A nicely judged fictional resurrection joins the tribute library accumulating around a literary icon.

MISS AUSTEN

Sister of the more famous Jane, Cassandra Austen emerges as a figure in her own right, a woman who, although disappointed in love, finds fulfillment in her devotion to her sister, both in her lifetime and beyond.

“Poor, beautiful Miss Austen, condemned to eke out a sad life with nothing to do but care for others and control the temperament of her difficult sister” is the comical opinion of Jane Austen herself on her sister, Cassy, at least according to Hornby (All Together Now, 2015, etc.), whose animation of the close relationship between the siblings is the driving force of her new novel. Denied marriage and children after the death of her fiance, Cassandra becomes a model of duty and self-sacrifice, watching over her family generally and Jane in particular as keeper of the flame and guardian of her reputation. This role will include destroying any evidence detrimental to Jane’s future status, such as letters revealing a fragile, depressive side to her character. It’s on this mission that Cassy, in 1840, decades after her sister’s death, visits the Kintbury vicarage to sift through a stash of Jane’s correspondence. As Cassy reviews these letters, so the story flashes back to earlier episodes—of sisterly delight; of anxiety about the future when the Austens must leave their home after Mr. Austen’s retirement; of trips to Bath and the English coast; of meetings with potential suitors. All this offers Hornby the opportunity to observe the marriage market, women’s lot, and men’s dominion—though with a heavier satirical hand than Jane Austen’s—and also to suggest that members of Austen’s own circle might have inspired some of her characters. Cassy herself never quite convinces and the business of the book can seem scattered, but the evocation of the sisters’ closeness is solid.

A nicely judged fictional resurrection joins the tribute library accumulating around a literary icon.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25220-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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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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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