Another historical romp from novelist/screenwriter Ephron (A Cup of Tea, 1997, etc.), who this time takes us south of the border and over the waves to Cuba on the eve of the Spanish-American War. By the end of the 19th century, the Spanish Empire had pretty much folded up its tent for good, at least in the Americas. Cuba was the only colony of any significance left, and even there the move for independence (under JosÇ Mart°) was growing stronger every day; soon a military government was established, and rebels were hunted down assiduously and either deported or killed outright. Among the rebellious was Augustin Cisneros, a plantation foreman who had become a staunch patriot. Arrested for activities on behalf of the independence movement, Cisneros was sentenced to death by firing squad. His teenaged daughter Evangelina was able to intervene on his behalf, however, and the sentence was commuted to imprisonment on the Isle of Pines, one of the infamous concentration camps set up by the Spaniards to contain the rebellion. Evangelina is allowed to accompany her father to the Isle of Pines, and there the camp commandant falls in love with her. To resist his advances, Evangelina stabs him and is arrested as a rebel in her own right. When she’s sent to the African penal colony of Ceuta, Evangelina’s case became a cause cÇläbre, inflaming world opinion against Spain. Enter Karl Decker. A reporter for Hearst’s New York Journal, Decker is sent to Cuba to rescue Evangelina from prison. Using his press credentials to gain access, he pretends to interview Evangelina while laying the plan for her escape. Along the way, the two fall in love, and once Evangelina is out of harm’s way in New York, Decker has to find a way to pull off his own escape—from his wife Katherine. But some prisons are more easily sprung than others. A vivid embellishment of a true account, Ephron’s story is quick and lively enough to outrun the tedium that’s the bane of historical romances.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16314-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...


An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A smooth blend of suspense and romance. As ever, the author's trademark effortless style keeps a complex plot moving without...


Megaselling Roberts (River's End, 1999, etc.) goes to Napa Valley for the tale of an Italian-American family wine producers rocked by scandal and a series of murders.

Dynasty head Tereza Giambelli knows that her granddaughter Sophia is the only family member capable of running a multimillion-dollar wine business—and no one contradicts La Signora. It's just as well the lovely young woman is still single: Tereza has plans for her. The matriarch has recently married Eli MacMillan, the American founder of another famous wine company. Eli's grandson Tyler knows everything there is to know about producing wine, from the vineyard to the vat. Ruggedly handsome, intelligent and earthy, he's a perfect match for public-relations whiz Sophia—or so thinks Tereza. The two young people begin to work together; Tyler teaches Sophia the fine art of making wine and making love. But other family members hope to claim their share of the Giambelli fortune, and people start dying mysteriously, including Sophia's good-for-nothing father, Tony Avano. Long divorced from long-suffering Pilar Giambelli, Tony led an opulent, self-indulgent life that provides plenty of murder suspects. He might have been killed by the mob, or a jealous mistress, or his spoiled brother-in-law, Tereza's lazy son, who's produced a passel of brats with his foolish Italian wife in the hopes of making Tereza happy. Everyone has a motive, and nothing is what it seems, Sophia discovers, but Tyler stands by her. Then a bottle of tainted merlot kills a company exec. A tragic mishap caused by poisonous plants growing near the vines? Or deliberate product tampering intended to destroy the company? Sophia and Tyler will need to delve even deeper into the convoluted and sometimes unsavory history of the family and its three-generation business.

A smooth blend of suspense and romance. As ever, the author's trademark effortless style keeps a complex plot moving without a hitch.

Pub Date: March 19, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-14712-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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