A modern fairy tale that moves apace but is burdened by uneven writing and characters who continually do things that seem...


A feckless Englishman who’s just inherited wealth and a title finds purpose when he falls for his enigmatic cleaning lady, an Albanian refugee with a vast well of secrets.

Maxim Trevelyan has just lost his beloved older brother, Kit, and inherited his title as Earl of Trevethick. He also discovers his old house cleaner has left and been replaced by Alessia, a beautiful young woman from Albania who has little beyond the clothes on her back yet plays the piano like a superstar. She’s reticent and modest and came to England to escape the brutal man her father wanted her to marry only to fall into the hands of sex traffickers. She’s managed to find a job and shelter with her mother’s friend, but when she’s threatened, it’s clear that Max has suddenly developed a heightened sense of protectiveness. He’s falling in love with her. How could he not? She’s beautiful, talented, and courageous, having survived these horrors. But when one evil man after another tracks her down, Max will use every property and penny at his disposal, even go to the ends of the Earth—or at least across Europe—to save her. James offers her first book outside the staggeringly successful Fifty Shades of Grey (2012) world, and the story can be compelling, in a "Cinderella" meets Perils of Pauline kind of way. We root for Alessia to be saved by the rich, handsome Max, who suddenly cares about all the things he’s intentionally ignored his whole life, yet we also ask ourselves why a woman who escaped sex traffickers at a gas station can’t be smarter when she’s hiding from them in a mansion or when she’s being dragged back to her hometown by the man she fled from in the first place. It’s also worth noting in light of James' earlier books that while sex is an important theme—mainly Alessia’s sexual awakening and the threat of sexual violence—there's only the slightest hint of BDSM, when Max hooks up with a one-night stand early in the book, which highlights Alessia’s innocence.

A modern fairy tale that moves apace but is burdened by uneven writing and characters who continually do things that seem out of character.

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984898-32-6

Page Count: 498

Publisher: Vintage

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...


An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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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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