A stunningly good, understated novel told in a mesmerizing voice.

RESERVOIR 13

A young girl disappears outside a small village in northern England.

With just four books, McGregor (This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You, 2012, etc.) has already made a substantial impact on the literary scene; three of his novels, including this one, have been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and he won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Even the Dogs (2010). His latest, an atmospheric, meticulously crafted novel, begins like a mystery then quickly morphs into something altogether different. A family is visiting an English village for the New Year, and their 13-year-old daughter, Rebecca, goes for a walk and doesn’t return. The police conduct a search with some villagers at dawn. A helicopter has been out all night but found nothing. A van with fake number plates is discovered near Reservoir 7, and someone says it belonged to a man named Woods, who "wasn't the type of bloke you wanted to be talking to the police about." Six months pass: “It was as though the ground had just opened up and swallowed her whole.” In 13 chapters, each dealing with one year, an omniscient narrator chronicles the lives of the villagers and the impact the girl’s disappearance has on them. All the chapters after the first begin the same way, “At midnight when the year turned,” like refrains in the stanzas of a prose poem. Sentences and words are rhythmically repeated. People have dreams about Rebecca “walking home. Walking beside the motorway, walking across the moor, walking up out of one of the reservoirs." A “creeping normality” sets in. In simple, quiet, and deliberate prose, McGregor describes the passing months. The seasons change, “bees stumbled fatly between the flowers and the slugs gorged” while "in the dusk the wood pigeons gathered to roost.” The villagers—Jones the carpenter; Jane Hughes the vicar; Sally; Liam—go on with their lives. “It went on like this. This was how it went on.” The pantomime is performed every December. “Dreams were had about her, still.”

A stunningly good, understated novel told in a mesmerizing voice.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-936787-70-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Catapult

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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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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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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