HER OWN RULES

Bradford's (Love in Another Town, 1995, etc.) latest romantic heroine swans through her 40's having it all—great kids, a promising relationship simmering, and a tidy business. But gnawing at her psychic innards is a lost childhood. Her journey takes her from shrink to sleuthing before the final celebration. An introductory flash reveals the tot ``Mari'' and her beset but adoring mother in their English cottage—a scene that concludes with Mari screaming, ``Me mam's dead!'' Back in the present there are the generally serene travels of lovely Meredith Stratton (tall, blond, eyes deep green), mother of Catherine and Jon, amicably divorced from Jon's father, and immensely successful in creating upscale hostelries at home and abroad. (Classy Meredith supplies her inns with such elegant touches as hot-water bottles in silk cases!) Her favorite inn is at Silver Lake in Vermont, where as a teenager she worked with the late innkeepers Jack and Amelia. They adored her baby, Catherine, conceived at Silver Lake. Meredith remembers nothing of her early childhood before the misery of an Australian orphanage and nasty adoptive ``parents.'' Now, however, when she visits monastic ruins in northern England, heartstrings to her buried past begin to ping. She suffers ``weak'' spells—in spite of an exciting tendre for the French designer Lue, and the happy news of Catherine's engagement. Then, thanks to sessions with a psychiatrist, some thunderclap recalls, and the help of a friend, Meredith's past begins to unroll. The conclusion swells with joyful noises and mega-happiness. This time out, Bradford taps an old scandal involving the transporting of English children, but, still, Meredith's childhood tragedy does seem implausible, and it's not until the hunt for ``Mari'' is underway that the tale moves at all. Fans may be assured, though, of lush digs and a Big Tear reunion. Lukewarm romance in one of those silk cases—and always saleable. ($1,000,000 ad/promo; author tour; TV and radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: May 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-06-017721-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1996

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

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

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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