a big challenge ahead.
Warning: reading Kate and the Kid might cause you to lose all track of time and anything going on around you. This novel was completely engrossing. Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks created characters who were completely relatable but still surprising. I loved Kate and Jenny and really wanted everything to work out for both of them – to the point that they were on my mind even when I wasn’t reading the book. Kate’s boyfriend, Jenny’s mother, Sally and the rest of the characters were so well developed, I felt like I knew them. Even Kate’s mother, who we never meet, felt real to me. The descriptions of all the NYC parks, playgrounds and other places Kate and Jenny visited were vivid and beautiful. There are stretches of the novel when everything was going great and I ended up totally stressed out wondering when and what would happen to interrupt the bliss. This is one of those books that you don’t want to ever end!
Reviewed By Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers’ Favorite, May 30, 2015, 4 Stars.
Kate and the Kid, written by the husband and wife team of Anne Rothman Hicks and Kenneth Hicks, places you in the heart of New York City. One of the city’s oldest publishing firms shuts down, leaving Kate unemployed. Maybe it’s time to write one of those books she has buried within? After all, she is supposed to be a famous writer by now. Forgetting her keys, after having an argument with her boyfriend, Kate is locked out of her apartment building. Looking through the front door, she spots a little girl with a dirty face staring out into space. Kate tries to get her to open the door, but the little girl runs away. This brief encounter changes Kate’s life in ways she never could have imagined. Before long, little Jenny captures Kate’s heart and they become inseparable. Both Kate and Jenny discover there is a whole new world waiting for them. However, their happiness is challenged. Danger lurks, and even comes to visit. Just how much is Kate willing to risk for Jenny? Possibly, everything.
Kate and the Kid is a compelling story about child abuse. The Hicks team writes a realistic narrative proving one person can make a difference. Although Kate’s character is conflicted, she is strong-willed, smart and courageous. Her character arcs and ultimately evolves due to her sidekick, Jenny, (the real heroine of the story). As the story unfolds, little Jenny’s character dramatically begins to change. The walls built around her innocence melt like wax. In the beginning, the mood is desperate. Life is full of uncertainty, disappointment, and the streets of New York City reek of crime and danger. Yet, just when things couldn’t get any worst, hope springs up. These authors are a dynamic duo. Kate and the Kid breaks your heart, then ignites a fervent flame of determination to read through to the end. Emotionally hooked into the plot, I could not stop reading. Captivated, I had to know the outcome. I was not let down. The ending feels like a warm blanket on a cold and bitter winter’s day … so good.
Review by Susan Bernhardt, Author of The Ginseng Conspiracy and Murder Under the Tree, May 15, 2015, 5 Stars.
I had wanted to read a book by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks for a while now, knowing their reputation for quality novels and having read many of their blog posts. I expected excellent writing and I wasn’t disappointed, but what impressed me even more was the story, which I was immediately drawn into.
I liked Kate and The kid, Jenny from the start. Kate was compassionate and Jenny was badly in need of that compassion. Much had happened in that little girl’s short life. The story of their relationship is endearing, other parts of the book weren’t…parts that include Jenny’s mother, the mother’s low-life boyfriend.
What a cast of complex characters in this story. Examples: Foul-mouthed Sally. People come from all different walks of life. Often times she was verbally abusive to Jenny. I still thought she had a good heart. I know, it doesn’t make sense. I also liked Roger, even with his incessant need for Kate’s attention, he was incredibly giving.
I loved that Manhattan was the setting, and throughout the novel, we were taken on the tour of the city. For this reader, that was a major plus.
I can’t recommend Kate and The Kid enough. Thank you, Ken and Anne, for many enjoyable hours.
Review by Dianne Bylo, Tome Tender Book Blog, January 31, 2015. 5 Stars
A woman needing to rebuild her life from the ground up and a young, cast-off child with severe emotional issues are brought together by chance and find they are the best medicine for healing and learning the important things in life. Kate and the Kid by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks focuses on Kate, a woman in conflict and six-year-old Jenny, a child both physically and mentally abused and neglected by her drug and alcohol addicted mother who has made one too many bad decisions in life and seems resigned to continue down that path. Jenny has been pawned off on Kate’s neighbor, a coarse woman with a big heart who is ill-equipped to care for a child. Kate sees the young girl as she tries to become invisible, hiding behind a broken Barbie doll, which becomes her pleading voice. Taking Jenny under her wing, Kate ends up becoming her not so legal guardian, giving the girl a chance at feeling loved, important and to feel the joys of childhood without fear of repercussions. Is Kate hiding behind Jenny as an excuse not to look at her own life or will her eyes be opened to what is truly important? Will Jenny become the miracle that opens the eyes and hearts of the adults that she comes in contact with? What of her future? What if the courts become involved again? Will Jenny finally come out on top or will she remain a case number by well-meaning, but unemotional laws and their officers? Will anyone besides Kate champion her cause?
There is a message built into this tale, one that exposes the problems with how children are lost within a world filled with laws that are making them property, social workers that cannot possibly see the desperation of their day to day lives and it only takes one voice raised loud enough to foster a move for change.
Once again, the dynamic writing style and attention to detail shines through for versatile authors Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks. These two hearts and minds have brought another slice of life in New York City to life with sheer brilliance! It is apparent they believe in their talent in the bold manner they have created this tale of life on the darker side of the street in a city with millions of stories to tell. What makes Kate and the Kid stick out? Each page is a skillfully told, inviting the reader to be part of the scenery, from parks to courtrooms, hospitals to lower-rent apartments. You will live the sights, sounds and smells each character lives. Speaking of characters, not only do they come to life, moving and speaking on my mental movie screen, but they are running in 3D mode, alive and breathing, feeling and reacting with completely believable and engaging way. I found myself wondering how I would react if in the same position, instead of shaking my head at what I might consider a bad move. That is connecting with readers completely and that is what these amazing authors do.
I received this copy from the authors in exchange for my honest review.
Pirategrl1014 September 8, 2014, Amazon. 5 Stars
Amazon Customer, January 8, 2014, Amazon. 5 Stars
Parents are supposed to protect, nurture and care for their children. But, many don’t. Kate learns the true meaning of love when after losing her job, her boyfriend, coming home drunk, forgetting her keys and leaving her possessions at Roger’s apartment and meets Jenny. Six-year-old Jenny is angry, scared, tough and makes faces at Kate every time she sees her hanging out of the window of Sally’s apartment. But, when Kate finds herself a guest in Sally’s apartment because she’s locked out an unusual and unexpected bond and friendship develops and something in her changes. Linda, Jenny’s mother left her with Sally because she needed time alone to think. Calling once in a while and not really caring much for what was happening to her daughter Sally became her primary caregiver. But, when Sally decides a night of fun is in order what happens next will change it all. Kate and Jenny enjoy some fun having a cookout until Jenny sees someone in the park and she and Kate have to run. Fears set aside they forget the man in the park until he shows up the next day claiming to be Jenny’s dad. Drug dealer, sleazy, frightening and hardnosed he boldly tells Kate that he will take charge of this precious little girl hoping to find her mother too. Bruises quite revealing on this child, a doll she calls Jenny as she wants to be called Miranda, allows readers to know that this child has been a victim of much more abuse than has been revealed. When Jenny is forced to leave with this man Kate becomes determined to change things around.
Kate has within herself a sense of what’s right and although her friend Sally claims that Linda as the situation under control and she should not interfere something tells her she can’t and won’t let it go. Jenny is tough, scared and wants someone to love her but who can she trust? Finding herself walking and thinking things through Roger sees her and things fall back into place for them both. Understanding where she is coming from but fearful of what kind of a man the person claiming to be Jenny’s father is, he makes her promise to think about moving in with him and leaving this situation behind. But, Kate is strong willed and caring and finds herself at what is supposed to be Linda’s apartment and as the scene unfolds the truth about so many things and Jenny’s parentage is about to unfold. The man claiming her father appeared to have taken an overdose when in reality he was forced to use some powerful drugs. Finding Jenny, taking her out of the situation she thinks carefully but does call 911.
But, not everything is what is seems and with the help of a friend of her mother she learns more about Jenny’s birth, who is not on the certificate and from Sally why Linda for a while will not be part of her daughter’s life. Jenny is the victim of more than just neglect and child abuse both physical and emotional as you hear Sally’s way of dealing with her, calling her names and alienating her even further. As Kate formulates in her own mind how she might try to save this child from protective services and herself she agrees to take her out for a day but every step of the way Jenny tests her patience. Loyalty, love, friendship, caring and trust are tested, destroyed and rekindled as authors Anne Rothman- Hicks and Kenneth Hicks tell a story that could be ripped right out of the headlines, part of a CSI episode or even a case study from ACS report by a school guidance counselor.
Kate is determined and will not anything or anyone deter her from trying to learn more about Jenny’s mother and the reasons why she keeps leaving her with Sally. Frustrated and angry she often finds herself in situations that are dangerous. Enlisting the help of Gail a friend of her mother she learns more about Jenny’s father, the fact that the courts are trying to terminate her mother’s parental rights and that the end result just might be CPS taking over and a foster home. As an educator I have to root for Kate and hope she wins her battle to keep Jenny with her. Linda, her mother proves to be unstable and the authors depict her as volatile, abusive, unreliable, on drugs, drinks too much but something within Kate feels that Linda does care in her own way for Jenny. Afraid, yet daring Jenny and Kate find their way to the park and as any 7 year old who thinks she is invincible she climbs a railing and falls hitting her head and bruising parts of her body. Ambulance called and taken to the hospital the scenes that are described are right out of any news article that reporters love to write about when parents are abusive, a child’s rights need to be protected and hospital personnel claim to be doing their job. The intake nurse, the social worker, the doctors and the entire staff seem very clinical and as Kate answers the questions she begins to sound off herself. Whether nerves or guilt because she feels she was at fault for Jenny’s injuries, the hospital refuses to believe her story and things go downhill until Roger comes back into the picture. With the help of this understanding and amazing lawyer she hopes to get the support she needs to keep Jenny with her but not before Linda sets her up, causes grave danger to Kate and what happens next will send chills down your spine and make you wonder why anyone would allow Linda near any child.
As the parties enter the courtroom and the charges to terminate Linda’s parental rights are at stake, Kate, Roger and Jenny face an uphill battle hoping that someone will listen and care about Jenny.
From Sally, to Mrs. Morley the babysitter, to Linda and Roger will who really cares about Jenny? Make a circle around her look at the faces within this ring: Just Jenny’s. On the outer ring holding hands around her is: Sally, Rico, Anthony, Linda, Kate, Mrs. Morley, CPS lawyer, the judge, the social worker, the nurses, the doctor and Roger: Jenny extends her hands: Whose will she touch? Child abuse of any kind is cruel, inhumane and wrong. Dealing with CPS, ACS and many social workers while with the Public Schools in NYC, I realize that what the authors have described might be fiction in this story but a reality for many children in real life. All of those that are supposed to protect the innocent need to really look long, deep and hard and find the courage to care, understand and focus on not the paperwork, not just placing a child with any family but making decisions that will help the child grow in a positive way.
An ending so dramatic and the final decision you just won’t believe as Jenny’s fate is sealed in the courts while Kate, Roger and many others hold their breath for the judge’s decision. This is one book that all educators, supervisors, social workers, intake officers, police officers and nurses should read to understand why we need to protect our young.
Ladybug Lin. Ladybug Lin Reviews, September 19, 2013. 5 Stars
What a powerful surprise this book proved to be.
Kate is suddenly jobless…her employer closing down, leaving his employees jobless and somewhat reeling in spite of the paltry severance pay.
Into this upheaval Kate meets Jenny and her one armed doll named Miranda. Jenny is a shy child living across the hall from Kate, and in need of a good bath, or so she thinks.
Through many quirks of fate…(and no…I don’t do spoilers, so will not enumerate them here)…Kate ends up giving sanctuary to the child setting off many events that left me on the edge of my seat with a heart so deeply involved in the story I felt all the emotions you can imagine. You end up cheering, gasping, angry, terrified, and ultimately…dazed with a deep seated sense of awe.
This book gives you growth of spirit, heart, soul, and wisdom. Four people…not one, or the usual two…NO…FOUR PEOPLE will grow…some glaringly so…some…Dear God, but you hope so.
I HAVE to give KATE AND THE KID
FIVE STARS for the riveting tale Anne Rothman-Hicks and her collaborator Kenneth Hicks have given us.
Anonymous, November 15, 2013. 5 Stars
Kate and the Kid is a true feel good novel. Thoroughly heartwarming..authentic characters and dialogue. As a voracious reader, I highly recommend.
Terry Wood-Lavine, August 5, 2013, Amazon. 5 Stars
Very impressed with the dialogue, very believable, enjoyed the setting on upper East Side, Good character development and a satisfactory ending which I doubted that could be achieved.