A heartwarming, perceptive romance with just enough high-stakes drama to keep readers turning the pages.

Where Lemons Bloom

A young woman falls in love with an ex-con who’s desperately trying to clear his name in this charming romance-cum-mystery.

Eve’s on a much-deserved vacation following the death of her father, but her trip nearly turns deadly following an ill-advised dip in the ocean. A handsome, mysterious stranger comes to her rescue, and the two promptly fall into bed. What should have been a one-night stand slowly turns into something more when Eve and Adamo discover they’re both passengers on a cruise from Barbados to Europe. Soon, Eve has settled in with Adamo at his picturesque inn in Positano. (The vivid descriptions of the Amalfi Coast are likely to inspire more than one Italian getaway.) Yet her lover’s past—a stint in prison for embezzlement, a crime he didn’t commit—casts a shadow on their bliss. Eve, with the help of her IRS agent brother-in-law, a Mafia-connected businessman, and the sister of Adamo’s dead business partner (who committed suicide under strange circumstances), sets out to clear his name. McDowell’s (Romantic Road, 2015, etc.) sixth novel is a well-balanced mix of romance and mystery. The hot-and-heavy beginning initially suggests that Adamo and Eve’s attraction might be purely physical, but a sweet, believable romance springs from that initial encounter. Eve, initially “deeply afraid of life,” discovers the happiness she’s longed for, while Adamo learns to let go of past traumas. Watching this mature, sensible pair figure out each other’s quirks is truly enjoyable. Bringing her hero and heroine together early on also leaves McDowell free to concentrate on solving the story’s central mystery. Discovering who set Adamo up isn’t too difficult, though he is initially too good-hearted (or perhaps naïve) to realize the obvious. His passive, nice-guy persona is the book’s major fault, and at times, one wishes for a hero with a bit more verve. Still, the business of ensnaring those who conspired to send Adamo to prison has enough twists and turns to be entertaining even when it’s obvious where it’s all leading.

A heartwarming, perceptive romance with just enough high-stakes drama to keep readers turning the pages.

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5092-0470-0

Page Count: 278

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2015

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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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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To her usual mix of love, mystery, and passion, Roberts (Sanctuary, 1997, etc.)—author of 115 romancers in some 17 years—adds Renaissance art and a decidedly Medici-like family: the Joneses of Maine. Dr. Miranda Jones, nearly six feet with flaming red hair and a glacial reserve, is an archeometrist who specializes in the analyzing and dating of Renaissance bronze sculpture. Miranda hopes to secure a world-class reputation for herself by authenticating a 15th-century statue of the Dark Lady, one of the mistresses of Lorenzo the Magnificent, as the undiscovered work of a young Michelangelo. Miranda's mother, Dr. Elizabeth Standford-Jones, the emotionally remote director of the Standjo art lab in Florence, has summoned her daughter from the family's Victorian cliffside home in Jones Point, Maine, to test the statue. Meanwhile, Miranda's father, equally remote, is an archaeologist who spends more time at his digs than at home. In fact, no one in the Jones family has made a successful run at marriage, a failure that Miranda and her alcoholic brother Andrew call the Jones curse. As for the statue, when it's discovered to be a fake, Miranda sets out to prove that someone stole the original. In this she's helped by gorgeous art thief Ryan Boldari (half-Italian, half-Irish), who's come to Jones Point to steal yet another bronze, which also turns out to be a forgery. Ryan's plan had been to use Miranda as a pawn, but now, naturally, he finds himself falling hard for her. While the two search for bronzes, a standard-issue romance-novel psychotic is stalking them. Most readers will twig to the killer's identity: Here, as always, Roberts's sexual tension is more compelling than her suspense. Perhaps it's time to take a sabbatical from the pink sweatshop and turn her considerable wit and narrative skills to a more original piece of work.

Pub Date: March 23, 1998

ISBN: 0-399-14387-4

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1998

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