A thoughtful, and thought-provoking, meditation on love, loss, and legacy.

THE GRETCHEN QUESTION

A woman must decide whether to reveal her most intimate secrets before she takes them to the grave.

Roberta Chase wakes up one morning and takes inventory of what she has to do that day: go to a work meeting, put away her best friend’s trash cans, and meet with her therapist. But from the beginning, there is an undercurrent of anxiety to every moment of Roberta’s day that suggests these activities, and this day, may not be as mundane as they seem. Told from Roberta's perspective and relying heavily on flashbacks, the novel reveals a great deal about what has brought Roberta to this point—and what may push her to take action, to make a decision she has been avoiding for most of her life. These flashbacks introduce us to the people in her world, especially her best friend, Grettie, and her estranged son, Will. And with each fragment of story, we are faced with a singular rule of life: Every choice we make has consequences. As Roberta proceeds through this day, heading toward a significant face-to-face confrontation, there are hints that she may not be presenting even us, the readers, with the full truth. And then the ending of the book casts doubt on Roberta's honesty, or her grip on reality, in a big way. As a reader, when faced with a possibly unreliable narrator, we wonder: How much can we trust anything they have told us, any piece of their story, if we can’t trust the “reality” of their own ending? But, in the case of Treadway’s novel, this unreliability also speaks to deeper layers of the novel. Roberta is caught in the trap of her own “Gretchen Question” (an allusion to Faust explained within the novel), but there are also larger questions posed by the novel to the reader: How do you qualify and find value in your life when you are nearing the end of it? What do you owe those you leave behind? And what do you owe to yourself?

A thoughtful, and thought-provoking, meditation on love, loss, and legacy.

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-883285-89-0

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Delphinium

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

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THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY

An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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