A WINTER IN NEW YORK

Like a scoop of gelato on a hot day, this one is sweet but messy.

A woman uncovers family secrets—and finds love—at a gelato shop in Little Italy.

In 1985 New York City, up-and-coming musician Vivien falls in love with Santo Belotti over two whirlwind days, but she has to leave him behind to embark on a tour with her band. In parting, Santo gives Vivien his family’s secret gelato recipe, which has kept their shop thriving for decades, and she vows to one day return with it. In the present day, Vivien’s 34-year-old daughter, Iris, has just moved to New York with little more than her late mother’s pink melamine bowls and the secret recipe for the gelato they ate from them. Iris, a former chef, takes up a job at a dingy noodle restaurant on Chrystie Street, making fast friends with its owner, Bobby Han. She’s content to keep her life small, sticking close to her tiny apartment over the restaurant. But when Bobby takes her to Little Italy, Iris stumbles upon a door she’s only seen in one of her mother’s photographs—of Santo, the only man she ever loved. The door belongs to Belotti’s gelateria, famous for its vanilla gelato—the same gelato Vivien’s mother made for her. When Iris enters the shop, she meets Santo’s 39-year-old nephew, Gio, and learns that Santo had a stroke and can’t remember the recipe. Now Iris is the only one who can help the Belotti family. Can she do it without revealing Santo’s secret? Or will her past—and her growing feelings for Gio—get in the way? The Belotti family is full of vibrant characters who are easy to love and fun to read. But the novel drags due to several superfluous plots that do little to advance the main narrative.

Like a scoop of gelato on a hot day, this one is sweet but messy.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2023

ISBN: 9780593722862

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dell

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

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IT ENDS WITH US

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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IT STARTS WITH US

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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