A spicy outing that should feed readers’ hunger for romance.

The Congressman's Wife

The beautiful wife of a would-be congressman falls for a sexy chef in this steamy debut novel.

On the surface, Eden Bancroft seems the perfect political wife. Attractive and intelligent, she's a key part of her husband’s plan to win election to Congress. But a perfect exterior conceals a deeply dysfunctional marriage. After more than a decade together, Eden, a master sommelier, has fallen out of love with the dimwitted, selfish, and arrogant Mitchell, if she was ever really in love with him to begin with. Despite her growing disillusionment, Eden’s commitment to her three children and her financial dependence on her husband (and his wealthy mother) holds the marriage together. She hopes, at the very least, that if Mitchell wins a seat in the House of Representatives that her new duties “might add some zest to her life.” That is, until she meets the handsome chef Kaleb Stavros, for whom she feels a passion she never experienced for her husband. The two begin a clandestine romance. Mitchell, a smarmy, despicable jerk (he’s guilty of marital rape, among many other sins), remains oblivious to the affair but makes it clear he’ll do whatever is necessary to tame his restless wife and win the election. Readers should sympathize with Eden’s struggle to balance her overwhelming desire for Kaleb with the pressure to do what is right for her children. At times, however, it would be nice if she had a bit more agency. She initially embraces Mitchell to get out of a tough financial spot, and then relies on Kaleb to rescue her from a terrible marriage. But watching her fall deeply in love for the first time is enjoyable, and readers should get a vicarious thrill from the couple’s jaunts to Paris, Jamaica, Cyprus, and Jackson Hole. Foodies should also savor the mouthwatering descriptions of the delicious meals and fine wines that are served over the course of the book (at a dinner in Paris, “she had Boeuf Bourguignon and he had kidneys simmered in a delicate wine sauce”). The election night denouement strains credulity, but it remains a minor misstep in an otherwise enjoyable tale. 

A spicy outing that should feed readers’ hunger for romance.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Red Sky Presents

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2015

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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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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

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