A flawed but nevertheless haunting (and haunted) novel.

THE LIFE-WRITER

British writer Constantine, long unfamiliar to North American readers, seems ready for discovery with this lyrical novel.

While ill, Eric tells a rhapsodic story of his past—one unknown to his wife, Katrin, and one unfinished when he dies. Interest piqued, Katrin consults Eric’s oldest friend, Daniel, and also plunges into letters and diaries and other ephemera, uncovering her dead husband’s relationship, long before she knew him, with a French artist named Monique. Soon, Katrin is writing Eric and Monique’s story and cannot get it out of her head. Last year’s In Another Country demonstrated Constantine’s incisiveness and lyricism, especially in the title story, which also concerns a wife discovering details about her husband’s past love life. That story, compressed and lithe, pulverized. Here, though, Constantine wallows, and one grows a little tired as he delves into a predictable pattern in the book’s first half: Katrin’s visits to a doctor, late-night ruminations, a visit with Daniel, repeat. Be patient, though: the second half is stronger, and the novel does build to a satisfying and honest conclusion. But a larger problem here is the language, which, while pretty, often feels ponderous; Constantine knows he can write an ornate sentence, and he overdoses on them. As a result, the reader always feels one step ahead of Katrin’s emotional discoveries, the author hovering over his protagonist instead of trudging alongside her; sentences like “She bethought herself of her role” or “Life continued, it insisted, it bore you along through the motions of living” prove a little distancing. You may like those sentences—this is, of course a matter of taste—but when, of Katrin’s own work, Constantine writes, “she takes a writerly pleasure in its clarity, its matter-of-fact tone,” it’s hard not to wonder whether Constantine might have benefited from something similar.

A flawed but nevertheless haunting (and haunted) novel.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 9781771961011

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Biblioasis

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

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MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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