Askew deftly weaves all this together in a narrative that foregrounds a number of important contemporary issues: religion,...

KIND OF KIN

An Oklahoma-centric novel about the “crime” of harboring illegal Mexican workers.

Georgia Ann "Sweet" Kirkendall is distressed—her father, Robert John Brown (emphasis on the second two names), has been arrested and charged for the felony crime of “transporting, harboring, concealing, and sheltering undocumented aliens in furtherance of their illegal presence in the state of Oklahoma,” as the legalese goes. Brown doesn’t deny the charge but rather embraces it, for he sees it as part of his Christian duty to help others. Sweet doesn’t quite see it the same way as her father, however, and she has a number of other things to worry about, including her son, Carl Albert, and most especially her nephew, Dustin, who’s only 10 but shows considerable empathy toward both his grandfather and the plight of the Mexican workers. In fact, he runs away, causing further worry and grief for his aunt. (His mother had died a few years before.) Brown’s situation is exacerbated since it becomes something of a local cause célèbre when Sheriff Arvin Holloway begins to rail against “criminals” like Brown—Holloway has no sympathy for the justification of “doing one’s Christian duty.” State Representative Monica Moorehouse also wants to make political hay, for she’s sponsoring a “get tough on illegal aliens” crime bill and fears her political ambitions might be hurt if sympathy builds for Brown.

Askew deftly weaves all this together in a narrative that foregrounds a number of important contemporary issues: religion, immigration, the economy and the effect of all of these on family life.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-219879-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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