A cozy, conversational read featuring a lovably neurotic heroine.

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ON GRACE

In Schnall’s debut novel, shocking news derails a woman’s plans for her 40th birthday and prompts a journey of self-discovery.

As she prepares to send her youngest child off to school, stay-at-home mom Grace May dreams of filling her free time writing for Westchester Weekly magazine and rekindling her relationship with her husband, Darren. Unfortunately, the magazine shuts down before she pens her first column, and Darren makes a tearful confession that he cheated on Grace with a cocktail waitress. At first, Grace’s situation doesn’t seem to justify her panic: She doesn’t need to work, and her appropriately sheepish husband seems willing to wine and dine his way back into her good graces. But this isn’t enough to stop Grace from feeling sorry for herself or from holding a grudge against Darren. The real source of her discomfort becomes clear as she explains her wavering emotions and self-critical thoughts in long stretches of dialogue with her best friend, Cameron, who’s having fertility problems, and her mother and sister, whose relationships with Grace can’t fill the void left by her other sister’s death. “I’m so conflicted about whether I’m supposed to have a job or whether I’m supposed to be home with the boys,” Grace laments. Her mother replies, “You’re concerned with what you’re supposed to do, instead of doing what you want to do,” and she cites how Grace took ballet classes as a child because her teacher complimented her—not because she liked them. The author’s blend of girl talk and self-help wisdom reads like a conversation overheard at Starbucks: It’s written in a friendly, nonjudgmental voice that any woman would want to hear after a bad day. Just as Grace is ready to forgive Darren, a reunion with her high school crush threatens their marriage once again, and Cameron announces a shocking revelation of her own. Faced with real-world problems, Grace adjusts her priorities, confronts her fears, and in the process of being true to herself, learns the real meaning of the word “grace.”

A cozy, conversational read featuring a lovably neurotic heroine.

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-940716-13-8

Page Count: 274

Publisher: SparkPress

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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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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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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