Good-natured fluff.

READ REVIEW

BIDDING FOR LOVE

Fforde (Restoring Grace, 2006, etc.) presents a chatty, feel-good romance filled with antiques and numerous cups of tea to get her gang of Brits through the tribulations of modern love.

Young, slightly flighty Flora Stanza has just inherited 51 percent of Stanza and Stanza, a country auction house. She sublets her London flat, packs up a few summer dresses and cages the very pregnant cat Imelda for a sojourn in the country. She’s not sure for how long, or for exactly what, but . . . why not? The stiff Charles, Flora’s very distant cousin, and his equally patrician fiancée, Annabelle, run the business, and they rudely tell Flora to head back to London. But our spunky heroine decides to stick around and learn the antiques trade (building on admittedly spotty knowledge gleaned from the telly), if for no other reason than to spite them. Kindly old Geoffrey, a porter at the company, takes Flora under his wing, and soon her London marketing savvy has multiplied the company’s revenues. She dines out with Henry, the town Lothario, and befriends the slightly odd William, a poet/painter/naked-tai-chi enthusiast who pops into her cottage from time to time to bake a quiche. Flora even smoothes things out with Annabelle, giving her a Trinny-and-Susannah–style makeover and arranging for William to paint her engagement portrait. Everything would be perfect but for the nagging uneasiness Flora feels when around Charles. All the signs are there: She’s in love! But what to do? Charles and Annabelle have been together forever, and the wedding is in just a few months. How can Flora stay with the company when Charles doesn’t reciprocate her love? It’s not exactly a surprise when things work out beautifully, but Fforde moves the plot along at breakneck speed, with enough charm to entertain the most discerning fans.

Good-natured fluff.

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-312-35963-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an...

ONE DAY IN DECEMBER

True love flares between two people, but they find that circumstances always impede it.

On a winter day in London, Laurie spots Jack from her bus home and he sparks a feeling in her so deep that she spends the next year searching for him. Her roommate and best friend, Sarah, is the perfect wing-woman but ultimately—and unknowingly—ends the search by finding Jack and falling for him herself. Laurie’s hasty decision not to tell Sarah is the second painful missed opportunity (after not getting off the bus), but Sarah’s happiness is so important to Laurie that she dedicates ample energy into retraining her heart not to love Jack. Laurie is misguided, but her effort and loyalty spring from a true heart, and she considers her project mostly successful. Perhaps she would have total success, but the fact of the matter is that Jack feels the same deep connection to Laurie. His reasons for not acting on them are less admirable: He likes Sarah and she’s the total package; why would he give that up just because every time he and Laurie have enough time together (and just enough alcohol) they nearly fall into each other’s arms? Laurie finally begins to move on, creating a mostly satisfying life for herself, whereas Jack’s inability to be genuine tortures him and turns him into an ever bigger jerk. Patriarchy—it hurts men, too! There’s no question where the book is going, but the pacing is just right, the tone warm, and the characters sympathetic, even when making dumb decisions.

Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an emotional, satisfying read.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-57468-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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

IT ENDS WITH US

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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