While the heroine’s transformation in a few short weeks is just a bit too extreme to be believable, the book is well-written...

IF THE EARL ONLY KNEW

An earl’s sister lives in isolation after a difficult childhood until a friend of her brother’s helps her overcome her bitterness.

Forester (The Highlander’s Bride, 2015) returns with the first book in her new Regency series, The Daring Marriages. Lady Katherine Ashton has come back to England after a long absence. She and her twin brother, Robert, the Earl of Darington, have recovered from their childhood penury and become quite wealthy, thanks to Kate’s financial acumen and Robert’s daring career as a privateer for the English crown. When they meet with a group of investors to repay them for helping finance Robert’s sailing career, Kate is dismayed to find that a certain investor has appeared in person to collect his money. John Arlington, the Earl of Wynbrook, had a steamy encounter with Kate the last time she was in England. Now years of hardship and loneliness have taken their toll. Kate is a grim, unhappy woman, dressed in severe black because masquerading as a widow makes it easier to avoid drawing attention to herself. Although Kate and Robert would like to keep to themselves, a series of mishaps soon makes it clear that they’re being pursued by an unknown enemy. They’re forced to accept the help of the Arlington family, which means Kate and John have to reckon with their past and figure out how to get along. The book is a dramatic tale of debtors prison, kidnapping, gunshot wounds, and runaway maidens. The story is well-paced and absorbing, the characters complicated and likable, and the prose straightforward and clear.

While the heroine’s transformation in a few short weeks is just a bit too extreme to be believable, the book is well-written and most readers will be entertained.

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4926-0549-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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HONEST ILLUSIONS

Suspenseful, glamorous story of love, blackmail, and magic, set in New Orleans and Washington, D.C., about a family of high-class magicians practicing the time-honored profession of thievery. When magician Maxmillian Nouvelle adopts the 12-year-old runaway Luke Callahan, he gives him more than a family: He teaches him the secrets of blending what's real and what's not...giving people what they want—and also taking what they value. For the Great Nouvelle is a master jewel-thief; stealing from the undeserving rich warms his blood like the anticipation of good sex, a passion that both Luke and Max's bratty daughter Raxanne eventually share. Thirteen years pass: As Luke practices the fine arts of larceny and escapology, Roxanne grows into a flame-haired witch who turns bell, book, and candle into smoke onstage. Offstage, she trades in her David Cassidy poster for Luke; together, they set off sparks that could make an innocent bystander..go up in flames. But Luke's invincibility, like the Great Houdini's, is deceptive: Slimy Sam Wyatt—a former grifter now running for the Senate—slithers in from Luke's past, his frigid heart full of contempt for the family he once tried to seam. He threatens to frame Luke for murder and expose the Nouvelles' after-hours show unless he disappears. Five years later, a homesick Luke reappears, determined to show the disillusioned Roxanne that he's more than smoke and mirrors. Together, they set out to plot vengeance, staking everything on their most daring sting to date. True to the magician's oath, Roberts reveals no secrets, but the illusion works—in a compelling and detail-rich first hardcover. Good escape reading.

Pub Date: July 17, 1992

ISBN: 0-399-13761-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1992

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The overly complicated mystery plays second fiddle to the sexual tango between two psychic partners.

CLOSE UP

Quick returns to 1930s California (Tightrope, 2019, etc.) with another sexy but derivative thriller.

After refusing to marry the man her wealthy parents favored, fiercely independent Vivian Brazier moved from San Francisco to Adelina Beach to pursue her career as an art photographer. Her mother and sister, Lyra, who becomes engaged to Vivian’s reject, send her gifts, but her father has cut off support, so she does studio portraits and freelance photojournalism to support herself. Studying her own photos surrounding the murder of Hollywood star Clara Carstairs by the Dagger Killer leads her to believe the perp is a photographer, and her tip to the police puts them on the right path. But a chance to sell her work at Fenella Penfield’s gallery falls through, and Vivian is stunned when she uses her sixth sense to learn that Fenella is furious over Vivian’s photos of nude men. Meantime, Nick Sundridge, who works with his dog, Rex, as a private eye, is striving to harness his strange fever dreams to help his investigations. After Vivian’s narrow escape from the Dagger Killer, Nick arrives to warn her that she’s marked for death by a hired killer. He’s an emissary for Luther Pell, who is an old wartime friend of his uncle's and who runs a nightclub in Burning Cove and has connections to the FBI and other government agencies. Nick convinces Vivian that he can protect her by posing as her assistant while trying to find the killer whose coded journal of poems contains the names of his victims and the methods he’s used to kill them. Escaping when the killer tries to burn them alive, Nick and Vivian (and Rex) move to the Burning Cove Hotel, where they set a trap for their quarry while the flame of their attraction burns brighter.

The overly complicated mystery plays second fiddle to the sexual tango between two psychic partners.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0684-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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