A vivid exposé of war and its dislocations.


This World War II saga explores issues of parenthood, justice, and retribution.

Druart’s second novel unfolds in two timelines, taking place in the 1940s and 1960s. At the book’s outset, in 1963, Élise has been living in apparent exile from her Paris roots, in a remote Breton village with a mysterious old woman named Soizic. Joséphine, Élise’s 18-year-old daughter, unearths her birth certificate and learns what her mother had postponed telling her: A man with a German surname is her father, not, as she had been told, her mother’s fiance who died fighting for France. Not understanding that her parentage was not only a source of disgrace, but of danger, Joséphine is angered by the deception and vows to track down her father. By 1944, Élise, her mother, and sister have endured four years of Nazi occupation. The way in which Paris has been devastated on so many fronts is viscerally evoked. Élise is part of a clandestine operation that arranges passage to Switzerland for Jewish children. At a bookshop, Élise meets Sébastian, a bilingual German soldier whose mother was French and who, with the glaring exception of his uniform, can pass as French. Sébastian finds the duties of his posting repugnant—acting as interpreter during Gestapo interrogation sessions and translating denunciation letters in which Parisians turn in their Jewish neighbors. Sébastian interferes when French police harass Élise in the bookshop, where he is an unwelcome customer. He takes escalating risks to win Élise’s trust and, ultimately, her love—rescuing her from the Gestapo and helping to save several children from deportation. Joséphine’s journey of discovery uncovers a tragedy of errors. Sébastian and Élise seem too innocent—unconvincingly so—to realize the depths of depravity into which both occupiers and occupied can sink. Their misplaced optimism will have disastrous consequences for each. But although Sébastian’s complexity will emerge only later, these characters command sympathy, to the point that readers will be exasperated by their missteps.

A vivid exposé of war and its dislocations.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5387-3521-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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