A lengthy but affecting tale of late sisterhood.

THE SECRETS BETWEEN US

Two elderly Indian women—one poor, the other poorer still—move beyond mutual suspicion to forge a bond, start a business, and, even this late in life, absorb change.

A new marble shopping mall is attacked; an old brothel, scene of terror and enslavement, is replaced by a gleaming high-rise. The profound impact of modernity on India is greeted variously with violence, a measure of relief, and significant shifts in attitude by the characters in Umrigar’s (Everybody’s Son, 2017, etc.) eighth novel, a sequel to The Space Between Us. A more traditional storyteller than Neel Mukherjee, whose recent A State of Freedom also considered seismic social shifts in this immense nation, Umrigar chooses to reflect new India via a pair of aging female characters whose lives of struggle and suffering have not delivered an easeful old age. Bhima is working two cleaning jobs to enable her granddaughter Maya to complete the college course which will, Bhima hopes, lift both of them out of poverty. Parvati, the survivor of an even harsher youth and an abusive marriage, is homeless and ill but still equipped with street savvy and a propulsive, bitter anger. Reluctantly, the pair—living proof that “being a poor woman…is the toughest job in the world”—pool their entrepreneurial talents to start a produce stall, while slowly opening up to each other. Umrigar’s depictions of Mumbai’s chaotic slums and pitiless streets are vivid; her events and moral lessons—Bhima will overcome her own prejudices to love and appreciate a kindly lesbian duo; Parvati will acknowledge that behind her stalwart front she is lonely—are more broadly delineated. These plot predictabilities weaken a female-centered story framed by oppressive masculinity, but its poignancy and descriptive strength help redress the balance.

A lengthy but affecting tale of late sisterhood.

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-244220-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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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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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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