Despite rather superficial characters and some long-winded window dressing, a resonant and insightful novel.

CONSTANCE

Now that she is confronted with losing them, a middle-aged woman strives to finally reconcile her conflicting emotions toward her adoptive family.

Constance was named after the London street where she was found, a newborn hours old, under a hedge with only an earring as a memento of the mother who abandoned her. Both her looks (dark and wiry) and musical talent make her feel out of place in her family of plump, blue-eyed blonds. But she has no inkling of her origins until a callous cousin reveals them at the funeral of her beloved parent, Tony. Constance was, it appears, adopted by Tony and Hilda because they feared a second biological child might be deaf, like Constance’s older sister, Jeanette. The relationship between the two sisters has always been prickly, not merely due to sibling rivalry, but also to Constance’s tenacious attraction (requited as we shall see) to Jeanette’s husband, Bill. Weaving between past and present instances of family alienation, we learn that Constance has prospered as a composer for advertising and television and that she fled London for Bali years before after a brief, intense affair with Bill was exposed. The sisters have been definitively estranged since a wrenching encounter at the time of Hilda’s death. But now Jeanette emails Constance to inform her that she is dying of cancer and that it is time for a final reckoning. In a subplot that meshes gracefully, Roxana, newly arrived in London from Uzbekistan, is fleeing political unrest that has claimed the life of her brother. She’s determined to become an “English girl” even if right now her sole source of income is lap dancing. When she meets Noah, Bill and Jeanette’s 20-something son, Roxana’s life will intertwine with Constance’s in ways that shed light on the dislocation of both women. Constance’s belated investigation into her birth circumstances adds suspense to an otherwise meandering and leisurely narrative.

Despite rather superficial characters and some long-winded window dressing, a resonant and insightful novel.

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4683-0264-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 57

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more