Review by Booklist Review
In a novel that spans decades, Hoover focuses on the life of a farm family of German heritage shortly after WWI. Even though Julius Hess acquired his Iowa acreage years earlier, and the younger of his two sons, Lee, enlisted (after his brother was badly injured) and fought in France, there are murmurs of Kraut in their community. When the two youngest of the four Hess daughters Esther, 16, and Myrle, 14 disappear, they are presumed to be runaways, even when Myrle's favorite dress is found bloodied and torn, and the possibility of foul play arises. Five narrators add depth and texture to the story: Nan, the oldest of the six Hess children, who's functioning as mother; widower Julius, recalling his marriage and emigration from Germany; Lee, in war-torn France; and Esther and Myrle, whose stories are revealed only in the later pages. Hoover (The Quickening, 2010) vividly describes the harsh realities of life on a farm, on the battlefield, and in a Chicago sweatshop through the eyes of masterfully drawn characters. A novel as poignant as it is clear-eyed.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2016 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In her second novel, Hoover (The Quickening) presents a multigenerational family saga. Set in the Iowa plains in the years surrounding World War I, the book tells the story of the Hess family from the perspectives of the patriarch, a German immigrant, and four of his six children. As anti-German sentiment spreads around them and has irreversible impact on each of their lives, the two youngest Hess daughters vanish in the middle of the night. Through shifts in points of view, the story spans the years before, during, and after the war as the central mystery unfolds. Nan, the eldest daughter, struggles to keep the family together after the death of their mother and wonders what role she might have played in her sisters' disappearance. Her father, Jon Julius, haunted by his past and wondering about its bearing on his present, traces his path since immigrating from Germany, seeking farmland in Iowa, and starting a family. The youngest brother, Lee, recalls his time in the army as he travels through Chicago in search of his missing sisters. Though it sometimes seems like information is obscured in order to maintain the mysterious aspects of the narrative, Hoover's well-formed characters propel a consistently compelling tale. Agent: Esmond Harmsworth, Zachary Schuster Harmsworth. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Shortly after World War I draws to an end, the youngest Hess sisters, Myrle and Esther, vanish from their farm in rural Iowa. Their family must piece together what happened to the girls while struggling to maintain a sense of normalcy. In addition, they must deal with anti-German sentiment from their neighbors. When Lee, the girls' older brother, returns from France after serving in the trenches with the U.S. Army, he desperately searches for Myrle and Esther, following a trail that leads him to Chicago. -VERDICT A finalist for the Flaherty-Dunham First Novel prize, Hoover (The Quickening) skillfully interweaves many of the Hess family members' narratives. Her descriptions of the bleak rural landscape is chilling. Fans of Jim Harrison's Legends of the Fall will enjoy the plot; Willa Cather enthusiasts will relish the setting; and Theodore Dreiser readers will savor the gritty characterizations. [Library marketing; seven-city tour.]-Russell Michalak, Goldey-Beacom Coll. Lib., Wilmington, DE © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
The voices emerging from a brooding farmhouse in early-20th-century Iowa reveal its residents' secrets and desiressome expected, some less so. Through the faceted first-person accounts of four siblings and their father, Hoover (The Quickening, 2010, etc.) delivers a lyrical, at times mysterious, and dreamy tale of family ties. Its focus is several generations of the Hess clan, headed by Jon Julius, who emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1892, staking 150 acres of Midwestern bottomland as a homestead for his wife and the six children they would have. Some 20 years later, the Hess family may seem rooted, but the demands of survival on the land are relentless, and their isolation is intensified by a dispute with neighbors, a crippling accident, and the anti-German sentiment arising from World War I. Yet Hoover's tale is about more than the Hess' hardscrabble rural existence, moving as it does from wide open fields to the grime and toil of urban factories and overseas to the blasted wastes of Europe, all the while exploring the psychologies and complicated, sometimes unreliable, and unexpected bonds among the siblings. When two of the sisters, Esther and Myrle, disappear from the farmhouse one night, the notion of home is cracked wide open, never to be restored. Lee, the son who went to war and returned traumatized, sets off for Chicago to search for the girls but eventually returns without them. Esther's and then Myrle's accounts follow, overlapping yet divergent, while Hoover plays a sly hand of revelation, leaving the truth about how and why the girls escaped to emerge late and plangently. Deftly imagined and written, Hoover's second novel offers an intriguing, modern take on a classic American landscape. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.