Gentle, colorful, feel-good stories of a peaceable life long gone. Think Mayberry with Dr. O’Reilly as Sheriff Taylor.

AN IRISH COUNTRY WEDDING

What Herriot did for Yorkshire, Taylor does for Northern Ireland’s County Antrim and County Down; minus the animals, of course, but with all the good sentiments. 

Taylor’s seventh in the Irish Country Doctor series (An Irish Country Doctor, 2007, etc.) provides a dose of easy medicine to readers familiar with the 1960s milieu and characters in the fictional wee town of Ballybucklebo, where Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly practices medicine. The critical illness of Kinky Kincaid, O’Reilly’s housekeeper, sets the drama in motion, what with a strangulated bowel requiring immediate hospitalization. O’Reilly's in Belfast buying an engagement ring for fiancee and first love, Kitty O’Hallorhan, and so Dr. Barry Laverty, his assistant, diagnoses Kinky’s problem and beckons an ambulance. Now, the busy doctors of Ballybucklebo need a receptionist and housekeeper. Working-class lass Helen Hewitt’s available, having been laid off. Ah, but care must be taken so Kinky doesn’t worry she’s being shuffled out the door. Meantime, Bertie Bishop, cranky and self-absorbed townland Councillor, accuses O’Reilly’s cat of killing Bishop’s racing pigeons. Dr. Laverty soon discovers the true culprit, but he’s distracted by his incipient romance with a lovely schoolteacher and ardent member of the Campaign for Social Justice. The author notes this is the first in the series where he’s confronted the “Troubles.” He does so in a limited way, with equal measures of empathy and realism. Kinky’s afterword and recipes end the book, along with a glossary of Irish dialect.  

Gentle, colorful, feel-good stories of a peaceable life long gone. Think Mayberry with Dr. O’Reilly as Sheriff Taylor.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3217-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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