Steel (Johnny Angel, p. 556) softens her style in this quiet, poignant romance, generally avoiding the glitzy excesses and...

SAFE HARBOUR

Second-chance romance in a windswept beach town.

Ophélie, the French-born wife of an American physicist and inventor, struggles with depression after her husband and son die in a plane crash. Not that the marriage was perfect—far from it. Ted was a moody genius who did his damnedest to ignore 15-year-old Chad’s emotional problems and Ophélie’s timid complaints. At least she still has Philippa, her 11 year-old daughter, known as Pip, to console her, and group therapy to help her through what’s referred to delicately as “the grieving process” (yes, this is in California). When Pip, ignored in turn by her airhead babysitter, wanders the beach alone and meets an artist, Ophélie is frightened and comes to sudden life, fiercely scolding the man, who insists he meant no harm. Matt Bowles remembers his own daughter at that age, though his children are grown. He lost touch with them after a bitter divorce and his wife’s relocation to New Zealand. A likely story, thinks Ophélie, who is nonetheless drawn to the attractive painter. A relationship blossoms as they share life stories and walks on the beach with the family retriever and happy Pip. Ophélie is surprised to find joy again—but her best friend Andrea could have told her that. Andrea, a free spirit who loved and left many men, has finally settled down at 44, a blissful single mother to baby William, fathered by artificial insemination and an anonymous donor—these days, who cares? Not Ophélie, who dotes on the adorable tot. Eager to do something for others, she volunteers for a homeless outreach program and serves these lost souls with bravery and compassion. But a bitter betrayal awaits her, as the truth of little William’s parentage is revealed.

Steel (Johnny Angel, p. 556) softens her style in this quiet, poignant romance, generally avoiding the glitzy excesses and silly contrivances of some previous titles. Easy to read, easy to like.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-33630-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2003

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A feisty, evanescent first novel, lively enough to keep a sunbather awake.

THE BEACH CLUB

Well-fit, great-looking hotel employees in Nantucket prowl for love..

Everyone at the Nantucket Beach Club and Hotel this summer wants something, and wants it badly. The receptionist, Love, is so obsessed with getting pregnant that she sees each male guest as a potential sperm donor. Bill, who owns the place with his wife Therese, wants his 18-year-old daughter Cecily to agree to take over the hotel. But Cecily’s one desire is to fly to Rio for a reunion with her well-endowed Brazilian boyfriend. For Therese, concerned about Bill’s failing heart and dreading Cecily's impending independence, all would be well if only Cecily would marry Mack, the hotel's manager, who loves the Beach Club as if it were his own—though he has a long-term girlfriend, Maribel, who is desperate for him to propose. On top of all this, the head bellman, Vance, having lost the manager's job to Mack 12 years ago, has marked this as the summer when he'll finally take his revenge. At the center of all the turmoil, easygoing Mack simply wants everyone off his back while he decides whether to make the alluring island his home or return to his farm in Iowa. With Maribel pursuing Mack, Jem (another bellman) pursuing Maribel, Vance pursuing Love, and Love pursuing everyone, the club is awash with hormones, and quarrels break from one minute to the next. The ever-changing cast of hotel guests—a sexy suspected drug dealer, an extracurricular flame of Mack's, a generous dying man—adds to the mix. After a crescendo that begins with Vance taking Mack's decision into his own hands and culminates with a hurricane that leaves the hotel engulfed in sand, the characters find all their obsessive needs gone—carried off, as if by the wind—letting peace reign.

A feisty, evanescent first novel, lively enough to keep a sunbather awake.

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-312-26125-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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Guillory’s debut is a mix of romance and raunch that will charm rom-com fans.

THE WEDDING DATE

A fake romance starts becoming surprisingly real.

Alexa is a lawyer-turned–chief of staff for the mayor of Berkeley. Drew is a pediatric surgeon from LA in town for his ex-girlfriend’s wedding. When the two get stuck in an elevator in a San Francisco hotel, they unexpectedly hit it off, and Drew convinces Alexa to be his plus-one at the wedding, leading to a whole fake-relationship scheme. The relationship may be fake, but Alexa and Drew are very clearly interested in each other. As a one-night stand becomes a two-night stand becomes weekend trips between Berkeley and LA, both are in denial about how important they are to each other. As they face ups and downs, ultimately they must decide if they want to try to make a real relationship work. The writing is fast-paced, jumping between Alexa's and Drew’s points of view. The two leads are charming, and both have quirky friends who add flavor to the story. The issue of race comes up since Alexa is black and Drew is white; Alexa is more aware of situations that may turn ugly, and Drew becomes more mindful of his privilege, a timely lesson that adds depth to the story. The book is also unexpectedly raunchy, since Alexa and Drew’s connection starts as a purely physical one and they only later develop deeper feelings. The characters never find a situation that doesn’t turn them on at least a little bit.

Guillory’s debut is a mix of romance and raunch that will charm rom-com fans.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-58766-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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