An elegant, eco-minded collection of tales set in a Montana valley.

CRAZY MOUNTAIN

A debut novel in stories follows the rise of a Western town through the men and women who build it.

In a remote Montana valley, a community takes shape beneath a snowy crag called Crazy Mountain. A real estate agent seizes an opportunity to buy a massive ranch on the cheap, but flipping it turns out to be a bigger challenge than he bargained for. A wealthy couple from Los Angeles, still mourning the murder of their son, eventually buy the property, but their desire for uninterrupted nature is ruined by the trespasses of their “yokel” neighbors. A divorced man from Missouri uses his last bit of money to start a trailer park, but when he breaks ground on a convenience store to serve his residents, he’s unhappy to find what seems to be an Indigenous burial site. An older woman waits for her husband to die on their remote, snowed-in ranch, knowing she will have to dispose of the body on her own: “It took two weeks for Frank to finish dying.…After he took his last breath and there was nothing left but the body, she undressed him and wrapped him in a cotton sheet, trying not to focus on the miles of empty space surrounding her now that Frank was gone.” Across 15 stories that span from 1970 to 2015, Atchison relates the history of the valley as it develops from a lonesome ranch into a wildfire-threatened exurb. The author’s observant eye for nature makes her an especially adept chronicler of its decline: “Juniper tapped her brakes…when she saw the massive Aspen Springs Subdivision cluttering the sagebrush foothills where the elk used to graze in the bunchgrass all winter long. The hillsides had been taken over by cheatgrass and knapweed and the mountain slopes were stained with the rusty-brown hue of beetle-killed trees.” Each tale takes on a new character’s perspective, leaving the valley itself to serve as the book’s true protagonist. The result is a story collection with a novelistic sweep, capturing what is lost and what is gained in the development of the mountainous West.

An elegant, eco-minded collection of tales set in a Montana valley.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-9854317-1-1

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Sowilo Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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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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