BLESSING IN DISGUISE

Goudge (Such Devoted Sisters, 1992, etc.) delivers a tight novel about step-family relationships and publishing that does not push any boundaries but does entertain. Grace Truscott, the 37-year-old daughter of a now-deceased senator who was instrumental in passing the Civil Rights Act, has grown up to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer in New York City, despite having witnessed, as a child, her father's accidental killing of his black secretary's husband. She decides to write a biography of her father, determined to include everything she knows, but sets off a firestorm when she contacts the secretary's daughter, Nola Emory, to corroborate the facts. Her own mother, Cordelia Truscott, tries to stop her from writing the truth since she is raising funds for a library memorializing the senator and fears the book will adversely affect donations. At the same time, Grace is struggling to resolve an amorous relationship with her Jewish editor Jack Gold, a man 15 years her senior. Both Grace's son and Jack's daughter muck things up as often as possible—he by hinting that he may go live with his father, she by crankily refusing to be civil. The often-thwarted romance with Gold is sweet, but it is hard to swallow that a wildly successful and confident woman would be waiting wistfully for a marriage proposal. Descriptions of New York restaurants, name-dropping, and current references will date this book quickly, but the image of Norman Mailer performing a see-saw barrel act in a fundraiser circus is priceless. There are few surprises here, and a number of stereotypes, but Goudge compensates by moving along at a snappy pace. (First printing of 150,000; Book-of-the-Month Club main selection; $150,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: June 13, 1994

ISBN: 0-670-84961-8

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1994

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

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

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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HONEST ILLUSIONS

Suspenseful, glamorous story of love, blackmail, and magic, set in New Orleans and Washington, D.C., about a family of high-class magicians practicing the time-honored profession of thievery. When magician Maxmillian Nouvelle adopts the 12-year-old runaway Luke Callahan, he gives him more than a family: He teaches him the secrets of blending what's real and what's not...giving people what they want—and also taking what they value. For the Great Nouvelle is a master jewel-thief; stealing from the undeserving rich warms his blood like the anticipation of good sex, a passion that both Luke and Max's bratty daughter Raxanne eventually share. Thirteen years pass: As Luke practices the fine arts of larceny and escapology, Roxanne grows into a flame-haired witch who turns bell, book, and candle into smoke onstage. Offstage, she trades in her David Cassidy poster for Luke; together, they set off sparks that could make an innocent bystander..go up in flames. But Luke's invincibility, like the Great Houdini's, is deceptive: Slimy Sam Wyatt—a former grifter now running for the Senate—slithers in from Luke's past, his frigid heart full of contempt for the family he once tried to seam. He threatens to frame Luke for murder and expose the Nouvelles' after-hours show unless he disappears. Five years later, a homesick Luke reappears, determined to show the disillusioned Roxanne that he's more than smoke and mirrors. Together, they set out to plot vengeance, staking everything on their most daring sting to date. True to the magician's oath, Roberts reveals no secrets, but the illusion works—in a compelling and detail-rich first hardcover. Good escape reading.

Pub Date: July 17, 1992

ISBN: 0-399-13761-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1992

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