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POEMS OF LOVE

A masterful volume of poems that captures the sensuality of love in two languages.

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A collection offers English and Spanish love poems that explore nature.

This volume opens with both English and Spanish versions of Walt Whitman’s “Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd.” Hall then segues into bilingual poems about absence, be it in the form of love for a stranger or a country no one has visited. “Summer” describes an intimate encounter in the hottest of seasons, while “Down River” traces the speaker’s nature walk as she reminisces about her lover: “Every day at dawn, / I recover in my arms / the original caresses when / our bodies rediscovered one another.” “Poem of Love” details how the whole world and even the stars seem to worship the speaker’s beloved. She considers the power the moon has over lovers in “You Stole the Moon From Me” and mourns the dual losses of a birch tree and a partner in “Farewell.” In “Anticipation,” she imagines a future life, full of family, food, and laughter, with her love interest. “Love in the Time of Coronavirus” wonders about what humanity has learned, if anything, from the Covid-19 pandemic. The poet concludes with “That Man,” which evokes spiritual, if not blatantly biblical, imagery as it imagines a deity walking along the ocean’s shore, “deciphering the human enigma.” Hall has mastered brevity; as Whitman himself might say, her poems contain multitudes even when they span as few as seven lines. Her poems drip with desire in verses like “To voice your name, / my lips hunger, and / savor every syllable until I’ve said it.” Her descriptions of the physical world are vivid and entice the senses, as when she writes of a garden where “white flowers perfume the air, / hummingbirds nibble nectar” and recalls “the heart of a rose beating in / the palm of my hand.” Her translations are not only grammatically accurate, but also aptly convey deep emotions in both English and Spanish. If there is a flaw in this collection, it is that some of the poems could have been further fleshed out; the author often leaves readers wanting more.

A masterful volume of poems that captures the sensuality of love in two languages. (dedication, index)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64-913058-7

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Rosedog Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2021

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THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

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A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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IT STARTS WITH US

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 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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