An absorbing, well-researched saga.


Reflecting on World War I and the rise of fascism, this debut novel set in Italy envisions spirituality as a way of rising above the vicissitudes of history.

Emmy Award–winning sportscaster Physioc cites as his inspirations A Course in Miracles and a trip to the walled city of Lucca in 2005. His hero is Isabella Roselli, a convent-raised orphan who loves vegetable gardening and sells her produce at nearby markets. The summer of 1914 sees brothers Benny and Franco Carollo arguing about joining the war effort. Franco leaves Puglia for Rome to work in a munitions factory and witnesses a speech by Benito Mussolini, who at that time was a socialist wanting to stay out of the European fight. Although Franco is of the same mind, he still ends up by his brother’s side at the Isonzo Front after Italy declares war in 1915. Vivid scenes set in the trenches alternate with glimpses of Isabella’s life as a helper to Susanna Martellino, the wife of a local winemaker. When Franco returns from war, he starts working for Susanna’s husband, Giovanni, and swiftly becomes the vineyard manager, saving the vines from flooding with his quick thinking. He and Isabella marry in 1920 and start a family, but the rise of fascism—as embodied in Alfredo Obizzi, Susanna’s villainous lover—threatens the vineyard’s success and their future happiness. Lively dialogue and an authentic atmosphere keep the rapid sequence of historical events from becoming too overwhelming. Luckily, Physioc never grows heavy-handed in his presentation of the rift between fascism and socialism, and the metaphor of the city walls is convincingly applied to both ideological and class barriers. The story feels meaningful for our time of suspicion and division: “It was a time in Italy during which an accusation held almost as much power as the truth.” Isabella’s dogma-free spirituality—she values only love and forgiveness and believes in the divine spark in every person—is appealing and adds an extra dimension beyond the historical. A sequel (in progress) will pick up the story eight years later, in 1938.

An absorbing, well-researched saga.

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-983749-52-0

Page Count: 508

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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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 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...


An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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