A well-told, deeply felt addition to a ghostly mystery series.

HAINT BLUE

A TIPSY COLLINS NOVEL

Charleston’s favorite ghost-talking divorcée returns in Alexander’s latest supernatural mystery, the second in a series.

Reluctant clairvoyant Tipsy Collins is still trying to figure out life as a single mother of three. She’s (mostly) quieted the ghosts that haunt her home, though one, Henry Mott, has decided to hang around and work on his memoir. Tipsy’s relationship with her boyfriend, Will Garrison, is beginning to sour, and though she’s gotten back into painting, she’s still close to broke. That’s why she drives out to Sullivan’s Island to meet with the slightly kooky Pamella Brewton about a possible commission. The cottage, painted from fence to shutters in that unmistakable Southern shade called haint blue, is haunted by Pamella’s deceased grandmother, Ivy More Brewton. Ivy, the story goes, fell off a dock in 1944, but Tipsy suspects it wasn’t that simple. Tipsy doesn’t want to get involved—she’s furious Will told Pamella about her psychic abilities—but when Pamella offers $50,000 for exorcising “Meemaw,” how can Tipsy refuse? She makes contact with Ivy, who insists she can’t leave the house without her “true love,” and she isn’t talking about Pamella’s grandfather. As Tipsy’s own romantic life crumbles, can she learn something about love and loss from this stubborn ghost? Alexander’s prose is precise and evocative, particularly when she’s describing the environments of coastal South Carolina: “Tipsy is on a dune on one of those random fall afternoons in the Lowcountry that feel like summer’s hangover. The tall grass around her is brownish. The remaining yellow and white flowers droop like the tongues of panting dogs.” The novel unfolds at a leisurely pace, driven by Tipsy and her relationships as much as by the haunting plot. Alexander, as in her previous installment, Charleston Green (2020), works in the tradition of Southern women’s fiction as much as in supernatural mystery, and she blends the two genres together into a seamless, not-too-heavy exploration of how difficult it can be to act once a relationship has run its course.

A well-told, deeply felt addition to a ghostly mystery series.

Pub Date: April 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64-704326-1

Page Count: 362

Publisher: Bublish, Incorporated

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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Honestly, who needs Nantucket. It could hardly be more fun than this book.

THE HOTEL NANTUCKET

Bring on the fresh-baked gougères and the hydrangea-blue cashmere throws: A classic fictional setting—the grand hotel—gets the Hilderbrand treatment.

The beloved beach novelist’s 28th book is another tour de force, deploying all her usual tricks and tropes and clever points of view, again among them a character from the afterlife and the collective “we” of gossipy island residents. Our ghost is Grace Hadley, a teenage chambermaid who died under suspicious circumstances in a hotel fire in 1922. Grace’s lonely days are over when the historic property is purchased and reopened by a London billionaire. As Xavier Darling tells his general manager, Lizbet Keaton, their goal will be to get five out of five keys from Shelly Carpenter, an undercover hotel blogger who has not awarded top honors to any spot visited so far. A gorgeous remodel, a sterling staff, free treats in the minibar, and—of course, since this is Hilderbrand—an incredible restaurant where a disco ball drops from the ceiling every night at 9 p.m. and the chef is hotter than any dish on the menu are all in play as the first guests come streaming in. Which one is the hard-to-please Ms. Carpenter? Other addictive storylines include a rich kid cleaning rooms to expiate some mysterious, terrible thing he did this past spring, an evil beauty breaking up island marriages (instead of a gun in the drawer, there's a half-used Chanel eye shadow in Pourpre Brun), and the desperate attempts of Lizbet’s ex, who sexted with their wine rep, to win her back. One of the special services Lizbet creates for the guests of the Hotel Nantucket is a “Blue Book” containing all her recommended island itineraries. A real-life version is included as an appendix, giving the complete scoop on where to eat, drink, sunbathe, shop, and stay on the island, plus notes on which Hilderbrand novels happened where. If you’re ready to check out Chicken Box or to try the sandwiches on herb bread that lured the author to become a permanent island resident in 1993, the Elin Hilderbrand Bucket List Weekend really is a thing.

Honestly, who needs Nantucket. It could hardly be more fun than this book.

Pub Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-25867-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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