A look at betrayal and forgiveness that nicely balances humor and depth.


A journalist and single mom unexpectedly connects with her ex-husband’s new wife and begins a duplicitous friendship.

Liz, a journalist in her late 40s, has built a pretty amazing life out of the ashes her husband created years ago when he left her for another woman. She’s moved on with her life, becoming the editor of a national newspaper column called “My Turn,” in which regular people share their touching and hilarious personal stories. She has a healthy social life, goes on lots of dates, and maintains a close relationship with her college student son. On the outside, everything looks great…but secretly, Liz’s life is a bit messy. She’s sleeping with her married boss, Seamus, despite the fact that she still can’t quite get over how her own husband betrayed her in a similar fashion. And then one day, she gets a “My Turn” submission from a familiar name—it’s Nicole Szabo, otherwise known as her ex’s current wife and the reason Liz’s family was torn apart. Without revealing her identity, Liz corresponds with Nicole, making editorial changes while also slyly finding out details about Nicole’s marriage (and even offering some advice). Liz knows that what she’s doing with Nicole and Seamus is wrong, and she tries to fix things by buying tons of self-help books with titles like Forgiveness Is a Gift You Give Yourself. But books alone can’t solve her problems, and Liz’s inability to open up to the people in her life makes her push everyone away—including friends, potential romantic prospects, and her son. When Liz reaches a breaking point, can she truly put the past behind her so she can focus on the life in front of her? Ashenburg writes candidly about a complex character who’s allowed to screw up in big ways. Liz is never shamed for wanting love, sex, or companionship, although she often goes about it the wrong way. None of the characters are written off as easy “bad guys,” not even Liz’s ex-husband or his new wife. Many of Liz’s misadventures on her journey are comically cringeworthy, such as a visit to a “cuddle party” or the dates with a poet who won’t stop talking about his bowels.

A look at betrayal and forgiveness that nicely balances humor and depth.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-308-444-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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

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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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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.


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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