Fussbudget style sinks a well-meaning romancer.



Second World War romance between a southern spinster and a Japanese gardener, by the author of Praise Jerusalem! (not reviewed), etc.

Everyone in Salty Creek, Georgia, knows that taking care of her demanding, widowed mother and her crotchety maiden aunts left Sophie Willis no chance to marry. Though the town busybody is certain that she had a beau or two years ago, Sophie leads a quiet life now, painting watercolors and calling on other ladies. Then a Greyhound bus, the deus ex machina of so many southern tales, brings Mr. Oto to Salty Creek. Half-starved, sick, and delirious, he's nursed back to health by the doctor’s wife Eulalie and taken in by Miss Anne, who lets him live in a small cabin behind her house in exchange for gardening. Soon Mr. Oto has transformed the weedy yard into a verdant paradise and fallen in love with Sophie, who stops by to observe his progress. He’s ashamed to tell anyone how he ended up so far from his California home: When his aged father sent him, a man past 50, to New York with insultingly careful instructions to bring back his aunt, poor Mr. Oto lost all his money to street hustlers who beat him up, although he did find someone else’s bus ticket. The lonely man’s dreams of Sophie and visions of a huge crane, the Japanese symbol of marital fidelity and happiness, assure him Sophie is his one and only. She in turn is inexorably drawn to him—until the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, and Mr. Oto knows he must leave. Miss Anne hides him in a cabin down by the river, where he and Sophie consummate their forbidden passion in chastely lyrical prose. A hurricane threatens, and so does the town busybody, who delights in making trouble, especially for Sophie. But love conquers all.

Fussbudget style sinks a well-meaning romancer.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-525-94627-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Another success for the publishing phenom.


An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.


A successful businesswoman hires a smooth-talking bounty hunter to find a lead on her sister’s murder.

Kate Gallagher was the only one available to identify her younger sister Chrissy’s body after she was found dead, having run away from home two years earlier. Since Chrissy succumbed to drugs and turned to sex work to survive, her murder isn't taken seriously by the local homicide department. Kate is filled with grief and regret at not having been there for her sister, and she’s determined to find her killer as a kind of penance. Jason Maddox is the charming man Kate almost hooked up with at a local bar. He also happens to be on the payroll of the most successful investigation company in Dallas. He’s all too eager to help Kate out and spend more time getting to know the blonde he danced with at the Sagebrush Saloon. At first, Kate and Jason vow to keep things professional until the case is solved; there’s obvious attraction that they’re willing to pursue at a later date. But the increasing sense of danger mixed with Kate and Jason’s close proximity proves to be too heady of a combination. The tension never lets up as the pair visit seedy bars and interrogate unsavory characters. With a steamy romance and undeniably hot chemistry, the main characters are well matched. They’re both driven, slightly stubborn, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of catching criminals. Martin (The Conspiracy, 2019, etc.) doesn’t skimp on graphic, violent details as Chrissy’s murder leads her couple to something much bigger: human trafficking. Though not for the faint of heart given its weighty material, this is an un-put-down-able page-turner that’s sure to satisfy fans of romance and thrillers alike.

A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-00769-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin HQN

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet