THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER'S BOY

A dead author turns out to be anything but the blandly successful public figure he’d pretended to be for 40 years, in Ruth Rendell’s ninth as Barbara Vine—a slow-moving, richly textured suspenser. Even as Gerald Candless was making a comfortable living from a long series of novels that reviewers praised as wise and humane, his private life told another story. His loyal wife Ursula, civilly estranged from any intimacy with him ever since the birth of their daughter Hope, deals with his sudden death by snipping the stamps from his voluminous correspondence and discarding the envelopes, then going back to work as a day-care provider. The daughters Gerald was so close to—the obituary they compose describes him as “adored”—are more properly grief-stricken. But when older daughter Sarah agrees to take time from her women’s studies research at the University of London to write a biography of her father, her tears swiftly turn to astonishment that everything he told his family about his early life was false. In the face of the chronicle of his early years that Sarah and Hope had dutifully recycled for his obituary, Gerald Candless hadn’t existed before 1951, when an enterprising young journalist decided to swap his identity for that of a child long dead of meningitis. What made Gerald Candless’s identity so attractive to the young man who went on to reinvent himself in a score of tantalizingly veiled novels—or what made the identity he fled so unbearable? Vine’s many fans will take it as no more than their due to find that Gerald’s mystery is wrapped around a forgotten murder, but even they may be surprised to learn what role Gerald played in the killing. Not at the level of The Brimstone Wedding (1996), this latest excursion into the harrowing past shows Vine at her most weblike, with the murder case that Sarah Candless backs into almost an afterthought in a novel whose people—right up to the final merciful release—all seem long dead, dying, or hopelessly immured in the past.

Pub Date: June 10, 1998

ISBN: 0-609-60287-X

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harmony

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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