A well-researched tribute and a memorable addition to World War II literature.


A debut novel about a young soldier’s World War II experiences in the South Pacific and his romance with a hometown girl.

Smith mines a rich trove of family history to tell the fictionalized story of his parents, Red and Judy Smith, who hailed from farming families in East Texas and fell in love as teenagers. The novel opens on a hot day in Hopkins County in August of 1940, when local, 19-year-old baseball player Horace Garlton “Red” Smith, a responsible eldest son in his family, first notices Juliette “Judy” Hamilton, a 12-year-old girl from a neighboring farm, cheering him on. Despite the age difference, Judy says to herself that “she would, by hook or crook, someday, somehow, win the heart of this Red-Headed Prince and be carried away to Paradise, to live, as they say, happily ever after.” The story follows their later wartime courtship and postwar marriage, closing with epilogues that capture each spouse’s final moments, reaffirming their bond. Judy remains a somewhat idealized character throughout, and this narrative choice makes the postwar section of the novel feel less compelling than earlier chapters. But the book succeeds in its detailed evocation of Red’s transformation from a young farm boy to a seasoned soldier fighting in ferocious jungle battles in the South Pacific, tried by combat and buoyed by the strong bonds of friendship with a small band of fellow soldiers. In a prelude, Smith effectively foreshadows Red’s experiences during the November 1944 battle in Leyte in the Philippines: “The night was dark as pitch. Howling winds carried horizontal sheets of blinding, cutting rain.” And although Red’s survival is never in doubt, the tension is high as each battle threatens his closest friends—Nobel Horner, Pete Petty, and Kenny Herrod—and the other members of the mortar unit. Crisp, believable dialogue and backstories bring these secondary characters into sharper focus.

A well-researched tribute and a memorable addition to World War II literature. (bibiliography, introduction, author’s note)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-72833-564-3

Page Count: 560

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: April 8, 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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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.


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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