A winning debut featuring the kind of witty, appealing good girl that captures readers' hearts.

TEN GIRLS TO WATCH

A young woman gets the break of a lifetime at a popular magazine—now if only everything else (money, apartment, love life, entire professional future) would fall into place.

A sort of modern-day Mary Tyler Moore, Dawn West is trying to make it as a writer. Though countless novels have offered the same conceit—lives in New York, works in media, searches for Mr. Right—Shumway’s Dawn is a young woman of substance, and her trials are of more consequence than the search for the perfect Little Black Dress. After Harvard, Dawn moves to New York, but along the way loses her college boyfriend Robert and finds herself barely solvent. Robert, they’re “still friends,” invites Dawn to his family’s annual summer fete in the Hamptons, but joining them will be his new girlfriend Lily. At once, Dawn sees Lily is everything she isn’t: rich and cultured in an effortless way and most importantly, unfazed by Robert and his privileged imperiousness. At the party, Dawn meets Regina, the editor of Charm magazine, and this meeting lands her a job putting together a spread for Charm’s 50th anniversary of their "Ten Girls to Watch" contest (Charm is an indistinguishable stand-in for Glamour, where Shumway worked on their corresponding 50th anniversary piece for the “Top Ten College Women” contest). While in her new office (the storage closet) at the archives, Dawn meets Elliot, secret author of the magazine’s bachelor column. Sparks fly and they begin to form the kind of relationship that seems too good to be true. And then he doesn’t call and sends a fruit basket for Christmas. Meanwhile, Dawn is tracking down 50 years’ worth of remarkable women, some quite famous, whose stories fill the novel and offer inspiration when things get tough—her roommate disappears, her building burns down, Elliot is not what he seems, and Robert has ended their friendship. Never fear, our Dawn finds help in unsuspecting places.   

A winning debut featuring the kind of witty, appealing good girl that captures readers' hearts.

Pub Date: July 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-7341-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Washington Square/Pocket

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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