The shock ending and pretentious elements, such as Linda's unconvincing struggle with her faith, can't disguise the fact...

READ REVIEW

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Bestselling Shreve (The Pilot's Wife, 1998, etc.) reuses a character from a previous novel in this new work tracing a doomed love affair backwards in time.

We meet 52-year-old Linda Fallon checking into a Toronto hotel for a literary conference, at which she meets fellow American poet Thomas Janes, whom she hasn't seen since the disastrous denouement of their adulterous affair in Africa 25 years earlier. Since then, as readers of The Weight of Water (1997) already know, he's seen his five-year-old daughter drown and gotten a second divorce. Thomas still carries the torch Linda first ignited when she was a working-class Catholic teenager recently returned from a Magdalene home for "wayward girls" and he was an Episcopalian from the right side of the tracks dazzled by her boldness and individuality. During the conference they fall into bed again, and Part One ends with a parting at the airport that offers hope of long-delayed happiness for this star-crossed pair. Part Two depicts their encounter in Kenya: both married to other people but retaining tender memories of the adolescent romance cut short by a car accident, they're briefly happy until Thomas's wife finally achieves her desperate desire to get pregnant, triggering an ugly confrontation the author inexplicably doesn't allow us to witness. Part Three finally gets us back to Hull, Massachusetts, but the story of Linda's abuse by her aunt's boyfriend and her sexual healing through Thomas's love is overshadowed by an outrageous final plot twist. It's fine to fool the reader if you play fair—for example, as Rebecca Goldstein did in Properties of Light (2000). Shreve, by contrast, doesn't suggest that her solid (if not especially gripping) storyline is anything other than what it seems until she tears the entire premise to shreds in the book's two last pages.

The shock ending and pretentious elements, such as Linda's unconvincing struggle with her faith, can't disguise the fact that the author is very short of fresh ideas here.

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-316-78114-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • IndieBound Bestseller

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

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

Did you like this book?

Complications abound in this well-crafted, light holiday romance.

CHRISTMAS AT LITTLE BEACH STREET BAKERY

Talented baker Polly Waterford doesn’t know what to do when her best friend, Kerensa, swears her to secrecy. Kerensa’s drunken one-night stand may jeopardize not only her pregnancy, but also her marriage, not to mention Polly’s engagement to Huckle.

Fans of Colgan's (The Café by the Sea, 2017, etc.) Mount Polbearne stories will delight—and new fans will find an easy, charming entry into the saga—as Polly, Huckle, and Neil (the puffin) return for the Christmas season. Having survived the dissolution of her graphic design business, Polly is now happily ensconced with Huckle, whose honey business is not yet thriving, in the historic lighthouse they bought in the sweet Cornish village (practically an island) whose only road to civilization is submerged under the sea twice each day. As the yuletide season approaches, however, Polly must face a bewildering number of obstacles. Is she ready to marry Huckle? Is she ready to start a family? How can she know when her own father abandoned her before she was even born? How can she give up an entire day’s profits to the Mount Polbearne Christmas fair? How can she save the endangered puffin sanctuary? How will she ever bake enough for the fair plus cater a huge holiday party for Kerensa and her fabulously wealthy husband, Reuben? And how will Kerensa ever survive Reuben’s wrath if the baby turns out not to be his but some 6-foot-4 Brazilian man’s? Supported by the ever faithful Huckle and Neil's endearing eeps, Polly carries on from the cozy bed in the icy lighthouse, trailing flour and knishes wherever she goes. Keeping secrets, pleasing everyone, and balancing so many jobs keeps Polly busy—that is, until a massive winter storm threatens everything.

Complications abound in this well-crafted, light holiday romance.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-266299-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more