Will appeal to readers looking for complex family dramas and sumptuous descriptions of food and cooking.

ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED

A Toronto woman joins forces with her handsome neighbor to win a scholarship to culinary school.

Reena Manji’s strong circle of friends and her cooking and baking projects keep her happy despite her lackluster finance job. However, being 31 and having a dozen failed relationships behind her means that her loving but overbearing parents have stepped up their efforts to find her the perfect Muslim husband. Their newest prospect is Nadim Remtulla. He grew up in Dar es Salaam, attended boarding school in England, and now he’s in Toronto working on a real estate deal important to both of their families. Reena can afford her city apartment since her father owns the building, and he offered Nadim an apartment next to hers, hoping to throw them together. Reena has artfully dodged all of her family’s previous matchmaking attempts, but Nadim proves impossible to resist. He’s charming and attractive, but most importantly he agrees to be her partner in a local cooking contest. If Reena wins, she can attend culinary school and leave her boring finance job behind. Heron writes a compelling story of a woman trying to balance personal fulfillment against the intense pressures of familial duty and cultural expectations. Reena’s relationships with her father, mother, and sister are filled with past hurts and secrets, creating a realistically thorny and complex family dynamic. Although Reena makes progress in understanding her place in the family, the solutions are not pat and easy. Nadim is not a point-of-view character and not as well developed; Reena’s personal journey is the main focus of the novel.

Will appeal to readers looking for complex family dramas and sumptuous descriptions of food and cooking.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5387-3498-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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A light, low-conflict Georgian romance.

THE SPINSTER AND THE RAKE

In Devon’s historical romance novel, a bold English countrywoman meets a duke with a secret.

It’s 1795, and Edward Stanhope, the Duke of Thornfield, is beset by a house party full of young ladies vying for the unmarried man’s attention. In frustration, he retires to his private library, where he finds yet another woman—Miss Georgiana Bly, regarded by many of her peers as a plain country spinster. He asks her to leave, but she defies him, not realizing that he’s the duke; to force her to go, he threatens to kiss her. However, she calls his bluff, which sets in motion a series of events that ends with them engaged. Georgiana has little experience in posh society, so Edward and his aunt go about training her in the proper ways of being a duchess. At the same time, she takes it upon herself to train the cold and sometimes socially awkward duke to be warmer and more easygoing. The couple quickly find that they share a love of literature, but Edward seems incapable of providing the emotional intimacy that Georgiana craves. Edward finally confesses that he’s always felt that his mind works differently than others’—readers may interpret his description to mean that he has an anxiety disorder or is on the autism spectrum, although this is never specified—and he worries if he’ll inadvertently drive Georgiana away. Then Georgiana’s father becomes embroiled in a scandal that could undo everything. Devon, the author of The Wallflower’s Wild Wedding (2021), effectively drops hints about Edward’s secret from the very first pages. However, he’s far from a rakish character, despite the novel’s title, as he dislikes all but a very small circle of people. Georgiana is an enjoyable heroine who’s well versed in politics and literature and a quick study when it comes to the rules of society, even as she flouts the ones that she thinks are silly. Overall, the novel is rather short on conflict, and the action often pauses at length so that the characters may have long conversations about William Shakespeare or Parliament. Still, the characters are a lively, well-realized group.

A light, low-conflict Georgian romance.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68281-613-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: tomorrow

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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