A compassionate and complex debut, assuredly encompassing post–Iraq War fiction and old-fashioned Southern gothic.


Memories of a 1964 murder in Mississippi are forced back to the surface, reopening old wounds over race and class.

Lindsey’s ambitious debut novel—an admirable bid to compete with William Faulkner at his own game—concerns two forms of PTSD. Colleen, a white Iraq War vet, has returned home to the small town of Pitchlynn (“the poorest slice of the poorest state in the nation”) and is struggling toward normalcy. After a period of drinking and drugging laid her low, she’s started a tenuous new life with her husband, Derby, with whom she’s pregnant with twins. (Not that it keeps her from sneaking the occasional cigarette.) The other form of PTSD involves all of Pitchlynn: Derby’s father, Hare, is being retried for the murder of Gabe, a black man who stoked resentment among the white locals for owning land outright on a sharecropper farm. Derby has disowned Hare, but his half brother, Sonny, is sure Hare is innocent, though his efforts to defend dad’s honor end when his Cessna crashes, sending him to the ICU. Amid the anxiety over the retrial, another battle is brewing over the mansion once owned by the family that may have commissioned Hare to lynch Gabe; a massive magnolia tree on the property, and the abuses it receives over the course of the story, serves as a symbol for this complex interplay of blood and memory. Perhaps too complex: Some characters are underdrawn, as the ties among Hare’s family, friends, and enemies acquire ever thickening knots. (An issue in Faulkner’s fiction too, of course.) But the novel has some sturdy support beams in its central characters, especially Colleen, whose journey from soldier to almost–drug casualty to beauty queen to conflicted new mom is bracing at every turn.

A compassionate and complex debut, assuredly encompassing post–Iraq War fiction and old-fashioned Southern gothic.

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-393-24952-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.


After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 26

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?