Cookson (The Lady on My Left, p. 1413) bestows an emotional grandeur on the circumscribed lives of her working-class...



First US publication of a 1952 novel by the late Dame Catherine—and a good one: Cain and Abel on the Tyneside docks.

Young and strapping John O’Brien has a romantic heart and a poetic way, though all that’s no use as he looks for work unloading freighters. His mother, Mary Ellen, is pregnant once more, with many mouths to feed already. Devout Catholics, the family is frightened by the Protestant spiritualists who move into the flat above, determined to help the afflicted—and the old man and his granddaughter Christine do somehow save Mary Ellen from a childbirth end, though her newborn dies. Healed, she struggles on against soul-destroying poverty, not helped much by husband Shane, an alcoholic who suffers from tremors. But Shane can still knock down his other son, Dominic, a violent, almost fiendish brute who spends his pay on drink and whores. Meanwhile, good son John adores younger sister Katie, a shy and studious lass, and believes in her dream of becoming a teacher someday—didn’t Miss Llewellyn say she could do it? Mary Llewellyn is a teacher herself, a vision of elegance and breeding to this rough lot, the daughter of an erstwhile dockworker who’s now a respected boat-builder with his own yard, while her mother, a sharp-tongued social climber, is aghast to see her daughter keep company with John. She’s not the only one: Dominic erupts with jealous rage when John becomes a gaffer who hires and oversees the dockworkers. First, Dominic beguiles a simple-minded girl and gets her pregnant, then starts scurrilous rumors that John’s the culprit. When he sets Kate and Christine adrift on a boat, all of Tyneside sees the girls drown. Knowing he’ll never have his Mary now, John hunts his evil brother from house to house, bent on a terrible revenge.

Cookson (The Lady on My Left, p. 1413) bestows an emotional grandeur on the circumscribed lives of her working-class characters, and her vividly written tale has real power.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2002

ISBN: 0-7432-3678-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

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On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving...


When Faith Holland was abandoned at the altar three years ago, she left her hometown for San Francisco to regroup; coming home to Manningsport, she’ll have to confront her past and Levi Cooper, the disturbingly handsome chief of police she blames for ruining her life.

On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving professional life and a comical romantic life. Summoned home for a few months to work the harvest at her family’s winery and help with some crisis management, Faith realizes that some things in her small town will never change—for the good or the bad—but she knows the time has come to establish a new reality with her ex, her family and maybe even Levi Cooper, the best man who forced Jeremy to be honest with her and himself on their wedding day. It’s so much easier to blame and despise him; if she lets down her guard, she might have to deal with their short but profound shared past and her own guilt and secrets from a long-ago tragedy that has haunted her for most of her life. Higgins’ newest heart-tugging romantic comedy juggles a spectrum of emotionally powerful elements, including the death of a mother, the abandonment of a father and a sigh-worthy high school romance gone awry. With her typical engaging voice, compelling storytelling and amusing dialogue, Higgins keeps the audience flipping through pages as quickly as possible, but it is her spot-on ability to make her characters at once funny, authentic and vulnerable—vulnerable to the point of breaking, so they can heal, stronger and better and more able to love—that is her true genius and guarantees most romance fans will both laugh out loud and get teary, sometimes at the same time. Another sweet, touching must-read for Higgins fans and anyone who enjoys a perfect combination of humor and romance.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-373-77792-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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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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