AND THEN SHE FELL

A tale of injustice and veiled persecution seen through a fevered imagination.

A tale of compromise, madness, and recuperation by a Mohawk writer in Ontario.

Alice, a young Mohawk woman and new mother to a baby girl named Dawn, finds herself living comfortably in Toronto, married to a white man whose academic specialty happens to be her own culture. Unsettling encounters with prying neighbors, whose racism emerges in both subtle and obvious ways, mark the beginning of Alice’s deteriorating mental health. Her salvation, as she understands it, is to retell the Haudenosaunee Creation Story, though an increasing paranoia and apparent psychosis complicate her efforts. This novel seems, in part, like a contemporary, Indigenized retelling of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” with the first-person narration here similarly highlighting not just a woman’s descent into insanity, but the bigotries and toxic power relations that structure society. Alice’s observations, however unreliable they become, suggest above all the significance of cultural erasure and appropriation for Indigenous peoples, the ongoing impact of policies of cultural genocide, and the rest of the country’s routine incomprehension of or indifference to Indigenous suffering. Particularly intriguing is the representation of Alice’s self-doubt as she attempts to modernize a traditional story without betraying it and the people it represents. As she asks herself, in a passage that seems to sum up a conundrum facing many contemporary Indigenous artists: “Is there a definite, observable moment where interpretation becomes bastardization? If there is I’m flirting with it. I mean, I’m writing my people’s Creation Story—the story that lays out our entire worldview as Haudenosaunee—in the voice of a gossipy, irreverent young woman when common sense (and stereotypes) say I should be writing it in the voice of a sage old Indian man.” 

A tale of injustice and veiled persecution seen through a fevered imagination.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780593473085

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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IT STARTS WITH US

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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