A fairly straightforward romance set in a quaintly charming world.

HIS SECRET MISTRESS

From the A Logical Man’s Guide to Dangerous Women series , Vol. 1

An actress who has carefully chosen the rules she can break in Regency-era England finds herself painfully conflicted when she rediscovers her ex-lover, now an aspiring architect with his heart set on building bridges.

Brandon Balfour has studiously avoided matrimony. His singleness has ensured continued membership in the Logical Men’s Society, a group for unmarried scientific-minded men instituted by the grandfather of the current Earl of Marsden. While the matrons of the village of Maidenshop would like nothing better than to see him—and his two eligible young friends—comfortably wedded, Brandon has other concerns: Not only is he haunted by his romantic past with the indomitable Kate Addison, he is also hoping to secure the future of his ward, the Duke of Winderton. But ancient history returns to create drama in the present when he learns that Winderton believes himself in love with Kate, whose traveling theater group has halted at their village. Brandon crashes back into her life, but Kate is determined that he will not shatter her heart again. Since she suffered disastrous consequences after her tryst with Brandon 15 years ago, Kate feels used and betrayed. She is determined to prove that she can stand her ground and won’t give the architect an inch. The first installment in Maxwell’s A Logical Man’s Guide to Dangerous Women series is deliciously sweet when it dwells on the protagonists’ interactions with secondary characters but insipid when the couple get together to trade barbs and memories. Brandon’s struggle with the difficulty of building a solid foundation for his life inspires empathy, but the enormity of Kate’s trauma gets obscured by drama. A fiercely ambitious woman who has braved several odds to gain financial independence, Kate is a beautifully crafted character whose story deserved more sensitivity and nuance. However, the scenes involving the villagers of Maidenshop sparkle with wit and insight, illuminating several human foibles and desires.

A fairly straightforward romance set in a quaintly charming world.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289726-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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