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MIDNIGHT PLEASURES

Sensual for a Regency, and genuinely fun.

Lady Sophie York is set to elope—but with whom?

Sophie has no way of knowing that her fiancé, a dull but dependable nobleman, has injured his leg and can’t get up the obligatory ladder. Under cover of darkness and in disguise, he’s sent his best friend Patrick Foakes (younger twin brother of Alex Foakes, the hero of Potent Pleasures, 1999) in his stead to fetch her. Adventurous to a fault, the rakish and handsome Patrick ascends—but doesn't come back down. After all, Sophie is astonishingly beautiful, and one taste of her sweet lips makes him claim a second, bringing a change of heart to the befuddled Sophie. While waiting at the window, in fact, she’d been thinking it over and had decided not to elope with Braddon Chatwin, Earl of Slaslow. So Patrick seizes this golden chance to bed her—and, several weeks later, to wed her. Sophie’s French maman is furious. How could her only child spurn the Earl of Slaslow for a mere Honourable like Patrick? Well, her headstrong daughter has advanced ideas about love, and worse, an excellent education, which should prove useful when she and Patrick (just to make amends) scheme to fool the town by turning a pretty wench the jilted earl fancies into a semblance of a lady. And her education will prove even more useful when Sophie takes up the study of Turkish, hoping to accompany Patrick, an envoy for the Crown, to Turkey, where he must persuade the eccentric Sultan to become England’s ally against Napoleon. The story weakens as Sophie encounters a pair of villains masquerading as Turks, who threaten the rather silly Sultan with an exploding inkwell. The intrepid and intelligent Sophie, of course, saves the day, and Patrick falls in love with her all over again by the end of this lively and vividly written tale.

Sensual for a Regency, and genuinely fun.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2000

ISBN: 0-385-33361-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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A LITTLE LIFE

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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FIREFLY LANE

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...

Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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