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THE TRUTH ABOUT GOODBYE

A warm, fun, character-driven tale about moving on and embracing life.

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Ricard offers a thoughtful debut novel about a gay man wrestling with the death of his life partner.  

Sebastian Hart, a “forty-year-old Broadway chorus boy who wants to be a choreographer,” is haunted by the memory of his deceased spouse, Frank, who died in an accident a year ago, not long after the two argued about a younger man named Greg. The story opens on Sebastian’s birthday in 2008, a night he spent in Manhattan with his best friend, Chloe, a free-spirited former Radio City Music Hall Rockette who’s determined to jump-start his stagnant social life. She sets him up with a handsome man at a bar, but although Sebastian is flattered, his heart (and wedding band) remains right where it was when he was happily married. His life has become a juggling act involving chorus auditions, dreams of choreographing his own production, entertaining friends, consulting his wellness guru, and suppressing vivid memories of his blissful life with Frank. Ricard effectively mixes things up by having Reid, the landscape designer whom Sebastian met on his birthday, pop up again at Sebastian’s tap dancing class. Meanwhile, Greg appears again to torment Sebastian with an arrogant, remorseless vengeance. Will Sebastian ever find true love again? Sparks inevitably fly as this pleasant domestic drama simmers, even amid a somewhat hokey premise that Frank’s ghost is manifesting itself in Sebastian’s cat, Arthur. Along the way, Ricard cleverly incorporates themes of aging, vanity, loss, self-confidence, and forgiveness, grounding the melodrama in the realities of life in the big city. He paints his main character as a loving, sentimental, good-humored man whose heart is in the right place, and many readers will relate to his situation. The narrative is endearing and impressively assured, and it will be an entertaining treat for fans of LGBT romantic fiction.

A warm, fun, character-driven tale about moving on and embracing life.   

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63489-787-7

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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IT ENDS WITH US

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

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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 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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HOUSE OF LEAVES

The story's very ambiguity steadily feeds its mysteriousness and power, and Danielewski's mastery of postmodernist and...

An amazingly intricate and ambitious first novel - ten years in the making - that puts an engrossing new spin on the traditional haunted-house tale.

Texts within texts, preceded by intriguing introductory material and followed by 150 pages of appendices and related "documents" and photographs, tell the story of a mysterious old house in a Virginia suburb inhabited by esteemed photographer-filmmaker Will Navidson, his companion Karen Green (an ex-fashion model), and their young children Daisy and Chad.  The record of their experiences therein is preserved in Will's film The Davidson Record - which is the subject of an unpublished manuscript left behind by a (possibly insane) old man, Frank Zampano - which falls into the possession of Johnny Truant, a drifter who has survived an abusive childhood and the perverse possessiveness of his mad mother (who is institutionalized).  As Johnny reads Zampano's manuscript, he adds his own (autobiographical) annotations to the scholarly ones that already adorn and clutter the text (a trick perhaps influenced by David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest) - and begins experiencing panic attacks and episodes of disorientation that echo with ominous precision the content of Davidson's film (their house's interior proves, "impossibly," to be larger than its exterior; previously unnoticed doors and corridors extend inward inexplicably, and swallow up or traumatize all who dare to "explore" their recesses).  Danielewski skillfully manipulates the reader's expectations and fears, employing ingeniously skewed typography, and throwing out hints that the house's apparent malevolence may be related to the history of the Jamestown colony, or to Davidson's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a dying Vietnamese child stalked by a waiting vulture.  Or, as "some critics [have suggested,] the house's mutations reflect the psychology of anyone who enters it."

The story's very ambiguity steadily feeds its mysteriousness and power, and Danielewski's mastery of postmodernist and cinema-derived rhetoric up the ante continuously, and stunningly.  One of the most impressive excursions into the supernatural in many a year.

Pub Date: March 6, 2000

ISBN: 0-375-70376-4

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2000

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