More Graham Greene than Doris Lessing, Finn writes with cool detachment and is best in recreating life among the fading...

AWAY FROM YOU

Originally published in England, Finn’s promising debut novel intertwines the story of a rootless young woman’s return to Kenya after her estranged father’s death with the history of her parents’ unhappy life in mid-20th century East Africa.

Without hesitation, Ellie leaves Peter, the loving man with whom she lives in New Mexico, to return to Nairobi, where she stands to inherit her father John’s sizeable estate. In Africa, she reaches out to her parents’ acquaintances in an effort to gather information about the crimes she believes John committed. Ellie’s childhood memories of her father, with whom she lost contact as a child after she and her mother Helen left Kenya, are of a vicious drunk who beat her and carried on an affair with a troubled neighbor. The servants once showed little Ellie the neighbor’s dead body and claimed John was the murderer. As an adult, she still considers her father a murderer even as she begins to learn more about his complex life. Ellie eventually tracks down the dead woman’s husband, an elderly doctor, who convinces her that her father was in no way responsible for his wife’s suicide. In coming to understand her father’s demons, Ellie recognizes how she has avoided emotional commitment herself. Interspersed with Ellie’s version of events is the tragedy of John and Helen. Theirs is the Africa of fading British power—servants, corruption, petty politics and lots of drinking. The couple’s early love degenerates as John, decent but troubled, tries unsuccessfully to control his alcoholism. Helen leaves him, not because he’s had an affair, but because she can no longer bear the burden of his neediness.

More Graham Greene than Doris Lessing, Finn writes with cool detachment and is best in recreating life among the fading colonialists.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-312-34146-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

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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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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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