Often silly and hastily concluded tale of love vs. duty.

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H.R.H.

Lonely European princess finds purpose and romance when she volunteers for a humanitarian organization in East Africa.

With the weight of an entire kingdom—Liechtenstein, to be exact—on her slender shoulders, her Serene Highness Christianna knows that her life will never be her own. Even though women are forbidden to rule the tiny principality, her profligate older brother and royal heir Freddy shows so little interest in his responsibilities that her widower father, Prince Hans Josef, looks to her to fulfill obligations. Resigned to a life of endless state dinners and hospital tours, the 23-year-old Berkeley grad’s life takes an unexpected turn after she watches children die on TV in a bloody Russian terrorist standoff. Galvanized into action, and with two strapping bodyguards in tow, she meets up with the Red Cross in Russia and does what she can to ease suffering, finding the experience far more meaningful than anything else she has done. Back at her Vaduz palace, her father agrees to let her again join the organization to assist with a hospital project in Eritrea, with the understanding that once the year is up she will devote all her time to her royal duties. In Africa, she hides her identity and passionately throws herself into the work, bonding with her multicultural colleagues who know her only as “Cricky.” She also meets a handsome, young American doctor, Parker Williams, who is himself quickly smitten by the compassionate young woman in braids and boots. Their love blossoms in spite of Christianna’s constant awareness that she could never marry a commoner, dooming their relationship. The heartbroken lovers part when Parker has to return to his AIDS research work at Harvard. The princess leaves soon after when the camp comes under threat during a local war. But it will take more than an ocean—and generations of tradition—to keep these two crazy kids from their happy ending. Steele (Coming Out, June 2006, etc.) should get her due for the political hot-spots angle, but saintlier-than-thou sweethearts Parker and Christianna make for a particularly insipid duo.

Often silly and hastily concluded tale of love vs. duty.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-33829-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2006

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

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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A promising start to a series, provided Roberts can flesh out her derivative heroine.

THE WITNESS

A young woman in hiding from the Russian mob faces a difficult decision when she falls in love with a cop.

Abigail, 28, lives alone in the bucolic hamlet of Bickford, Ark., in an isolated house, fortified with firearms, a state-of-the-art alarm system and a vicious dog named Bert. When the town’s genial police chief, Brooks, suspects Abigail is packing while shopping for gourmet groceries, his curiosity soon morphs into courtship. Although she finds herself drawn to Brooks and to his welcoming, bohemian family, Abigail dares not reveal that her real name is Liz—which is not the only way in which she appears to be Roberts’ answer to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Gifted with an eidetic memory, an IQ over 200 and an affinity for cool, calculated mayhem, Liz/Abigail is a skilled hacker and a highly paid security consultant. In her spare time she investigates the Russian mob and the crooked federal agents who are responsible for her current predicament; whenever possible, she throws virtual monkey wrenches into the mob’s Internet scams. When she witnesses an altercation between Brooks and the wastrel son of a local magnate, she’s thrust back into the horror of the last time she witnessed a crime. At 16, rebelling against an unloving, controlling mother, Liz and a girlfriend, Julie, visited a Chicago nightclub run by the Russian Mafia, where Ilya, son of gang kingpin Sergei, and Alexi, a cousin, seduced them with Cosmos. Later, at Alexi’s lakeside home, Liz was an unseen witness to a hit on Alexi by Sergei’s enforcers, who also killed Julie. Managing to escape, Liz was forced to run again when two dirty FBI agents destroyed her safe house and murdered her guards. A person of interest to both the Feds and the mob, she’s been on the lam for 12 years. Before they can marry, Brooks must help Liz come in from the cold.

A promising start to a series, provided Roberts can flesh out her derivative heroine.

Pub Date: April 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-15912-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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