Dickey ably straddles a fine line, offering light entertainment coupled with strong people making hard choices.

BETWEEN LOVERS

Broken hearts, a ménage à trois, and wry humor find their way into this sexy new story from the popular Dickey (Liar’s Game, 2000, etc.).

The unnamed narrator of this hip cautionary tale is still in love with Nicole, regardless that she literally left him at the altar, moved to Oakland from their home in L.A., and is now involved with a woman named Ayanna. But he won't give up on their seven-year relationship, believing this lesbian stuff is just a phase. A popular novelist on the road for lectures and book signings, he flies up every few weeks to visit. During one stopover, Nicole announces that she's worked out a plan to accommodate both her lovers and herself—though mostly herself. She asks the narrator to move to Oakland and get to know Ayanna, insisting that she loves both and can't choose between them. The story’s action takes place during the few days of this visit, exploring the emotional anguish felt by the narrator and Ayanna, who both attempt to acquiesce to Nicole’s wishes but understandably want her all to themselves. When the three spend an intimate night together, with the narrator and Nicole giving it their sexual all to impress, Nicole—not surprisingly—is the only one satisfied with the arrangement. Meanwhile, the parents of these successful, 30-ish African-Americans throw in their two cents. The narrator's father, a prominent civil rights figure, is disappointed that his son is frittering away his talent on popular fiction. Nicole's mother comes to visit, damning her daughter to hell until she changes her deviant ways. It becomes apparent that only sacrifice from the truest heart can free the protagonists from the emotional hell they've created. Steamy sex scenes and pop culture references aside, Dickey has created a thoughtful, albeit unusual, treatise on the lengths some will go to for love.

Dickey ably straddles a fine line, offering light entertainment coupled with strong people making hard choices.

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-525-94603-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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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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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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