Throw in all the right ingredients—fashion, sex and female empowerment—blend, and out comes this frothy, enjoyable read.



Two sisters, one prim and proper, the other hip and artsy, lose and find love, and have a few epiphanies as to what makes a healthy relationship in 21st-century London.

Martha has it all, or so younger sister Eliza thinks, while looking around her own grubby Shepherd’s Bush flat. Martha has a smart Holland Park house, a dependable husband in Michael and two beautiful toddlers. Sure, Eliza has sexy Greg, who knows her better than anyone, but she’s tired of life with a knockabout musician who sells hats. She wants a man with a pension plan and a mortgage. With barely an explanation to Greg, Eliza packs up and runs to Martha. But it turns out to be Martha who’s in need of tea and comfort. The night before Michael left—he doesn’t love her, and sees no reason to waste his life for the sake of the children. Martha tries to convince him he’s just being silly—of course he’s happy! To no avail, and so the rest of the novel is Martha’s metamorphosis from uptight wife to her more authentic self, the fun woman she was before she was saddled with Michael’s expectations. Helping her on her journey is Jack Hope, sexy, rich and with just one flaw—he wants to be “naked friends” with Martha—that is, have sex, no strings attached. After ten years of marriage, this seems fine, but Eliza is furious. Not only has reliable Martha disappeared, but all the sensible men Martha is introducing Eliza to are, well, sensible. Parks’s novel breezes along (with the exception of a few too many interior monologues) until Eliza and Martha find themselves in serious emotional jeopardy—it may be too late for Eliza and soul-mate Greg, and Jack may be leaving town, just as Michael’s wanting Martha back.

Throw in all the right ingredients—fashion, sex and female empowerment—blend, and out comes this frothy, enjoyable read.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7434-9649-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Downtown Press/Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Another success for the publishing phenom.


An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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