An emotionally dramatic but ultimately lightweight romance.

THE RETURN OF THE SCOUNDREL

In this historical sequel to Love’s Dance (2017), set at the end of the 19th century, a ruthless convict escapes prison and seeks revenge against the woman who put him there. 

After Bridger Crandall’s illegal financial scheme was exposed by wealthy heiress Maggie Lenihan, he unsuccessfully attempted to murder her, which landed him in the Colorado State Penitentiary for 25 years. Seven years into that sentence, in 1887, Bridger escapes and starts a new life under the name “Richard Rutledge,” working for Sloan Talbott, a successful prospector in Leadville, Colorado. That town is dangerously close to the ranch outside Greeley where Maggie now makes a home with her husband, Garret Blackstone. Bridger is hungry for vengeance, and he serendipitously finds an opportunity to get it: Joseph Bainbridge, an affluent businessman, has hired Sloan’s sister, Libby, as a teacher in Greeley, and she’s moved in with Maggie and Garret. Bridger uses his considerable charm to coax information out of Libby; she’s soon infatuated with him and unsuspecting of his motives, which allows him to freely pursue his plans. Meanwhile, the warm friendliness of the wealthy, handsome, and single Bainbridge piques Libby’s interest. Then Maggie, who’s expecting her second child, finds out that Bridger is on the loose, and she can only anxiously wait to see what he intends to do—and Creek poignantly depicts her fright. The novel as a whole, like its predecessor, brims with intrigue, suspense, and romance, and the author effectively presents all of these elements in a propulsive plot that never loses steam. Creek seems to be aiming to explore the malevolence of which man is capable, but the earnest, companionable prose isn’t especially well-suited to this ambitious task. Although there’s a surfeit of drama here, it lacks a sense of grittiness, overall. One can enjoy this story without reading its predecessor, but it will likely be a less fulfilling experience than reading both books in sequence. 

An emotionally dramatic but ultimately lightweight romance.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

Did you like this book?

more