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THE VISITORS’ BOOK

Convoluted, often unfocused, and only tentatively titillating.

Something for everyone in a so-so from Upcher (Down by the River, 2001): a country house murder mystery, a social satire, and a story of obsessive love.

Victoria Hissey is the author of sweeping historical novels featuring the eccentric ancestors of her late husband, Hugh, and Laybridge, their ancestral manse. She keeps busy overseeing its famous gardens, scribbling away, and keeping an eye on her godson Orlando, a charming, sexually magnetic young man who owns an ultrahip photo agency and works with hundreds of gorgeous models who don’t interest him much: he prefers to stay at the Laybridge cottage and host wild weekend parties for London friends. His indulgent godmother doesn’t mind—after all, Orlando’s mother, Daisy, who married Guy Manners, Hugh’s best friend, used to have even wilder parties back in the ’60s. Daisy, uninhibited and beautiful, slept with whomever she liked, shocking the staid Hugh when he caught her having sex with Guy’s brother Bruno. When Guy and Daisy drowned one night under rather mysterious circumstances, Victoria was left to raise Orlando. She always doted on the handsome boy and is somewhat nonplussed when he brings home his new bride, Lindy, a book scout for foreign publishers. As a welcoming gift, Victoria presents her with the Visitor’s Book, a round-robin diary begun by Hugh’s father’s French mistress and continued by Daisy. Lindy and Orlando had a whirlwind romance during a Caribbean fling and wed in haste, and so it may be time to repent at leisure . . . and read the Visitor’s Book for clues about the family she’s married into. Why is Rose, the daughter of Victoria’s cook and gardener, so obviously infatuated with Orlando, and why is she in charge of all arrangements at The Cottage? Can it be true that Orlando’s equally handsome Uncle Bruno is having an affair with Victoria? How did Daisy and Guy die . . . and why?

Convoluted, often unfocused, and only tentatively titillating.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2002

ISBN: 1-57566-905-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2001

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IT ENDS WITH US

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

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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 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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