Alternately suspenseful and poetic, this novel marks the beginning of a promising career for Peyton.


A searing debut novel that explores the inner lives of a community of enslaved women in Texas in the decade leading up to the Civil War.

Straining under the weight of mounting debts, plantation owners Charles and Lizzie Harlow—called "the Lucys" by the people they enslave because they were the “spawn of Lucifer”—are intent on “breeding” their slaves Junie, Patience, Lulu, Alice, Serah, and Nan. First, Zeke arrives, "trailing behind Mr. Lucy like a shadow," and the women are made to have sex with him. Then there are the half-starved and ashen Isaac and Monroe, to whom the Lucys “give” Patience and Serah as wives. Increasingly desperate, the women discreetly seek out the counsel of the cook Nan for elixirs that promise to weaken virility and cotton root, a natural remedy for getting “caught” with child. The men themselves must face the contempt of the women and the shame of being shuttled from plantation to plantation like little more than bulls or horses with the sole purpose of producing offspring, forbidden to think of the wives and children they had to leave behind. The glimmers of hope offered by true love, solidarity, and the distant promise of emancipation become both solace and weapons, powerful enough to make the women “reckless in thought and deed”—tempting them, at times, to take matters violently into their own hands. As the summer heat builds, slave insurrections are on the rise, and the Lucys become increasingly desperate themselves, coming closer and closer to discovering the women’s secrets. Peyton weaves through the minds and spirits of her large cast of characters with insight and ease. The novel moves deftly between the third person and a collective “we” narrative, revealing the women's intimate interconnectedness and the intersectional interplay of age, race, gender, religion, and social status in the struggle to survive amid the horrors of life on the plantation.

Alternately suspenseful and poetic, this novel marks the beginning of a promising career for Peyton.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-06-324987-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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