Although the narrative drags in spots, and Nair’s anticlimactic investigation is less compelling than Nerys’ adventures,...

THE KASHMIR SHAWL

An intricately woven shawl is both memento and metaphor in Thomas’ meditative transgenerational tale.

In Wales, after the death of her father, Mair finds among his effects a finely crafted multicolored pashmina shawl, which her grandmother Nerys, who died before Mair’s birth, acquired during her days as a Presbyterian missionary in Kashmir. The origins of the shawl and the lock of hair folded in it must hold the key to Nerys’ veiled past, Mair assumes, and so she journeys to the Kashmiri town of Srinagar where Nerys lived during World War II. The story alternates between Mair’s present travels and Nerys’ Srinigar sojourn. Nerys’ straight-laced husband, Evan, is away preaching, and Nerys awaits his return in a houseboat owned by fellow British expats, Myrtle and Archie. Nerys and Myrtle are drawn into the dilemma of a young Englishwoman, Caroline, whose marriage is celibate due to her husband’s closeted homosexuality. Caroline has had a forbidden affair with Ravi, an Indian nobleman, and is pregnant. Myrtle finds an ingenious way to hide the pregnancy from the insular, scandal-attuned European community, and from Ravi. Nerys, also love-starved thanks to Evan’s prudery, has a joyfully adulterous affair with a Swiss mountaineer and magician, Rainer, who helps her rescue the children of a dishonored and destitute woman who made a Kani shawl very like the one Mair found. (The prosperous but labor-intensive cottage industry of Kani shawls began, before WWII, to lose out to factory-made imitations, impoverishing the true practitioners.) When Mair encounters nonagenarian Caroline in Srinigar, she is now very close to uncovering all the braided and colorful secrets the shawl represents. The atmospheric detail brings the culture and gorgeous scenery of Kashmir to vivid life while also hinting at the political and religious strife that will soon overcome the region as India gains its independence.

Although the narrative drags in spots, and Nair’s anticlimactic investigation is less compelling than Nerys’ adventures, this is a finely wrought story of emotional and geographical displacement.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4683-0246-2

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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

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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

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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

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