STARRED REVIEW
July 07, 2015

An unsolved murder echoes in the halls of Harvard

By Robin Kirman
Robin Kirman’s first novel, Bradstreet Gate, is set amidst the hallowed halls of Harvard, peopled mostly by elite young scholars and their erudite professors and mentors. Her story revolves around three of these students, whose lives become entwined over the course of their undergraduate years—and remain so over the next decade.
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Robin Kirman’s first novel, Bradstreet Gate, is set amidst the hallowed halls of Harvard, peopled mostly by elite young scholars and their erudite professors and mentors. Her story revolves around three of these students, whose lives become entwined over the course of their undergraduate years—and remain so over the next decade.

Georgia is the sought-after beauty, daughter of a famous photographer. Charlie, the son of blue-collar parents from whom he is estranged, sees Harvard as a stepping stone: a place to “forge as many connections for the future” as he can. He falls for Georgia almost immediately, launching a crush lasting four years, nearly until graduation. Like Charlie, Alice also sees admittance to Harvard’s class of 1997 as an escape: The daughter of Serbian immigrants, Alice has spent her childhood toggling between a father who embraces America and a mother who won’t even try.

Early in Kirman’s character-driven novel, a murder occurs on campus, just a week before graduation. The prime suspect is Rufus Storrow, an enigmatic young professor and new housemaster with a unique background—a graduate of West Point and a stint at the Pentagon, where he’d served as chief of the International Law Branch. One of Storrow’s students is the victim, and though circumstantial evidence points to him, he is never brought to trial.

How the murder affects Storrow and the three young graduates over the next decade constitutes the crux of Bradstreet Gate—guilt festered, lies were told and dreams abandoned. The unsolved crime will disappoint readers focused on the novel’s mystery elements; nevertheless Kirman’s psychological study of the lingering effects of tragedy on her characters over time engages from start to finish.

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Bradstreet Gate

Bradstreet Gate

By Robin Kirman
Archetype
ISBN 9780804139311

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