In a book written with humor and charm, family members show the best of themselves after the people on their wife and...


McInerney (The House of Memories, 2014, etc.) serves up a satisfying family drama stemming from a fed-up woman finally coming clean in her traditional Christmas letter.

For more than 30 years, Angela Gillespie has been sending out an annual letter on Dec. 1, rife with platitudes about her family that hide a far more complicated picture. But after a particularly trying year, she sits at her computer and tells a different story. When her son, Ig, requires a trip to the emergency room—quite a journey from their home in Errigal, a remote sheep station in the Australian Outback—her husband, Nick, sees the draft on her computer and surprises her by pressing "send" so her missive won’t be late arriving in the inboxes of more than 100 readers. Though Angela was brutally honest in the letter—chronicling her three daughters’ financial, career and relationship woes, her young son’s recent dismissal from boarding school and attachment to an imaginary friend, and her own fears of her husband’s infidelity and emotional distance, as well as his rash decision to make a clandestine deal with a mining company that could wreak havoc on the Outback—for the most part, the family handles the airing of their secrets to friends and family around the world reasonably well. It's Angela’s mention of her fantasies about having chosen a different husband, life and family that truly upsets them. When an accident shakes up their lives, the Gillespies are forced to take on new roles, and the novel gains momentum. McInerney writes with a deep respect for her characters, allowing each the opportunity to help reshape the narrative of next year’s inevitable Christmas letter.

In a book written with humor and charm, family members show the best of themselves after the people on their wife and mother’s mailing list saw them at their worst.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-451-46672-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: New American Library

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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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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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.


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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