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WUTHERING BITES

Heathcliff without fangs is scary enough.

Another literary classic is hijacked by toothy interlopers, this time courtesy of Gray, aka romance novelist Colleen Faulkner.

The formula is simple: Take a classic in the public domain and appropriate most of the author’s prose, sprinkling in references throughout to the ghoul du jour. While Jane Austen’s ironic worldview lends itself to horror spoofing (think books like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 2009), Wuthering Heights is “dead” serious. Gray reiterates, more or less verbatim, large chunks of Emily Brontë’s prose, interspersing various references to vampires, a plague of which has apparently been running rampant on the same Yorkshire moors trod by Heathcliff and his eternal love, Catherine Earnshaw. The structure and major plot elements of the original are kept intact. Nelly, a housekeeper who served both the Earnshaws and the Lintons, Brontë’s fatefully linked fictional families, relates the history of Heathcliff, Catherine and their descendants and siblings to a tenant who has come to occupy Catherine’s former marital home, the Grange. Heathcliff, a gypsy orphan brought home by Mr. Earnshaw, patriarch of Wuthering Heights manor, grows up with the Earnshaw siblings, Hindley and Catherine. Although Catherine and Heathcliff are childhood playmates and soul mates, she capriciously decides to marry their closest neighbor’s son, milquetoast Edgar Linton of the Grange. Her defection launches Heathcliff on a path of revenge—he marries Edgar’s sister Isabella out of spite—that will end only with tragic early deaths, and the virtual enslavement by Heathcliff of Hindley’s son Hareton, his own son Linton and Catherine’s daughter Cathy. Heathcliff’s depravity makes him a difficult character to elicit sympathy for, but somehow Brontë manages this. Not so Gray in this mashup, where the main focus of suspense is whether Heathcliff, a known vampire slayer, is himself among the undead. Will Cathy, secretly training to be the first female vampire slayer, be his nemesis? Anecdotes describing mayhem perpetrated by the bloodsuckers lend a disconcerting layer of gallows humor to the proceedings.

Heathcliff without fangs is scary enough.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7582-5408-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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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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LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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