THE GEOMETRY OF LOVE

Cuccio makes a laudable effort on her first outing to embrace armfuls of life and get them onto the page, but her indisputable moments of brilliance are often dimmed by overwriting and conventional dramatics. Darcy Johnston, a Texas farm girl and dropout, believes that ``Love is born crooked, it is . . . not planar at all but something quite out of phase with the solemn procession of everyday life.'' So it is that the story Darcy tells is nothing like a straight line. On the third page, she alludes mysteriously to the cruel yet much-loved ``you'' whom she's finally broken up with—and also forbodingly to ``the pistol''— then embarks on an often rather pleasant journey back and forth from adulthood to early childhood, early childhood to mid-adolescence, mid-adolescence to—and so on. Gradually we learn that her father has died (though only much later how and of what), and gradually that her dourly cruel mother, after her husband's death, opened the family's old farmhouse to boarders (and herself to them, too, becoming ostracized in the disapproving community). One of these boarders is the fierce and rattlesnake-mean ``you'' whom Darcy becomes entangled with, marries, and suffers under for so long that all you want to do is grab her shoulders and shake some sense into her. But it'll be a long slow time before she makes a move, with much that's admittedly beautiful along the way (``The world is quiet but for the sound of the tractor in the field. The breeze comes in from the window cool and blue''), but also much that's over-similed or maundering (``Let's see how far we can take this. Could we, for instance . . .'') in the approach to an ending that, well, ought to have been avoidable altogether but that will without question raise you from your seat. Debut work that's often muddled but that at its best can be superb.

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-877946-82-6

Page Count: 172

Publisher: Permanent Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

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Beach reading with an unsettling edge.

THE MATCHMAKER

Hilderbrand’s latest Nantucket heroine has a very particular kind of clairvoyance: She can always tell whether a couple is compatible or not.

Dabney Kimball Beech, 49, who heads up Nantucket’s Chamber of Commerce, is known for her headband, pearls, penny loafers and other preppy accoutrements, as well as her fabulous menus for tailgates and picnics. Then there's her track record of spotting perfect matches: If a couple is suited, she sees pink around them; if not, green. So far, her unerring intuition, augmented by artful introductions, has resulted in more than 40 long-term Nantucket marriages. As the wife of John Boxmiller Beech, aka Box, a Harvard economics professor who's frequently summoned to the Oval Office and whose benchmark textbook nets about $3 million a year, Dabney’s domestic life is serene—except that she's never gotten over her high school sweetheart, Clendenin "Clen" Hughes, a Pulitzer-winning journalist whose beat has been, until recently, Southeast Asia. Due to a childhood trauma involving a runaway mother, Dabney has been too phobic to leave Nantucket (except for four years at Harvard). Nearly three decades before, unable to follow in Clen’s globe-trotting footsteps, Dabney banished him from her life and from the life of their daughter, Agnes, who's never met her father, though she knows who he is. Now Clen is back on Nantucket—minus an arm. Agnes is engaged to the uber-rich, controlling and decidedly unclassy sports agent CJ. (This couple is definitely swathed in a green cloud.) Since Box is teaching in Cambridge during the week, the opportunity to resume an affair with Clen proves irresistible to DabneyThe complications mount until, suddenly, Hilderbrand’s essentially sunny setup, bolstered by many summer parties and picnics (and lavishly described meals, particularly seafood), takes a sudden, somber turn. Hilderbrand has a way of transcending the formulaic and tapping directly into the emotional jugular. Class is often an undercurrent in her work, but in this comedy of manners–turned–cautionary tale, luck establishes its own dubious meritocracy.

Beach reading with an unsettling edge.

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-09975-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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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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