An entertaining, page-turning historical romance that may appeal to fans of Eloisa James.



In Warfield’s (The Renegade Wife, 2016, etc.) latest series installment, an English duke in 1838 finds political intrigue and a second chance at love while investigating the opium trade in China.

Charles Wheatly, the Duke of Murnane, believed that he had everything until his world collapsed under a cloud of tragedy and scandal. Desperate for a distraction, he’s intrigued when his mentor, the Duke of Sudbury, presents him with an offer from Queen Victoria. Rogue traders are selling opium throughout China, and the Chinese are pushing back against the traders. The queen wants Charles to go to Asia and investigate the situation. When he arrives in Macau, he’s startled to encounter Zambak Hayden, the Duke of Sudbury’s daughter. Her brother, John Thornton “Thorn” Hayden, is floundering as a clerk for the East India Company, and she intends to protect him. As Charles’ investigation intensifies, Zambak discovers that Thorn is also addicted to opium. While Charles and Zambak work to identify the key players in the opium trade, they find themselves falling in love. Their connection is soon tested when political tensions in the region threaten to escalate into military conflict, and Charles’ estranged wife, Julia, resurfaces to wreak havoc on his reputation. The third installment of Warfield’s Children of Empire series is a keenly observed historical romance, replete with detailed settings, dynamic characters, and a multilayered plot. It’s set in the months leading up to the First Opium War, and although the story is fictional, Warfield references historical figures throughout, including English superintendent Charles Elliot and Chinese official Lin Zexu. Warfield excels at creating well-drawn main characters; Charles is shown to be an honorable man who’s trying to rebuild his life and career after the death of his son, and Zambak is depicted as intelligent, strong-willed, and determined to live life on her own terms. The author deftly balances the romance with the political intrigue of the opium trade and Charles’ quest to end his disastrous marriage.

An entertaining, page-turning historical romance that may appeal to fans of Eloisa James.

Pub Date: July 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68291-766-4

Page Count: 326

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.


A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?