Pleasant enough but curiously dull, with few surprises and little suspense. Best for those greatly devoted to love stories...

ELEANOR & ABEL

Love among the geezers, rather staidly told but touching nonetheless, by Texas author Sanford (Crossing Shattuck Bridge, 1999, etc.).

Eleanor Bannister, 69, is a recently retired schoolteacher who remembers practically everyone in her small hometown of Grover, Texas, from the days when they struggled through the alphabet in her classroom. It’s like a maternity of sorts, and it seems to have saved the single and childless Eleanor from the fussy eccentricities so often associated with spinsterhood. But Eleanor is an Old Maid all the same, and the rhythms of her life—church on Sunday, gossip with her friend Grace, corn flakes for dinner—suggest a familiar solitude that expects no further surprises from life. Eleanor is unprepared, then, for the arrival of Abel Brown, an itinerant 70-year-old carpenter who lives in a trailer and shows up at the door one day asking Eleanor to rent him the rundown cottage she owns across town. When she refuses (on the grounds that she’s planning to sell it), Abel promptly offers to fix it up for her so that she can get a better price. It’s less trouble to agree with Abel than to argue with him, so Eleanor does—and begins a new and wholly unexpected friendship that soon blossoms into romance. By the time Abel has finished the repairs, he and Eleanor are deeply in love. What’s to stop them from getting married? Nothing at all—although the arrival of Abel’s ten-year-old granddaughter (who comes to stay with him while her mother goes looking for her errant husband) complicates things a bit. But Eleanor takes in both Abel and the girl and sets up something she has never had since her parents died—a home.

Pleasant enough but curiously dull, with few surprises and little suspense. Best for those greatly devoted to love stories in the Bridges of Madison County vein.

Pub Date: May 6, 2003

ISBN: 1-58243-273-2

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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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

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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