A thoughtful and realistic portrait of those golden people who seem to have such enviable lives.

MONOGAMY

What do we do with bad news of the dead? A near-perfect second marriage is disrupted—first by death, then by posthumous revelations.

Boston bookstore owner Graham McFarlane is such a lovable and forgivable man that the ex-wife he cheated on, Frieda, and her replacement, a photographer named Annie, whom he is also cheating on, are close friends. Woman No. 3 is not going to make it into the circle, though, as Graham dies of a heart attack the day after he stops by her house to break up with her in a fit of uxoriousness and remorse. This death happens fairly early in the book, but since the reader knows about the affair and Annie does not, the first two-thirds of Miller’s 13th novel are infused with a merry narrative tension. That energy dissipates somewhat when Annie eventually finds out about Graham's infidelity. At this point the novel becomes more meditative, sticking close to Annie as she deals with the disorienting feeling that she never really knew the man she deeply loved—and who so clearly loved her—for 30 years. As their daughter, Sarah,  describes her “Rabelaisian” father, “He was big, in every way. A lover of life. And kind.…He made people happy, without even trying.” Of course the last thing Annie wants is for Graham’s children, or anyone else, to know what she now knows. Miller’s skill at depicting the intricacies of marriage, parenting, and domestic life, the atmosphere of the independent bookstore, and the pleasures of flowers, wine, and food (a craving for split pea soup with ham and dill, served with “a loaf of dark rye [from] Formaggio,” lingers still) makes this book charming and inviting in a way that is somewhat at odds with its sorrowful impetus.

A thoughtful and realistic portrait of those golden people who seem to have such enviable lives.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06296-965-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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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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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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