Flabby, meandering and emotionally vacuous.



Second wife gets short shrift in Buchan’s sequel to Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman (2003).

Seven years have passed since Minty stole Nathan, chief exec of a London media firm, from his first wife Rose. She now has everything Rose had—a lively brood (six-year-old twins Lucas and Felix) and Rose’s beloved home and now neglected garden. In Revenge, Rose’s loss of Nathan was immediately followed by the loss of her job at Vistemax, where she was supplanted by her assistant and former confidante, 29-year-old Minty. But marriage to Nathan is far from, er, rosy. Minty has never felt accepted by her husband’s friends. His adult children, Poppy and Sam, alternately manipulate and marginalize her. Poppy racks up Internet poker debt and Minty strives to do damage control before daughter hits Dad up for funds. Sam has a career opportunity in Texas but his wife won’t leave the U.K. Minty, snooping in Nathan’s diary, finds regretful musings. Despite Nathan’s new lease on life, he’s grown taciturn and cranky. Though visibly unwell, he refuses to see a doctor. Meanwhile, he resists Minty’s desire to work full-time at her TV production job. At Vistemax, Nathan’s malaise leaves him open to a palace coup. Rose is annoyingly self-possessed and well-dressed for a dumped, 50-ish ex-wife, and Minty is paranoid about Nathan’s nostalgia for his old life. Nathan drops dead of a heart attack while visiting Rose—he sought her out after being downsized—while Minty is left to sort out her less-than-optimal inheritance and balance her increasingly precarious position at work with single motherhood. Rose keeps cropping up like a sleekly groomed Marley’s ghost. Two girlfriends with marital breakdown and fidelity issues are dropped into the plot, adding little except padding. Weighed down by so much poetic justice, Minty garners no reader identification. Buchan seems mainly intent on continuing Rose’s revenge. Nathan is a cipher and what either woman saw in him remains a mystery.

Flabby, meandering and emotionally vacuous.

Pub Date: July 24, 2006

ISBN: 0-670-03488-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2006

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Another success for the publishing phenom.


An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 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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