Dickens novel meets Hieronymus Bosch painting—dark, chaotic fun.

THE CURATOR

Sprawling, densely populated, intricately plotted, King's new novel is the kind of book that practically begs to be called Dickensian—and the rare one that mostly earns the moniker.

Dora, who came of age at an orphanage amid squalor and cruelty after her beloved brother and then her less-beloved parents succumbed to cholera, has until recently been a domestic servant at the National University. The violent unrest that's convulsed the unnamed city has made her a refugee again, but this time she has a patron, an idealistic blueblood named Robert Barnes who's now a rebel officer. In a quest to find and reconnect with her dead brother, Dora gets Robert, her beau, to finagle a place for her—via a wartime field promotion to Curator—at the Society for Psykical Research, the occult institute where her brother worked before he died. Alas, it has burned to rubble, and so (a neat scratch-out on her appointment document does the trick) she settles for curating the bizarre, decrepit, automaton-filled National Museum of the Worker next door. As the city's beloved/despised cats and its factions of revolutionaries wrangle over the city, ordinary citizens suffer. Before long, a mystical Morgue Ship filled with souls mistreated during their lives is seen plying the city's waterways, even its paintings of waterways, and Dora begins to uncover ever deeper and more sinister conspiracies. The book can seem overstuffed at times—the wheels within wheels have wheels that occasionally get tangled in their wheels—but for the most part King carries it off successfully, with vivid prose, excellent minor characters, and a scrappy, every-which-way inventiveness. Best of all is the resistance he musters to sentimentality—this is a Dickensian (im)moral universe, yes, but if the arc of history bends toward justice, it's going to have to be because a working person wrenched and hammered it in that direction. Ever so slightly.

Dickens novel meets Hieronymus Bosch painting—dark, chaotic fun.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9781982196806

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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

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REMINDERS OF HIM

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

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