A novel that’s ponderous where it should be frothy.


A spoiled California girl becomes a pariah when she sabotages her best friend’s wedding.

The mayor and premier citizen of Wynette, Texas, is about to marry the daughter of the nation’s first woman president. Bride-to-be Lucy’s pre-wedding jitters are exacerbated when her maid of honor, Meg, daughter of Hollywood A-listers, suggests that if the groom-to-be, Ted Beaudine, seems too perfect to be true, he probably is. When Lucy jilts Ted at the altar, the entire town of Wynette turns against Meg. Since her parents, exasperated with Meg’s free-spending ways, have cut her off, she’s so broke she can’t pay her hotel bill. Hotel owner Birdie is one of a cadre of females who have it in for Meg either because they’re allies of Ted’s formidable mother Francesca, or because they want Ted for themselves, or both. Birdie forces Meg to work off her bill as an underpaid chambermaid. Stuck in Wynette until she can amass enough money to leave, Meg learns that Ted is not as crushed by Lucy’s departure as he appears. In fact, his smoldering glances at Meg may hint at much more than anger. Once her indentured servitude at the hotel ends, Meg crashes at a deserted church and lands a job at the local country club. She caddies for Ted and his golf-star father, who are hoping to woo multi-millionaire plumbing magnate Spence to develop a new “environmentally green” golf course that will boost Wynette’s sagging economy. Spence feigns enthusiasm, but his cooperation really depends on whether Meg becomes his mistress. She dodges Spence by telling him she’s in love with Ted, which is a lie, until...it’s not. Ted demonstrates conclusively that in addition to being impossibly handsome and buff, he’s the perfect lover. Too perfect. Phillips' witty dialogue and supple prose are outgunned by an overabundance of characters (the acid-tongued whine-ettes who ostracize Meg are particularly hard to keep straight) and an overly complex plot.

A novel that’s ponderous where it should be frothy.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-135152-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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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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