Encompassing the lives of women in the 20th century, this sprawling saga is tender and satisfying, with a heartbreaking end.

THE SISTERS

A single tragic event shapes four generations of American women in this accomplished and poignant debut.

It is 1927 and since their mother’s death, Mabel and Bertie rely on each other in the face of their stepfather’s abuse. Young Bertie tries to avoid his drunken rage, but Mabel maintains the peace for the price of her soul—Jim calls her little wife, rapes her regularly and, for her 16th birthday, takes her to the city to pose for pornography. When Mabel notices Jim’s eye wander to Bertie, she knows she must act. With the help of Bertie’s sweetheart Wallace, he and Mabel concoct a scheme to release the sisters from their stepfather’s tyranny. After her graduation ceremony, Bertie comes home to find Jim Butcher hung and a note implying that Mabel and Wallace have run away together. Bertie, however, never got the letter intended for her, or the enclosed train ticket to take her to her sister and beau. Crushed by the perceived betrayal, Bertie leaves town and marries Hans, finding security if not love. They make it through the Depression and have Alma and then Rainey, but nothing can ease Bertie’s hardness, and the letters Mabel sends go unopened. Mabel ends up in Chicago, becoming a photographer, and adopts a little girl named Daisy (actually she steals her away), whose father is molesting her. Mabel never gives up hope of finding her beloved sister, and this perhaps saves her and Daisy from the kind of aching unhappiness that infects Bertie and her daughters. Alma marries a wealthy, unkind doctor and has a son who grows up to be just like dad, while devoting her life to becoming the perfect hostess. Rainey has the bad luck of getting pregnant by Carl, a closeted homosexual. Her daughters Lynn (who never gets over being separated from her father) and Grace, who crafts body armor after her Vietnam vet husband dies, continues the legacy of discord born of an undelivered letter.

Encompassing the lives of women in the 20th century, this sprawling saga is tender and satisfying, with a heartbreaking end.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-54270-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more