Dickey ably straddles a fine line, offering light entertainment coupled with strong people making hard choices.

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BETWEEN LOVERS

Broken hearts, a ménage à trois, and wry humor find their way into this sexy new story from the popular Dickey (Liar’s Game, 2000, etc.).

The unnamed narrator of this hip cautionary tale is still in love with Nicole, regardless that she literally left him at the altar, moved to Oakland from their home in L.A., and is now involved with a woman named Ayanna. But he won't give up on their seven-year relationship, believing this lesbian stuff is just a phase. A popular novelist on the road for lectures and book signings, he flies up every few weeks to visit. During one stopover, Nicole announces that she's worked out a plan to accommodate both her lovers and herself—though mostly herself. She asks the narrator to move to Oakland and get to know Ayanna, insisting that she loves both and can't choose between them. The story’s action takes place during the few days of this visit, exploring the emotional anguish felt by the narrator and Ayanna, who both attempt to acquiesce to Nicole’s wishes but understandably want her all to themselves. When the three spend an intimate night together, with the narrator and Nicole giving it their sexual all to impress, Nicole—not surprisingly—is the only one satisfied with the arrangement. Meanwhile, the parents of these successful, 30-ish African-Americans throw in their two cents. The narrator's father, a prominent civil rights figure, is disappointed that his son is frittering away his talent on popular fiction. Nicole's mother comes to visit, damning her daughter to hell until she changes her deviant ways. It becomes apparent that only sacrifice from the truest heart can free the protagonists from the emotional hell they've created. Steamy sex scenes and pop culture references aside, Dickey has created a thoughtful, albeit unusual, treatise on the lengths some will go to for love.

Dickey ably straddles a fine line, offering light entertainment coupled with strong people making hard choices.

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-525-94603-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

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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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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