A compassionate, balanced, and engaging look at generational conflict—and resolution—during social upheaval.

SUNFLOWERS BENEATH THE SNOW

Three Ukrainian women—a mother, daughter, and granddaughter—forge connections and evolve while the Soviet Union collapses around them.

Bitter cold permeates many of the scenes in this aptly titled novel. From harsh Soviet Ukrainian winters to icy weather abroad, the climate is an often hostile force that reflects the political and emotional drama that unfolds. The work offers a multigenerational family story. The father, Lyaksandro Hadeon Rosomakha, must leave his home, his wife, and his daughter after being caught spying for Ukrainian nationalists. He journeys to London, where he assumes a new identity in shame, far from his family. But this tale isn’t about Lyaksandro. Rather, Brown focuses on the women he left behind: Ivanna, his wife; and Yevtsye, his daughter. Moving from the 1970s to the present day, the story chronicles the women’s experiences, providing a rich overview of the end of the Soviet Union and the intellectual and social unrest that creates an independent Ukraine. The most intriguing moments explore the tensions between mother and daughter, who represent contrasting views of the Soviet Union and Ukrainian nationalism. Ivanna is a secular Communist Party loyalist, while her daughter is swept up by the appeals for Ukrainian autonomy and by the Orthodox Church. But through these women’s eyes, momentous events in history and economic and social policies become catalysts to explore a dynamic familial relationship and highlight how the duo survives in the face of outside pressures, including food shortages and political turbulence. Eventually, Yevtsye welcomes her own daughter, Ionna, into the family (which includes her husband, Danya). When Ionna’s birth leads to Yevtsye’s postpartum depression, the story offers a vivid, complementary series of glimpses of motherhood in which the complicated emotions of one mother-daughter pair are examined next to those of another. Ultimately, Ionna, who grows up craving to become a writer, brings the engrossing narrative forward from the end of the 20th century into the 21st. While there’s a great deal of improbability in her portion of the tale, with plenty of airport hijinks, Ionna’s story of her own struggle for survival (mirroring her mother’s and grandmother’s) brings the novel—and many of its threads—to a satisfying and resonant close.

A compassionate, balanced, and engaging look at generational conflict—and resolution—during social upheaval.

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63988-142-0

Page Count: 332

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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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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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

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MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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