Thin romantic silliness mainly, but good descriptions of the old manse in Amsterdam, and of the stuff Miranda cooks there.



Cookbook-author Field debuts in fiction with a novel that stretches hard indeed so that things culinary can provide a metaphor of closure.

Australian Miranda is only 15 when she’s swept away by Anton Peeters, the 30-year-old and half-shady Dutch trader who wafts her off to the edenic East Indies for a life of open air, sex, sea, and new baby Diana—when, that is, he’s not away from “home” on his travels, which, Miranda discovers, are apparently involving more and more sex of odd kinds. With this knowledge, she insists that the family relocate to the relative orderliness of Anton’s old family home in Amsterdam, a grand but deeply faded mansion built on the tired foundations of Dutch empire. There, Miranda lives with Diana—whose favorite companion is her monkey, Majine—and with a mother-in-law who’s imperious toward Miranda but loving to her granddaughter. Soon Anton isn’t just at sea most of the time but has abandoned his family for keeps (to the sorrow of Diana, who—inexplicably to the reader—loves the ultra-sleazy guy madly) to form a sex-and-mysticism cult in the Indies, in something like a thinny-thin version of Conrad’s Kurtz. When Mother-in-Law dies back in Amsterdam, her will leaves the whole kit and kaboodle to Diana and only the kitchen pots and pans to Miranda. Embittering enough, but more immediately to the point is the state of poverty the pair find themselves in. What to do but start a restaurant? It quickly becomes the talk of all Amsterdam, so successful that . . . but wait: Will it be able to survive when something truly dreadful happens to the beautiful Miranda, overseeing spirit and culinary genius? Will plain-Jane daughter Diana ever stop mooning over her good-riddance father and step in to save the day, the family, the fortune?

Thin romantic silliness mainly, but good descriptions of the old manse in Amsterdam, and of the stuff Miranda cooks there.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-58234-114-1

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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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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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

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