A delightful historical romance featuring a new family of nonconformists to fall in love with.

THE DUKE HEIST

From the Wild Wynchesters series , Vol. 1

A young lady attempts to steal a painting but finds she’s nabbed a duke instead.

Most young women trying to sneak into Regency society long to be seen, but Chloe Wynchester is the opposite: She strives to be invisible. She and her siblings, an eclectic group of six orphans adopted by the late Baron Vanderbean, use their unique talents “doing good works beneath people’s noses.” Though most of their missions are altruistic, her latest aim is personal: to liberate a painting that was significant to Bean and is precious to his adopted brood, stolen from them by Lawrence Gosling’s father, the previous Duke of Faircliffe, who had sold it to Bean years ago because he needed the money. She hatches an elaborate plan to steal it back, but the plot is upended when she accidentally kidnaps the duke instead. The timing couldn’t be worse, from Lawrence’s perspective, as he’s sacrificed nearly everything he has to rebuild his family’s reputation and is about to complete his task by proposing marriage to a woman with a large dowry. As his kidnapper, Chloe is all too visible to Lawrence, who assumes she’s a social climber. Needing some reason to keep seeing Lawrence as she searches for the still-missing painting, Chloe convinces him to give her lessons and help her find a wealthy suitor. The attraction between them grows with each lesson, especially when he learns that she’s an avid follower of Parliament and can match him argument for argument. Their first kiss leaves both certain of their chemistry, but Lawrence is still Chloe’s sworn enemy even if he doesn’t know it, and he’s also still set on restoring his dukedom, so even as they fall in love, both struggle to abandon what they’ve always believed and who they pretend to be. There are plenty of steamy scenes, but the emotional center of the book unfolds as Lawrence and Chloe come to care for each other and, for the first time, experience being seen and loved for who they truly are. Though slightly bogged down with exposition, the story is a charming introduction to a new series, and readers will look forward to seeing the next Wynchester meet their match.

A delightful historical romance featuring a new family of nonconformists to fall in love with.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1952-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

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CIRCE

A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch.

“Monsters are a boon for gods. Imagine all the prayers.” So says Circe, a sly, petulant, and finally commanding voice that narrates the entirety of Miller’s dazzling second novel. The writer returns to Homer, the wellspring that led her to an Orange Prize for The Song of Achilles (2012). This time, she dips into The Odyssey for the legend of Circe, a nymph who turns Odysseus’ crew of men into pigs. The novel, with its distinctive feminist tang, starts with the sentence: “When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.” Readers will relish following the puzzle of this unpromising daughter of the sun god Helios and his wife, Perse, who had negligible use for their child. It takes banishment to the island Aeaea for Circe to sense her calling as a sorceress: “I will not be like a bird bred in a cage, I thought, too dull to fly even when the door stands open. I stepped into those woods and my life began.” This lonely, scorned figure learns herbs and potions, surrounds herself with lions, and, in a heart-stopping chapter, outwits the monster Scylla to propel Daedalus and his boat to safety. She makes lovers of Hermes and then two mortal men. She midwifes the birth of the Minotaur on Crete and performs her own C-section. And as she grows in power, she muses that “not even Odysseus could talk his way past [her] witchcraft. He had talked his way past the witch instead.” Circe’s fascination with mortals becomes the book’s marrow and delivers its thrilling ending. All the while, the supernatural sits intriguingly alongside “the tonic of ordinary things.” A few passages coil toward melodrama, and one inelegant line after a rape seems jarringly modern, but the spell holds fast. Expect Miller’s readership to mushroom like one of Circe’s spells.

Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-55634-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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An exhilarating ride through Americana.

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THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY

Newly released from a work farm in 1950s Kansas, where he served 18 months for involuntary manslaughter, 18-year-old Emmett Watson hits the road with his little brother, Billy, following the death of their father and the foreclosure of their Nebraska farm.

They leave to escape angry townspeople who believe Emmett got off easy, having caused the fatal fall of a taunting local boy by punching him in the nose. The whip-smart Billy, who exhibits OCD–like symptoms, convinces Emmett to drive them to San Francisco to reunite with their mother, who left town eight years ago. He insists she's there, based on postcards she sent before completely disappearing from their lives. But when Emmett's prized red Studebaker is "borrowed" by two rambunctious, New York–bound escapees from the juvie facility he just left, Emmett takes after them via freight train with Billy in tow. Billy befriends a Black veteran named Ulysses who's been riding the rails nonstop since returning home from World War II to find his wife and baby boy gone. A modern picaresque with a host of characters, competing points of view, wandering narratives, and teasing chapter endings, Towles' third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow (2016). You can quibble with one or two plot turns, but there's no resisting moments such as Billy's encounter, high up in the Empire State Building in the middle of the night, with professor Abacus Abernathe, whose Compendium of Heroes, Adventurers, and Other Intrepid Travelers he's read 24 times. A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, Towles' novel is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history.

An exhilarating ride through Americana.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-73-522235-9

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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