Uneasy mix of escapism and medical soap opera.

THE BLUE BISTRO

Another Nantucket beach read from Hildebrand (Nantucket Nights, 2001), this one set in a fabulous ocean-side restaurant where the heroine’s frothy romance competes with the specter of cystic fibrosis.

Adrienne Dealey arrives in Nantucket from Aspen, having drifted from one resort hotel job to another for the last eight years. Despite a complete lack of restaurant experience, debonair Thatcher Smith immediately hires her as his assistant manager at the eponymous Blue Bistro, which he owns with chef Fiona Kemp and which will shut its doors for good after this final summer season. Adrienne moves in with a friendly waitress, buys some new hostess outfits and proves a fast learner of the ins and outs of the restaurant business, her success aided by her natural good looks. Hildebrand introduces lots of mouthwatering food and keeps the champagne flowing for the not terribly colorful cast of customers and staff—the unhappy married couple, the studly bartender, the lonely rich guy, the ambitious pastry chef. The inevitable romance between Adrienne and Thatch is complicated by Thatch’s devotion to Fiona, with whom he eats dinner every night after the restaurant closes. And, frankly, in a charisma contest, Fiona in her apron would win over Adrienne in her designer frocks hands down. A graduate of the Culinary Institute, petite, fierce-eyed Fiona is a brilliant chef who could be a star on the Cooking Channel, but she avoids all publicity and never leaves her kitchen. Gradually, Adrienne realizes that Fiona is sick, a secret that must be kept so that diners aren’t frightened away. As the summer winds down, Adrienne and Thatch find themselves deeply in love, but Thatch’s devotion to the devoutly Catholic Fiona, who has her own married lover, never waivers, and he marries her in a hospital ceremony just before her death. Not to worry: now he’s an available widower.

Uneasy mix of escapism and medical soap opera.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-312-31953-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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