A novel in which relationships develop more from pragmatism than passion.

RED DRESS IN BLACK AND WHITE

At the intersection of love, art, and politics, characters within a romantic triangle and a few just outside it discover that they're puppets whose strings have been pulled by a bureaucracy and whose fates are connected in ways beyond their control.

The latest from a novelist who's both been a Marine and worked in the White House opens with a reception for photographer Peter, an American expatriate in Istanbul, to celebrate his provocative series of shots from a recent protest in Istanbul. Among the attendees is Catherine, another expatriate American and the wife of a high-profile Turkish real estate magnate; she is having an affair with Peter, and much to his surprise, she's brought her young son, William, to the reception. Addressing the party is Kristin, an American diplomat in Cultural Affairs, who has apparently helped facilitate the photographs (and perhaps the protest that they document). The reception is being held at the apartment of Deniz, the director of the gallery presenting the exhibition. Catherine’s husband, Murat, waits at home for his wife and son, who return much later than he had anticipated. There is a blowout; Catherine and William flee to Peter, and she hopes they can return to America with him. The rest of the novel alternates the narrative tension of a woman caught between two men over the course of a single day, with flashbacks that provide context on the marriage, the affair, the protest, and the much larger web in which these characters are caught, mostly without their knowledge. The novel is deftly plotted, though the characters themselves seem more like pawns in the author’s narrative scheme, lacking much flesh-and-blood depth, though perhaps this is a reflection of the “moral hollowness” that Catherine suspects in herself, as she is suspended between a marriage of convenience and what might seem to be an affair of convenience. As Kristin says, “Each of us has to live....No matter how we do it.”

A novel in which relationships develop more from pragmatism than passion.

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52181-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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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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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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