Brittle romance laced with bitchy asides.

CALLING ROMEO

Young things in London, in Potter’s first US publication.

Juliet is bright, pretty, and disenchanted with boyfriend Will. He’s kept her waiting for eons at this bar, and she’s extremely unhappy about it. And no one ever told her that adult life would entail one second of unhappiness. Perhaps a whiny gabfest with chum Trudy will soothe her soul. Or she can text-message everyone she knows to help her through this latest crisis. Dressing up in sexy red silk embroidered with tiny flowers (don’t ask the price, darling) and attracting the attention of every bloke in the bar is small consolation for being stood up. She loathes bars. Bars serve martinis, and martinis contain olives, and even though she isn’t having a martini with or without olives, she hates olives with a passion. Nasty bitter bloody things. And just because Will is terribly involved with his new landscaping business is no reason to neglect her romantic needs. Now, he’s apparently forgotten that it’s Valentine’s Day, and she will never, ever forgive him. Not even after she gets sloppy drunk with Trudy and meets a handsome stranger in the public loo—well, she had to pee and headed into the Gents, all right? The stranger was kind enough to pass her the toilet paper, and she was not too drunk to notice that his accent was extremely posh, as in Royal Family posh! Oo! Though, as it turns out, he answers to the distinctly plebian name of Sykes, he’s the creative director of a rival ad firm, drives a jazzy, spanking-new Aston Martin and—uh-oh, Will just woke up. So who’s the GQ-gorgeous bloke in the poncey clothes sniffing around his Juliet? Will goes back to gloomy Yorkshire to sulk and Juliet jets off to sunny Italy with Sykes. He’s sophisticated, fun, has heaps of money, and showers her with expensive gifts. Most of all, he’s paying attention to her. Alas, Juliet soon realizes she’s just another notch on his Gucci belt. Sadder but wiser, she returns to England for a half-baked happy ending.

Brittle romance laced with bitchy asides.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-7434-7032-X

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Downtown Press/Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2003

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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