A bracing look at a twilight year in the life of an old man who, when confronted daily by perfectly good reasons for giving...

AFTER THE FIRE

Eight years after his barren but settled life was harrowed by a series of once-in-a-lifetime crises (Italian Shoes, 2009), ignominiously retired surgeon Fredrik Welin is beset by an even more traumatic event in this final novel by the creator of beloved police detective Kurt Wallander.

Awakening one night to find his house on fire, Welin has just enough time to don two boots before fleeing the inferno. The home built by his grandparents is a dead loss, along with everything inside it; even the pair of boots he grabbed wasn’t really a pair. Thinking of Louise, the daughter whose existence he never suspected until she was an adult, he reflects: “Did I want to rebuild the house or should I let Louise inherit the site of a fire?” That pivotal question is complicated by several other developments. Louise is a thief and perhaps a prostitute; she won’t tell Welin who fathered her baby; she’s arrested on a trip to Paris; and in the meantime, the local police have shown considerable interest in Welin as the leading suspect in what looks more and more like a case of arson. Even the new boots he orders turn out to be the wrong size. Only his growing friendship with journalist Lisa Modin seems to hold out any hope of renewal for Welin’s frozen life. Yet here too the path is strewn with difficulties: Lisa is a generation younger than Welin, she has baggage of her own, and it’s not at all obvious that she returns his romantic interest. No wonder Welin concludes, “There was no god in my caravan.” Yet amid all his ruminations and flashbacks and flirtations with despair, Mankell shows his unlikely hero’s indomitable will to survive and, if possible, to make the next chapter of his life an improvement on what’s gone before.

A bracing look at a twilight year in the life of an old man who, when confronted daily by perfectly good reasons for giving up altogether, doesn’t so much rise above as plow stoically through them.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-43508-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Vintage

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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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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