Ambling and impossibly old-fashioned: a melodrama in which nothing much happens.

GUESTS OF AUGUST

Five families return to a New Hampshire country inn anticipating a long summer idyll. Will the simmering tensions boil over, or will the long, sunny days work their magic?

Novelist Daniel Goldner, who’s been coming to Mount Haven Inn since he was a boy, is seeking solace as his marriage founders. Economist Simon Epstein, his longtime friend, is there for him along with Simon's free-spirited wife and three teenagers. The Edwards family has also been coming to Mount Haven for years, keeping their family vacation inviolate. But this year, as their teenagers squabble and the marriage has lost its luster, Susan Edwards has smuggled in a golden professional opportunity to translate a much-lauded new novel from the French. She’s eager to learn what the novel, which portrays a marriage on the rocks, has to say about her and her husband, Jeff. Grasping Liane Curran sees summering at the inn as a way to experience the ways of old money while her desperate husband, Michael, is hoping for an infusion of that money into his teetering startup. Patrician financier Mark Templeton and his carefully groomed, alcoholic wife, Andrea, return from California to New Hampshire every August to commemorate the loss of their son, Adam, and to offer their condolences to the widow and son he left behind. Wendy and Donny Templeton, who live not far from the inn, dutifully roll up for this mournful ritual of sternly enforced family bonding. Author Goldreich (After Melanie, 2019, etc.) litters the tale with details that read more like 1969 than 2019: A teenager wears Jean Nate perfume; a college student drives a “roadster”; women under 70 wear their hair in “lacquered helmets”; the developer of cutting-edge software has his spreadsheets on paper. Whatever the incidental details, the characters are all seeking an old-fashioned summer: antiquing, kayaking on the lake, piecing together puzzles, and turning to each other for comfort and renewal.

Ambling and impossibly old-fashioned: a melodrama in which nothing much happens.

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8972-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

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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