A heartbreaking and thought-provoking exploration of fate, love, and choice sure to bring on a few tears.

YOU WERE THERE TOO

A woman finally meets the man of her dreams, literally, then must decide what to do about it.

Mia and her doctor husband, Harrison, have recently moved from Philadelphia to a small Pennsylvania town. Mia spends most of her time trying to convince local art galleries to show her work and grieving the loss of three very wanted pregnancies. Although their marriage is largely happy, Mia is keeping a secret from her husband and everyone else—for years, she’s been having dreams about a man she’s never met. She assumes he’s just a figment of her imagination, but then she sees him at the grocery store—and runs into him again when Harrison treats his sister for appendicitis. His name is Oliver, and he’s been dreaming of her, too. Meanwhile, Mia and Harrison’s relationship hits a significant roadblock—he decides he doesn’t want to try again for a baby. As Mia reels from Harrison’s decision, she and Oliver begin to research their unlikely dream connection. They have so much in common, and being with him is easier than being around her withdrawn husband. It’s clear that the two of them are connected in some way—but what does that mean? Should Mia be with Oliver or Harrison? Oakley (Close Enough To Touch, 2017, etc.) skillfully navigates several twists and turns, never settling for a predictable plot. The tension ratchets up quickly in the last third of the book as the characters hurtle toward the somewhat shocking event that finally reveals why Mia and Oliver are meant to be in each other’s lives. Readers expecting a simple happily-ever-after should look elsewhere, but those looking for a Me Before You–style sobfest are in the right place.

A heartbreaking and thought-provoking exploration of fate, love, and choice sure to bring on a few tears.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0646-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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THE GREAT ALONE

In 1974, a troubled Vietnam vet inherits a house from a fallen comrade and moves his family to Alaska.

After years as a prisoner of war, Ernt Allbright returned home to his wife, Cora, and daughter, Leni, a violent, difficult, restless man. The family moved so frequently that 13-year-old Leni went to five schools in four years. But when they move to Alaska, still very wild and sparsely populated, Ernt finds a landscape as raw as he is. As Leni soon realizes, “Everyone up here had two stories: the life before and the life now. If you wanted to pray to a weirdo god or live in a school bus or marry a goose, no one in Alaska was going to say crap to you.” There are many great things about this book—one of them is its constant stream of memorably formulated insights about Alaska. Another key example is delivered by Large Marge, a former prosecutor in Washington, D.C., who now runs the general store for the community of around 30 brave souls who live in Kaneq year-round. As she cautions the Allbrights, “Alaska herself can be Sleeping Beauty one minute and a bitch with a sawed-off shotgun the next. There’s a saying: Up here you can make one mistake. The second one will kill you.” Hannah’s (The Nightingale, 2015, etc.) follow-up to her series of blockbuster bestsellers will thrill her fans with its combination of Greek tragedy, Romeo and Juliet–like coming-of-age story, and domestic potboiler. She re-creates in magical detail the lives of Alaska's homesteaders in both of the state's seasons (they really only have two) and is just as specific and authentic in her depiction of the spiritual wounds of post-Vietnam America.

A tour de force.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-312-57723-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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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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