Fans of quiet memoir and romance may appreciate this woman’s benign, unhurried passage through life.

AS SNOW FALLS

A view of snow falling across distant mountains and valleys frames this somewhat distant, fictional memoir of an elderly woman’s ordinary life.

Author Klass’ debut novel zooms in on a mountain cabin and its unremarkable furnishings, eventually revealing the main character—we never learn her name—who ends each chapter by watching the snow fall outside her window. This conceit will resound by the story’s end, but it occasionally grows a little tiresome along the way. The close focus of the opening chapter continues as the woman’s earliest impressions from infancy are revealed, but these details soon stall an already slow-paced storyline. Since the protagonist’s life is told with little action or dialogue, it’s difficult to become emotionally invested. The unnamed character moves through an uneventful childhood and early adulthood. She wanders the country, and a brief travelogue ensues, but it reveals little other than her unabated ennui. The protagonist then reunites with her first love. Marriage, children and the universal events of aging fill the pages, and a theme of family connections gradually develops. Despite her happy marriage, another past lover haunts her. On hearing about his death, she realizes that his love had influenced her decisions “beyond his grave”—an insightful commentary on the nature of lost love. Both a hurricane and an earthquake affect the woman’s life, but readers don’t experience either event; they’re simply told about them. Certain snatches of description stand out: “Her eyes were the color of steel wool and just as coarse; they could scratch and scar the soul of anybody.” In the final third of the book, when she discovers an unopened package that sparks her curiosity, this character’s flat arc begins to bend, and the package’s revelation works to create a poignant climax to her life story.

Fans of quiet memoir and romance may appreciate this woman’s benign, unhurried passage through life.

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1482779707

Page Count: 288

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2014

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

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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HOMEPORT

To her usual mix of love, mystery, and passion, Roberts (Sanctuary, 1997, etc.)—author of 115 romancers in some 17 years—adds Renaissance art and a decidedly Medici-like family: the Joneses of Maine. Dr. Miranda Jones, nearly six feet with flaming red hair and a glacial reserve, is an archeometrist who specializes in the analyzing and dating of Renaissance bronze sculpture. Miranda hopes to secure a world-class reputation for herself by authenticating a 15th-century statue of the Dark Lady, one of the mistresses of Lorenzo the Magnificent, as the undiscovered work of a young Michelangelo. Miranda's mother, Dr. Elizabeth Standford-Jones, the emotionally remote director of the Standjo art lab in Florence, has summoned her daughter from the family's Victorian cliffside home in Jones Point, Maine, to test the statue. Meanwhile, Miranda's father, equally remote, is an archaeologist who spends more time at his digs than at home. In fact, no one in the Jones family has made a successful run at marriage, a failure that Miranda and her alcoholic brother Andrew call the Jones curse. As for the statue, when it's discovered to be a fake, Miranda sets out to prove that someone stole the original. In this she's helped by gorgeous art thief Ryan Boldari (half-Italian, half-Irish), who's come to Jones Point to steal yet another bronze, which also turns out to be a forgery. Ryan's plan had been to use Miranda as a pawn, but now, naturally, he finds himself falling hard for her. While the two search for bronzes, a standard-issue romance-novel psychotic is stalking them. Most readers will twig to the killer's identity: Here, as always, Roberts's sexual tension is more compelling than her suspense. Perhaps it's time to take a sabbatical from the pink sweatshop and turn her considerable wit and narrative skills to a more original piece of work.

Pub Date: March 23, 1998

ISBN: 0-399-14387-4

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1998

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