A promising start to a family saga about ordinary people.


The inaugural volume of Gregory’s (Dark Tracks, 2018, etc.) new series is set during the English civil war.

A wise woman is at the center of this launch. Alinor, an herbalist and midwife, is reminiscent of Jacquetta (The Lady of the Rivers, 2011), another Gregory protagonist, foundress of the Woodville dynasty of beautiful and resourceful women who figure in the War of the Roses and attract accusations of witchcraft. In 1648, the risk of such accusations is even higher, since Alinor lacks Jacquetta’s noble lineage and because an army of Puritan Christians led by Oliver Cromwell has dethroned King Charles, now confined on the Isle of Wight. Extensive atmospherics slow the action but convey a strong sense of place—the Sussex tidelands, where, on Sealsea Island, Alinor earns a sparse living selling herbs and practicing the healing arts. She also invites scrutiny because her abusive husband disappeared months before. Detail abounds about the 17th-century economy of a small island: The local lord, Sir William, still holds sway thanks to a deal with Parliament, and his tenants each have their trade. Alinor’s brother Ned, a staunch anti-royalist, runs the family ferry business, her daughter Alys, also beautiful, works for the miserly Mrs. Miller, whose family controls the tide-driven mill. Everyone makes their own ale. When Alinor meets James, a disguised Catholic priest who has been summoned by Sir William, her fortunes change for both good and ill. James, a spy from the exiled English court in France, is embroiled in a plot to rescue King Charles. With James’ help, Alinor’s son Rob is assured of a brighter future under Sir William’s patronage. Alinor and the handsome James are instantly drawn to one another, and his vow of chastity falls to the wayside, with rather unpleasant results once he is called back to France. There are chilling descriptions of what Puritans in power are prepared to do to women who deviate from social norms—or merely incite envy. Once the jeopardy accelerates, this is Gregory par excellence.

A promising start to a family saga about ordinary people.

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-8715-5

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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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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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 6, 2014

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


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: April 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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