A refined and entertaining tale about one determined woman exploring both motherly and romantic love.

THE MONA LISA SISTERS

A young widow travels to Paris and ends up caring for two recently orphaned American girls in this historical novel.

Lura Grisham is born into wealth and privilege in the late 1800s in Connecticut, but her socio-economic status does not protect her from heartbreak. After marrying her father’s business associate Walter Myer, she conceives a child. But their happiness is cut short when the couple are involved in a carriage accident and Walter and the unborn baby are killed. During her mourning period, Lura decides to take the trip to Paris that she and Walter had always talked about. While sightseeing at the Louvre, Lura notices two young girls without adult supervision and learns that they have been abandoned by their father. With little forethought, Lura takes full responsibility for the children. As she tries to find their father, she meets Joseph Myer, the half brother of her dead husband. Walter had never known about this brother. With help from friends back home and a detective, Lura learns that the girls’ father was a mobster killed in France. She brings the girls back to the United States with the intent to adopt them. Unfortunately, she makes many mistakes while traveling, such as failing to alert the French authorities to their circumstances. As the story unfolds, Lura’s feelings toward Joseph grow complicated, and she also seems increasingly likely to lose custody of the girls. When a representative of the French government shows up at her home in Connecticut, Lura worries the girls may be lost to her forever. Told alternately from the perspectives of Lura and Joseph, Cramer’s novel is chock full of information about Paris, New York, and law enforcement in the late 19th century. With an action-packed plot, the book features several appearances by notable historical figure Louis Brandeis, who is a longtime friend of the main characters and helps with their legal troubles. The author deftly depicts the era’s American and European societal norms. Full of the period’s technological innovations, old-fashioned behavioral strictures, and elegant language, the work provides a perfect balance of mystery, romance, and history.

A refined and entertaining tale about one determined woman exploring both motherly and romantic love.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 301

Publisher: Russian Hill Press

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A warm and winning "When Harry Met Sally…" update that hits all the perfect notes.

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PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION

A travel writer has one last shot at reconnecting with the best friend she just might be in love with.

Poppy and Alex couldn't be more different. She loves wearing bright colors while he prefers khakis and a T-shirt. She likes just about everything while he’s a bit more discerning. And yet, their opposites-attract friendship works because they love each other…in a totally platonic way. Probably. Even though they have their own separate lives (Poppy lives in New York City and is a travel writer with a popular Instagram account; Alex is a high school teacher in their tiny Ohio hometown), they still manage to get together each summer for one fabulous vacation. They grow closer every year, but Poppy doesn’t let herself linger on her feelings for Alex—she doesn’t want to ruin their friendship or the way she can be fully herself with him. They continue to date other people, even bringing their serious partners on their summer vacations…but then, after a falling-out, they stop speaking. When Poppy finds herself facing a serious bout of ennui, unhappy with her glamorous job and the life she’s been dreaming of forever, she thinks back to the last time she was truly happy: her last vacation with Alex. And so, though they haven’t spoken in two years, she asks him to take another vacation with her. She’s determined to bridge the gap that’s formed between them and become best friends again, but to do that, she’ll have to be honest with Alex—and herself—about her true feelings. In chapters that jump around in time, Henry shows readers the progression (and dissolution) of Poppy and Alex’s friendship. Their slow-burn love story hits on beloved romance tropes (such as there unexpectedly being only one bed on the reconciliation trip Poppy plans) while still feeling entirely fresh. Henry’s biggest strength is in the sparkling, often laugh-out-loud-funny dialogue, particularly the banter-filled conversations between Poppy and Alex. But there’s depth to the story, too—Poppy’s feeling of dissatisfaction with a life that should be making her happy as well as her unresolved feelings toward the difficult parts of her childhood make her a sympathetic and relatable character. The end result is a story that pays homage to classic romantic comedies while having a point of view all its own.

A warm and winning "When Harry Met Sally…" update that hits all the perfect notes.

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0675-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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