The political and social dynamics of Sag Harbor are fascinating even if some of the writing is a bit eye-rolling.

SUMMER ON SAG HARBOR

An elite Black enclave in the Hamptons welcomes its newest resident, hoping she’ll help preserve the integrity of the community.

When investment banking whiz Olivia Jones arrives in Sag Harbor (packing her Sergio Hudson mohair poncho, her Dior limited edition tote, and other brand-name essentials) to claim the home she's inherited from her late godfather, she quickly bonds with the longtime residents—other wealthy, accomplished Black women as well as a genial older real estate agent, a gentleman with connections to her family and memories of the father Olivia never knew. Not fitting in quite as easily is Anderson, Olivia's White boyfriend, an Uber driver and stand-up comedian. Though the two got along great during lockdown in Manhattan and “his words and presence were like chamomile lavender tea on a cold winter night” and his “cheekbones [could] cut diamonds,” poor Anderson simply is not going to be able to hold his own against new next-door neighbor Garrett Brooks, a Black single dad and veritable love god. Garrett was just about to sign a deal to sell his home to the real estate developers who are trying to take over the area, but the arrival of the exquisite Olivia, and her alliance with the locals who are fighting the developers, seems poised to press pause on those plans. Meanwhile, Olivia starts therapy with the insightful Dr. LaGrange to work herself free of the burdens she bears due to a pyramid of losses and betrayals in her past. The family history is complicated and will be quite a bit easier to follow if you've recently read the first book in the series, Summer on the Bluffs (2021), which introduces Olivia's godparents and their three talented goddaughters, setting up the history of secrets and connections that continue to unfold here. A few steamy bedroom scenes provide all the “velvet hammer sliding into silk” and ice-cream-cone metaphors you could ever want.

The political and social dynamics of Sag Harbor are fascinating even if some of the writing is a bit eye-rolling.

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780062994219

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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A wistfully nostalgic look at endings, beginnings, and loving the people who will always have your back.

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HAPPY PLACE

Exes pretend they’re still together for the sake of their friends on their annual summer vacation.

Wyn Connor and Harriet Kilpatrick were the perfect couple—until Wyn dumped Harriet for reasons she still doesn’t fully understand. They’ve been part of the same boisterous friend group since college, and they know that their breakup will devastate the others and make things more than a little awkward. So they keep it a secret from their friends and families—in fact, Harriet barely even admits it to herself, focusing instead on her grueling hours as a surgical resident. She’s ready for a vacation at her happy place—the Maine cottage she and her friends visit every summer. But (surprise!) Wyn is there too, and he and Harriet have to share a (very romantic) room and a bed. Telling the truth about their breakup is out of the question, because the cottage is up for sale, and this is the group’s last hurrah. Determined to make sure everyone has the perfect last trip, Harriet and Wyn resolve to fake their relationship for the week. The problem with this plan, of course, is that Harriet still has major feelings for Wyn—feelings that only get stronger as they pretend to be blissfully in love. As always, Henry’s dialogue is sparkling and the banter between characters is snappy and hilarious. Wyn and Harriet’s relationship, shown both in the past and the present, feels achingly real. Their breakup, as well as their complicated relationships with their own families, adds a twinge of melancholy, as do the relatable growing pains of a group of friends whose lives are taking them in different directions.

A wistfully nostalgic look at endings, beginnings, and loving the people who will always have your back.

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 9780593441275

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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