Books by Ann Hood

Ann Hood is the author of seven novels and a short-story collection, An Ornithologist's Guide to Life. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.


KITCHEN YARNS by Ann Hood
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Dec. 4, 2018

"A full plate of heart and hearty eats."
In this culinary confessional from the acclaimed author, it's less about the kitchen and more about the yarns. Read full book review >
SHE LOVES YOU (YEAH, YEAH, YEAH) by Ann Hood
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 26, 2018

"Trudy's persistence after initial failure will resonate even with middle graders who've never heard of the Fab Four. (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
"All I had was an invalid mother, three oddball friends, a father who didn't know I was alive anymore, and a sliver of hope that meeting Paul McCartney could change all that." Read full book review >
MORNINGSTAR by Ann Hood
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 1, 2017

"A charming but hardly surprising homage to the power of books."
A novelist chronicles her life through the books that shaped her. Read full book review >
THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST by Ann Hood
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Whether or not they think of themselves as bookish, readers of all stripes will enjoy cycling through these characters' lives and discovering their shared, mysterious past."
A mother and a daughter seek balance in their broken lives while books provide them with comfort, clarity, and clues to a mystery. Read full book review >
KNITTING PEARLS by Ann Hood
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Nov. 9, 2015

"A sad and sweet look at knitting that will appeal to crafters and writers alike."
Writers share their thoughts on knitting in this meditative essay collection edited by Hood (An Italian Wife, 2014, etc.), a follow-up to the editor's previous Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting (2013).Read full book review >
AN ITALIAN WIFE by Ann Hood
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 2, 2014

"A soulful and multilayered book from this accomplished author."
A century in the life of an extended Italian-American family. Read full book review >
THE OBITUARY WRITER by Ann Hood
Released: March 4, 2013

"Hood's fluent storytelling and empathy will ensure popularity, but her heroines' destinies are devoid of surprises."
Connections between an unhappy wife in the Kennedy era and an independent obituarist in early-20th-century California are artfully if predictably spliced in the latest from Hood (The Red Thread, 2010, etc.). Read full book review >
ANGEL OF THE BATTLEFIELD by Ann Hood
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 24, 2012

Time travel loses its way in a maze of clichés, product placements and a slow-moving plot. Read full book review >
THE RED THREAD by Ann Hood
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 3, 2010

"The raw and riveting Chinese stories siphon narrative juice from the more conventional American angst that dominates the novel. Still, the tale ends with a pleasing sense that the red thread is more than a myth, especially in Maya's case."
A group of Americans plan to adopt daughters from China through an agency founded by a bereaved mother, in Hood's moving novel (The Knitting Circle, 2007, etc.). Read full book review >
COMFORT by Ann Hood
NON-FICTION
Released: May 12, 2008

"A loving tribute by turns harrowing and beautiful."
Novelist Hood's brief, heartbreaking memoir chronicles the death of her five-year-old daughter and its soul-searing aftermath. Read full book review >
HOW I SAVED MY FATHER’S LIFE (AND RUINED EVERYTHING ELSE) by Ann Hood
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 1, 2008

Twelve-year-old Madeline Vandermeer of Rhode Island just knows that she is destined to become Saint Madeline of Providence—after all, she has already performed two miracles, one of which she believes saved her father from an avalanche. However, shortly after her father's close call, Madeline's seemingly happy parents divorce. Deeply hurt by the separation, Madeline becomes increasingly determined to achieve sainthood and, even though she's not Catholic, begins attending church, writes the pope and makes a friend, who shares her religious fervor. Madeline's devotion to her faith is tempered by her passion for ballet, which helps ground the text and flesh out her character. Most striking is Madeline's rocky relationship with her mother, whom she blames completely for the divorce. Despite her striving for sainthood, the cruel thoughts and actions that Madeline points at her mother dominate, painting her as mean-spirited, until she begins to slowly suspect that she's blaming the wrong person. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
THE KNITTING CIRCLE by Ann Hood
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 22, 2007

"Readers can only knit their brows in consternation, and hope for a better book next time."
The popular Rhode Island author's eighth novel (Ruby, 1998, etc.) is another domestic melodrama about loss, grief, therapeutic bonding and communal healing. Read full book review >
AN ORNITHOLOGIST’S GUIDE TO LIFE by Ann Hood
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 19, 2004

"A strong, fine collection overall, if not consistently stellar. (Many of these pieces first appeared in The Paris Review, Glimmer Train, etc.)"
Debut collection of 11 humorous, heartfelt stories by novelist Hood (Ruby, 1998, etc.), with characters who find small, determined ways to shock the bourgeoisie in and around Providence. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 1, 2000

"At once pointless and moving, Hood's narrative is too sketchy and diffuse to come into any sort of clear focus—which becomes an annoyance in the end, despite many fine vignettes."
Tearjerker novelist Hood (Ruby, 1998, etc.) sits down to flip through her family album in this sentimental account of her father's battle with cancer. Read full book review >
RUBY by Ann Hood
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 8, 1998

A widow and a teenager form a friendship that helps both move ahead with their lives. Livia meets David when he walks into her East Village hat shop as she's dancing alone to the strains of "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Four months later, the newlyweds marry at City Hall, accompanied by Olivia's cat Arthur dressed in a custom-made top hat. They settle into cozy domesticity, buying a beach house in Rhode Island, painting each other's toenails, reveling in their shared love for Stickley chairs, Leonard Cohen songs, and Disneyland ("but not Disney World"). The extreme preciosity of this version of marital bliss makes it hard to share Olivia's devastation when, a scant year later, David is hit by a car while jogging—especially since Hood's depiction of mourning is as schematic as her characterizations. The story picks up, however, when Olivia discovers 15-year-old Ruby sitting in the kitchen of the beach house. Pregnant and unmarried, Ruby has been thrown out by her working-class mother; her college-student boyfriend seems unlikely to provide much support, either. Olivia decides that adopting Ruby's baby will give her a reason to go on living, and Ruby agrees to the plan, though it's clear that this believably flaky teenager can't be relied on to stick to any decision. Hood makes nice use of physical detail to show Olivia slowly regaining her appetite for life—due less to impending motherhood than to her growing fondness for Ruby, who also gains a new sense of the possibilities open to her from observing Olivia's more privileged existence. The story's unexpectedly touching denouement commendably resists the temptation to provide easy, feel-good resolutions. Not the most profound exploration of grief and loss, but once past the cutesy set-up, veteran Hood (Places to Stay the Night, 1993, etc.) provides a solid tale and several genuinely affecting moments. Read full book review >
PLACES TO STAY THE NIGHT by Ann Hood
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 15, 1993

One 36-year-old Massachusetts mother abandons her family for a career in show business, while another brings her daughter home to die—in a terribly earnest yet finally unsatisfying fifth novel by the author of Something Blue (1991), etc. Years ago, at their tiny Holly, Massachusetts, high school, Tom Harper was the handsome football star, Libby Holliday the slender blond princess, and Renata Handy the hulking, overweight laughingstock of the senior class. Now, 18 years later, Libby has become a dissatisfied housewife whose husband, Tom, owns the local garage—while Renata, who fled to N.Y.C. to become an artist, is a lonely unwed mother waiting tables in a Manhattan diner. Major changes come almost simultaneously to all three former classmates as Libby abruptly abandons Tom and their two rebellious teenaged kids to pursue a long-delayed acting career in Hollywood, while Renata learns that her eight-year-old daughter has a brain tumor that will probably kill her. When Renata returns to Holly determined to create the ``normal'' family life her daughter always craved, she finds a chastened, abandoned Tom waiting to fix her car. Inevitably, the two seek comfort in each other's arms, and their love affair, sad and passionless as it is, provides just the jolt needed to snap all three principals, as well as their children, out of the doldrums and back on their proper life-paths. Derivative characters, bland dialogue, and a predictable plot- -all subtract from this potentially affecting story. Read full book review >
SOMETHING BLUE by Ann Hood
Released: Jan. 15, 1990

Hood's finely tuned prose raises her fourth novel (Three-Legged Horse, 1989, etc.) a notch above clichÇ as she recounts the lives and loves of a trio of youngish, single women in N.Y.C. Lucy, an international tour guide and would-be illustrator, is in love with Jasper, a bartender and would-be dancer. But lately something is off in their relationship. Lucy can't say exactly what's wrong, but she's unhappy—it's a case of would-be yuppie angst. Meanwhile, Julia, Lucy's best friend, spends her time trying to be anybody but herself. She housesits, surrounded by other people's furniture, and she has one-night stands with men, telling them outrageous lies about her background. Finally, there's Katherine, who wakes up on her wedding day and decides she cannot marry future doctor Andy. She flees to New York and moves in with Lucy, her old college roommate. As the Big Apple spins, Lucy breaks up with Jasper, goes on to find big success as an illustrator and eventually, tentatively, reconciles with Jasper. Katherine gets a teaching job, explores other relationships and experiences great sex, but ultimately settles for safe Andy again. Of the three women, it is only Julia who evolves in a satisfying way, learning to come to terms with her true life, and, by the end, we're left wishing that the novel had focused more on her and less on yuppie Lucy and preppy Katherine. Hood's sharp eye for comic detail, along with her fine writing style, keeps the novel moving, but somehow it outruns its own flagging storyline. A beautifully polished Big Apple story—just a little too mushy at the core. Read full book review >