A call to serving the homeless, couched in a novel about a community coming together.



In Madding’s fictional account of a blizzard in Atlanta, Georgia, members of a church seek to better serve the homeless in their community.

The Rev. Samuel Matthews is awakened early one morning by a call from the police, informing him that a man died on the front steps of his church the previous night. When the pastor goes to the hospital to identify the body, he learns that the man froze to death and was likely a member of Atlanta’s large homeless population. When the death is reported in the newspaper, parish members Phil Portman and Alvin Smith have a conversation about how the church could step in to better serve the homeless community. Phil is concerned about the church’s lack of funding for such endeavors, but Alvin asserts, “If we cannot afford to do the work of the church...we should close the doors and stop calling it a church.” All three men soon find their dedication to service challenged by a freak snowstorm that inspires the pastor to open the church as a temporary snow shelter. As the storm brings together the homeless and others temporarily stranded by the storm, the pastor begins to think critically about how to replicate the good deed and offer continual aid for Atlanta’s homeless of Atlanta. The book also offers final questions for reflection and an appendix of resources. Although the three-part story is set largely at a church and invokes faith, it’s never sanctimonious in tone, and it can be enjoyed by community-minded non-Christians. The author clearly establishes and develops each character, which will compel readers to take a genuine interest in their lives. Madding’s prose is clear and readable throughout without seeming overly informal. He also appears to be well acquainted with the city of Atlanta, as his descriptions are precise and easy to visualize. His overall approach to service is refreshing as he coaxes readers into examining their prejudices and selfishness.

A call to serving the homeless, couched in a novel about a community coming together.

Pub Date: April 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-578-65851-3

Page Count: 330

Publisher: Charm House Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2020

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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 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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