A richly satisfying novel of blood ties, the interplay of nature and nurture and the secrets that even the closest families...

TOMORROW

A marvelous character study with minimal plot.

One of Britain’s foremost novelists, Swift (Light of Day, 2003, etc.) displays his profound empathy in a novel that never leaves the mind of its first-person narrator Paula Hook. It all transpires over a few hours on a June night in 1995 and is told as something of a bedtime story by Paula to her sleeping twin children, Kate and Nick. Tomorrow, she explains, their father will reveal something momentous that will change all of their lives. The timing is significant, because the revelation will occur the week after the twins’ 16th birthday and the week before the Hooks’ 25th anniversary. Though she keeps talking about tomorrow, most of the narrative takes place after midnight, so it’s actually today when the family dynamic will be threatened. And though she addresses her story to her sleeping children, she is plainly talking to herself, revealing intimacies about her own life and her relationship with her husband that no mother would likely inflict on her children. Now a successful art dealer, she explains how she met her husband, biologist Mike Hook, how the two met and fell so rapturously in love, but waited nine years after marrying before having children. What she doesn’t explain until well past the novel’s midpoint is what Mike could possibly reveal that could undermine the love that the two plainly feel for each other and share with their children. If there’s a weakness to the novel, it’s that the suspense that Swift takes such pains to sustain makes the climax feel a little anticlimactic. Yet Paula Hook is a character of such heart, soul and intelligence that the reader forgives her foreboding repetition of “tomorrow.” No novelist is better than Swift at celebrating, as Paula explains, “how sweet and treasurable even the most unambitious moments of life can be.”

A richly satisfying novel of blood ties, the interplay of nature and nurture and the secrets that even the closest families keep from each other.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-307-26690-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2007

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

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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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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