Despite a few mild threats, nothing to suggest any actual lions in this den.


The second in Bradford’s House of Falconer series about a retail dynasty.

By 1889, James Falconer, soon to turn 21, has made himself indispensable to commerce impresario Henry Malvern while dreaming of founding his own retail empire. As in the first installment, Master of His Fate (2018), James’ extended family is still warm and supportive. The decor of every dwelling, be it ever so bourgeois, is still lavishly detailed. And James is still exhibiting his preference for older women. His lover Mrs. Ward, age 31, left London for health reasons, but now there is Irina, age 22, fetching great-granddaughter of a Russian ambassador. One senses immediately, despite their speedy progress from attraction to a perfunctory “insert sex scene here,” that Irina is just a place holder—until James and Alexis, Henry’s daughter, between whom an attraction has been brewing since Master, can resolve their differences. Which seem to have mostly to do with competition for her father’s good graces. To Alexis' extreme resentment, James has effectively usurped her status as Malvern’s chief deputy since Alexis has chosen to remain, grieving, in the Kentish cottage her late fiance, Sebastian Trevalian, built for her before his untimely demise. While avoiding her own family, Alexis is still involved with Sebastian’s clan, which inhabits the large Trevalian country estate nearby—and she’s hurt when the Trevalians avert a potential scandal, involving an unwed mother, without her help. Too often, such misunderstandings take the place of actual conflict. The mystery of who hired thugs to attack James and a friend, left dangling in Vol. I, is also too abruptly solved here. As the undisputed heiress, however capriciously she treats her father, to the company James can only claim sweat equity in, Alexis is clearly a more suitable match for the budding tycoon. So of course they will end up together—it's just a matter of how much window dressing gets in the way.

Despite a few mild threats, nothing to suggest any actual lions in this den.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-18742-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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


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

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