A transplanted suburbanite revels in the delights of her new urban residence and experiences.

“Some people see cities as cold capitals of commerce lacking in humor or humanity.” This observation of the newly transplanted author is certainly not a sentiment that she shares. Durack’s plunge into an environment that many have fled over the past few decades is purposeful and committed. Her thoughts represent a salute to what generally makes a city great, and what makes the city of Cincinnati even greater. She “celebrate[s] the joy and the richness of the community that welcomed” her with more than 50 short stories on Cincinnati’s art, architecture, history, food, sports, festivals, performances and all the other amenities that contribute to the invigorating city feel. That feel is reinforced by the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Durack’s descriptive writing of places, events and personal interactions with residents. The author’s unpretentious, quaint observations range from Frisbee players and the marvels of old elevators to the perhaps more complex analysis on how and where Henry Ford got his ideas for assembly-line auto manufacturing. This latter example is one of a few that sometimes contrast sharply with other, more mundane reflections. This contrast sometimes makes it seem like the author could not decide on the simplicity of a 130-page pocket book or a more thoughtful examination of a culturally rich city. The chapter on surveying, for example, required a trip to the library for research, while the advice on leaving grilling to the pros is more suitable for an Internet forum. There are also enough quotes in some of the chapters to merit citations (or at least a short bibliography). The author’s attitude, however, shines on its consistent tenor of the historical grandeur of institution over individual, as in depictions of the vaunted city hall or the conviction that old, large clocks were telling us that accurate time “was less certain and more precious.” That sentiment alone might capture the soul of local readers remembering a different time in history. A breezy, cheerful collection that will appeal to locals, gentrification dwellers and those with a cursory historical interest in the city of Cincinnati.  


Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

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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 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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