An often engaging mystery, bolstered by complex, well-developed characters, exotic locations and an effective narrative...

The STATE OF GRACE

AN ADVENTUROUS MEMORY

In Hannah’s debut novel, the past and present collide in unexpected and dangerous ways as a woman searches for her missing friend.

Errica Hawthorn’s life is at a crossroads. Still reeling from a devastating miscarriage and the subsequent deterioration of her marriage, she’s moved back to her hometown and started working as an assistant to her father, Kenneth, a retired diplomat. Her relationship with her emotionally distant father has been complicated, due to the demands of his career and the family’s frequent moves around the world. At college in the mid-1970s, Errica met Birdy Grace, a young woman whose effervescence and sense of adventure captivated her. They became inseparable friends, and together with Birdy’s boyfriend, Harper, they traveled to Morocco, where they became involved in international drug trafficking. When Birdy disappeared after a drug deal went bad, Errica asked her father for help. Later, she was heartbroken to learn that Birdy had died. More than 20 years later, however, a series of events convinces her that there was more to Birdy’s disappearance than she was ever told. Her renewed search leads her back to Morocco, where she confronts the past and discovers some surprising family secrets. Hannah weaves a compelling tale, employing flashbacks that parallel Errica’s present-day life and journey to Morocco. At times, however, the prose could have used a bit more polish; for example, the English actress Hayley Mills is referred to as “Haley Mills” and the expression “well-heeled” is spelled “well-healed.” That said, Hannah makes Errica just as fascinating and complex as the television heroines she admires, such as Peggy Lipton’s character from The Mod Squad. She effectively shows how Errica has been defined by her father’s career and the propriety it demands, but also how she secretly longs for a more adventurous life. Overall, Errica’s Moroccan adventures, both as a student and as an adult, frequently pulse with excitement and danger. Birdy Grace is a vivid, memorable foil, and their friendship is both convincing and poignant.

An often engaging mystery, bolstered by complex, well-developed characters, exotic locations and an effective narrative structure.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-1499391152

Page Count: 418

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2014

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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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