Jorge delivers a dose of near-contemporary history tempered by a page-turning family saga and romance.

THE WIND WHISTLING IN THE CRANES

The fates and fortunes of two Portuguese families become entwined during the later years of the 20th century.

The lonely death of Dona Regina, the matriarch of the influential Leandro family, prompts her granddaughter Milene to investigate its circumstances so she can explain them to the rest of her extended family, all of whom are out of reach on vacation at the time. Milene, an opaque and guileless sort, revisits the site of her grandmother’s demise, the family’s former cannery on the Portuguese coast. Her futile investigative efforts bring her into the orbit of the Mata family, the current tenants of the cannery, who have turned it into their family compound. The welcome extended to her by the Matas, working-class immigrants from Cape Verde, contrasts (in almost every measurable way) with the hand-wringing, anger, and annoyance Milene’s presence provokes within her own family. Jorge manages to recapitulate many of the issues present in post-colonial Portugal—racism, workers’ rights, sexism, economic disparities, overdevelopment—within the context of Milene’s developing romance with one of the Matas, but she never lets the didactic get in the way of the romantic. An anonymous and enigmatic narrator propels much of the narrative while essential aspects of Milene’s sometimes-puzzling character are slowly revealed. Present in both families are key actors and bit players living a thoroughly 20th-century life in Portugal: the White cannery scions are succeeded on their landholdings by the Black Matas, who have produced a pop star (tuna replaced by tunes?). As translated from the Portuguese by the team of Jull Costa and McDermott, who provide an extensive introduction to the work, Jorge’s narrative ranges from the lyrical to the mundane but conveys the universality of a specific, familial place.

Jorge delivers a dose of near-contemporary history tempered by a page-turning family saga and romance.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63149-759-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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An alternately farcical and poignant look at family bonds.

THE SUMMER PLACE

When a family convenes at their Cape Cod summer home for a wedding, old secrets threaten to ruin everything.

Sarah Danhauser is shocked when her beloved stepdaughter announces her engagement to her boyfriend, Gabe. After all, Ruby’s only 22, and Sarah suspects that their relationship was fast-tracked because of the time they spent together in quarantine during the early days of the pandemic. Sarah’s mother, Veronica, is thrilled, mostly because she longs to have the entire family together for one last celebration before she puts their Cape Cod summer house on the market. But getting to Ruby and Gabe’s wedding might prove more difficult than anyone thought. Sarah can’t figure out why her husband, Eli, has been so distant and distracted ever since Ruby moved home to Park Slope (bringing Gabe with her), and she's afraid he may be having an affair. Veronica is afraid that a long-ago dalliance might come back to bite her. Ruby isn’t sure how to process the conflicting feelings she’s having about her upcoming nuptials. And Sam, Sarah’s twin brother, is a recent widower who’s dealing with some pretty big romantic confusion. As the entire extended family, along with Gabe’s relatives, converges on the summer house, secrets become impossible to keep, and it quickly becomes clear that this might not be the perfect gathering Veronica was envisioning. If they make it to the wedding, will their family survive the aftermath? Weiner creates a story with all the misunderstandings and miscommunications of a screwball comedy or a Shakespeare play (think A Midsummer Night’s Dream). But the surprising, over-the-top actions of the characters are grounded by a realistic and moving look at grief and ambition (particularly for Sarah and Veronica, both of whom give up demanding creative careers early on). At times the flashbacks can slow down the story, but even when the characters are lying, cheating, and hiding from each other, they still seem like a real and loving family.

An alternately farcical and poignant look at family bonds.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3357-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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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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REMINDERS OF HIM

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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