Debut novelist Creech offers a romance embroidered with magical realism, yet the magic lacks, well, magic.


For generations, the Lenore women have crafted an enchanted perfume, but the return of the prodigal daughter—heralded by teeming blue dragonflies—threatens to break the spell.

It all began when Serena Lenore eloped with Dr. Alex Danner and moved to Borneo, where they raised two daughters in exotic bliss. Just before returning to the U.S., Serena discovered a rare variety of gardenia that seemed to respond, sentiently, to her touch, releasing a beguiling perfume. Once home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, she develops a rather magical perfume: Whoever wears it experiences success. Cleverly, Serena and her female descendants build a business, choosing discreet clients. Now, her granddaughter, Willow, is the matriarch of the family. Her older daughter, Mya, stands to inherit the business, given that she has stayed home, tending to Willow and the plants. Her younger daughter, Lucia, unfortunately, has no facility with scents and left the farm years ago to pursue an acting career. But now her marriage and career have fallen apart, and she has nowhere to go but home. Home, where Willow is forgetting things and Mya is tempted to change the perfume formula to get rid of a troublesome client. Tinkering with the elixir, however, risks invoking Serena’s curse. Once Lucia arrives, she begins to exhibit talents that may make her Mya’s rival. Willow’s emotions can cause storms to rise and tree branches to fall, Mya can concoct magic potions, Lucia begins to see ominous black clouds over a certain doomed character, and the flowers themselves are charmed, but these elements seem incidental. And while the characters certainly have romances—even Willow discovers a long-forgotten love—the romance seems rote.   

Debut novelist Creech offers a romance embroidered with magical realism, yet the magic lacks, well, magic.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-230752-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

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Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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


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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