Travel, both conventional and through time, brings rousing action, romance, and unorthodox marriage counseling.

TAILWINDS PAST FLORENCE

A bicycling trip around the world remains a beleaguered couple’s last chance to save their marriage from boredom, deceit, and time-traveling lovers from the past.

In this novel, Edward and Kara Vaughan are a Seattle couple nearing age 30 and married for almost six years. Their existence has already devolved into a monotonous routine, complete with a room of “forgotten hobbies” and a dwindling sex life. About to hand her husband divorce papers, Kara is shocked when he proposes they take the journey she’s long dreamed about—cycling around the world. She sees this as a chance to rekindle their relationship, but the impetus for Edward, a workaholic businessman, is merely the unceremonious way he quit his job after being passed up for a promotion. The last-minute trip begins with them struggling against the Montana winter, but what they later encounter on their odyssey poses a more unusual challenge. Accompanied by a strange blue shimmer are lovelorn anachronisms thrust into the present day, time travelers connected to Kara’s and Edward’s past lives. Some seem content that Kara has moved beyond them. But a religious pickpocket and forger from the Renaissance era named Alessio is not ready to let her go, leading to a showdown in Florence with Edward for Kara’s love or, barring that, her life. Walsh, a veteran of video game strategy guides, imbues his romance with as much action as any game he’s ever peeled back the secrets of. With the settings ranging from Washington state and Canada to London, Belgium, Paris, and, eventually, Italy, the novel captures the intense details of the trip, including the couple’s chafing thighs and exhaustion on their bikes; their emotionally heightened fights and sniping; and their moments of romantic rejuvenation in new, exotic surroundings. Despite his unwillingness to acquiesce like his fellow reincarnated brethren, Alessio is a sympathetic villain, driven by the same unrelenting pride and fear as Edward, a fitting physical obstacle for the couple to overcome if they wish to break the pattern of heartbreak. The book boasts an impressive knowledge of cycling as well as the history it draws from, be it Renaissance Italy or the time of the French Canadian voyageurs, a pleasant balance to its more outlandish conflicts.

Travel, both conventional and through time, brings rousing action, romance, and unorthodox marriage counseling.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73274-670-1

Page Count: 338

Publisher: Snoke Valley Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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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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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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