Winner of 2015’s Prix Senghor for a debut novel by a Francophone writer, this compelling book raises important questions...

THE GARDENS OF CONSOLATION

Love, lust, and politics can sometimes exist harmoniously. They can also clash.

In the early 1920s, when Talla was 9 years old and living in Ghamsar, Iran, she married Sardar, a slightly older boy from the same remote village. Although it was an arranged marriage, in keeping with tradition, the two had eyed one another and approved the match. And although the union was not consummated until three years later—Sardar had big dreams and opted to travel to the nation’s capital and establish himself before settling into domesticity—by the time they moved to a Tehran suburb as husband and wife, it was clear to everyone that they were in love. There was heartbreak, too, as they lost one child and then another. Finally, in 1933, son Bahram was born. Not surprisingly, he became the apple of his parents’ eyes and was heavily indulged. Unlike his illiterate mother and father, Bahram attended school and excelled, eventually winning a scholarship to university. He also became a womanizer, and the novel charts the factors that led him there. The book is set against a constantly changing political milieu, and readers are made privy to the fall of the Qajar dynasty and the power grab of Reza Khan, who emerged as shah. Bahram’s support of socialist Mohammad Mosaddegh and Khalil Maleki, men who eschewed alliances with both Russia and the West, is posited in opposition to the ideas of Sardar and Talla, peasants unconcerned with politics. As they see it, life is unchanging; regardless of who is in power, they will toil and, later, revel in simple pleasures. The contrast is riveting.

Winner of 2015’s Prix Senghor for a debut novel by a Francophone writer, this compelling book raises important questions about indulgence, gender, community, and the impact of politics on everyday life.

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-60945-350-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Europa Editions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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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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

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