A unique, winning romance that explores universal themes through an uncommon plot and eccentric characters, leading to a...

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THE UGLY DUCHESS

Though they love each other, a young heiress feels betrayed by her husband soon after the wedding and throws him out, sending them each on journeys of discovery that will impact their future in astonishing and potentially insurmountable ways. 

When the duke of Ashbrook convinces his son and heir, James, to cover up a crime by marrying the duke’s ward, the less-than-beautiful Theodora Saxby, they are all surprised by how well the match goes over. Until Theo learns the truth—that James doesn’t love her, but married her only for her dowry and to shelter the nobleman from censure. Except that isn’t the truth. James actually does love her, but under the circumstances, she’s not willing to listen and throws him out of his house and their marriage. Heartbroken and guilt-ridden, James takes to the high seas on a boat his father owns—and disappears. Seven years later, just as the House of Lords is prepared to declare James dead and Theo a widow, James shows up in dramatic fashion, and the two must reconnect as their older, worldlier selves and sift through years of distrust, misinformation and the sharp, sniping commentary on their persons and their history. Regency favorite James’ charming romantic take on an “Ugly Duckling” storyline offers intense emotional stakes and characters who have headed down unexpected paths which may ultimately stand as obstacles to their shared happiness. Spanning seven years, the story sees James and Theo move from close childhood friends who discover a special connection through marriage to two separately formidable, triumphant characters. But after such starkly disparate paths and some hard-earned emotional equilibrium, can the two manage to find their way back to each other and the wholeness they knew together? James deftly navigates emotionally complex characters and situations with a chronologically long yet fascinating storyline, maintaining interest and clarity in their separate adventures, while managing to intensify the romantic tension through their estrangement. 

A unique, winning romance that explores universal themes through an uncommon plot and eccentric characters, leading to a hard-won yet satisfying happily-ever-after.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-202173-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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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On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving...

THE BEST MAN

When Faith Holland was abandoned at the altar three years ago, she left her hometown for San Francisco to regroup; coming home to Manningsport, she’ll have to confront her past and Levi Cooper, the disturbingly handsome chief of police she blames for ruining her life.

On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving professional life and a comical romantic life. Summoned home for a few months to work the harvest at her family’s winery and help with some crisis management, Faith realizes that some things in her small town will never change—for the good or the bad—but she knows the time has come to establish a new reality with her ex, her family and maybe even Levi Cooper, the best man who forced Jeremy to be honest with her and himself on their wedding day. It’s so much easier to blame and despise him; if she lets down her guard, she might have to deal with their short but profound shared past and her own guilt and secrets from a long-ago tragedy that has haunted her for most of her life. Higgins’ newest heart-tugging romantic comedy juggles a spectrum of emotionally powerful elements, including the death of a mother, the abandonment of a father and a sigh-worthy high school romance gone awry. With her typical engaging voice, compelling storytelling and amusing dialogue, Higgins keeps the audience flipping through pages as quickly as possible, but it is her spot-on ability to make her characters at once funny, authentic and vulnerable—vulnerable to the point of breaking, so they can heal, stronger and better and more able to love—that is her true genius and guarantees most romance fans will both laugh out loud and get teary, sometimes at the same time. Another sweet, touching must-read for Higgins fans and anyone who enjoys a perfect combination of humor and romance.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-373-77792-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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