An often familiar but touching story of love and difficult choices.


A debut romance novel about a priest’s forbidden love for an aspiring singer.

Palumbo delivers a variation on the tried-and-true priest-in-love template that’s been serving novelists for more than 150 years, ever since Charles Reade’s 1861 novel, The Cloister and the Hearth. The plot revolves around handsome, newly ordained Catholic priest Matteo da Luca, who’s had a love of singing ever since he was a small boy in Australia and who brings that love to his first parish assignment in Highgate, Washington, in 1975, as the novel begins.There, he meets a young woman named Emily Grey and is struck by her beauty and her passion for song. In the novel’s early stages, Emily is a law student at the University of Western Australia, but she soon decides to change career paths and concentrate on a singing career, hiring a famous tutor and dreaming of making a living with her voice. When Father Matteo’s superior, the archbishop, notices the pair’s superb vocal abilities, he seeks to arrange a recital for the two of them. However, he’s careful to remind Father Matteo of his relationship with Jesus and the church, which takes precedence over any possible romantic entanglements. Such reminders are always wasted in this type of novel, though, and Palumbo’s book is no different; the passion between Father Matteo and Emily is undeniable, even as they try to sublimate it into their shared love of music. Still, the author manages to shape this recognizable pattern into a leisurely but effective drama. Most of the secondary characters feel underdeveloped, and there are moments of wooden, unnatural dialogue: “It seems that you and Emily are inextricably bound together by your singing,” says the archbishop, for instance, in casual conversation. However, Palumbo’s dramatic instincts are pointed, and he brings the third act of his story to a gripping and surprising conclusion. Even readers who know this subgenre very well will find this a diverting read.

An often familiar but touching story of love and difficult choices.

Pub Date: July 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984506-78-8

Page Count: 294

Publisher: XlibrisAU

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?