A still, luminous book whose precise characters evoke broad truths about the human experience.

EMPTY WARDROBES

A widow restarts her life after a decade of mourning in this 1966 novel, the first by this towering Portuguese novelist to be translated into English.

Dora Rosário is the manager of a finely appointed antiques shop nicknamed The Museum, the mother of teenage Lisa, and an independent woman living in Lisbon in the prime of her life. Yet, ever since the death of her husband, Duarte, 10 years earlier, Dora has devoted her days to tending and preserving his memory. In life, Duarte was an insufficient spouse—a self-appointed Christ figure with “vast reserves of passive resistance,” which he used to rebuff all his mother’s proclamations that “her son would one day cause a stir.” When Duarte died, he left Dora and the young Lisa destitute and forced to rely on his indomitably eccentric mother, Senhora Dona Ana, for material support until Dora became the manager of the antiques store, the first job she had ever held. For a decade this is how the women's lives progress. Lisa grows up to become a graceful, witty, and entirely insouciant teenager, Dona Ana has begun to slip into senility, and Dora lives as “a career widow,” following a ritualistic routine among the dusty remains of other people’s memories. Then, on the night of Lisa’s 17th birthday party, Dona Ana reveals a devastating truth about her son that calls into question all of Dora’s devotion. What follows fundamentally changes the lives of all three generations of Rosário women, but particularly Dora, who must now look clearly for the first time at the legacy her husband has really left her: a desiccated life lived at the behest of a society that views her value only in accordance to her relation to men.

A still, luminous book whose precise characters evoke broad truths about the human experience.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949641-21-9

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Two Lines Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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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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