An engaging love story, historically captivating and romantically gripping.

THE NUN'S BETROTHAL

In this romance set in France in the early ninth century, an inexperienced nun and a sophisticated aristocrat wrestle with their mutual attraction.

Gilda and Lord Justin seem an unlikely, if simply impossible, pair—he’s a “worldly man” and she’s romantically naive, a nun who’s lived the bulk of her short life in a convent. She’s set to soon take her final vows. Nevertheless, despite their constant bickering, the connection between the two is an electric one, a truth Gilda cannot deny following their first kiss, tantalizingly described by Curtis: “There was a melting inside me. I forgot everything but my desire to continue the kiss. I wanted to get closer, but Justin pulled away.” They’re forced to grapple with their unresolved feelings when King Louis pairs them on a delicate, important mission: try to repair the rift that suddenly opened up between Count Cedric and his recently betrothed, Lady Mariel. Count Cedric sent his brother, Phillip, to represent him at the wedding ceremony, and now Lady Mariel claims she was deceptively led to believe that he’s her true husband. Now, she refuses to consummate the marriage, and Count Cedric looks to annul it, a thorny situation because King Louis is such an ardent advocate of matrimony. The author skillfully combines a love story with one more sinister—Lady Mariel has reasons to believe that her husband is so fixated on ending their marriage that her life is in danger as a result. Curtis paints a historically authentic tableau of the period in France, deftly explaining the religious and cultural context of the plot without didactic commentary. It is refreshing to see a tale achieve such titillating, erotic heights without resorting to a more unabashed, not to say lurid, style, a sign of the author’s novelistic subtlety.

An engaging love story, historically captivating and romantically gripping.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63152-685-5

Page Count: 248

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

The World War II Hollywood setting is colorful, but it’s just a B picture.

MERCURY PICTURES PRESENTS

An ambitious young Italian woman makes her way among the émigrés of 1930s and ’40s Hollywood.

Maria Lagana has come to Los Angeles after her father is sentenced to confino—internal exile—for his anti-fascist advocacy in Mussolini’s Italy. Living with her mother in the Italian American neighborhood of Lincoln Heights—also home to a trio of no-nonsense great-aunts forever dressed in black—Maria finds work as a typist at Mercury Pictures International, working in the office of studio head Artie Feldman, a fast-talking showman with a collection of toupées for every occasion. In time, the letters from her father stop, and Maria becomes an associate producer, Artie’s trusted right hand, as well as the secret lover of Eddie Lu, a Chinese American actor relegated to roles as Japanese villains. When a young Italian immigrant turns up at her door introducing himself as Vincent Cortese, Maria’s past—and the mystery of what happened to her father—crashes into her present. Like the author’s earlier novels, the award-winning A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (2013) and The Tsar of Love and Techno (2015), this one builds a discrete world and shows how its denizens are shaped—often warped—by circumstance. But the Hollywood setting feels overfamiliar and the characters curiously uninvolving. While the prose frequently sings, there are also ripely overwritten passages: At a party, the “thunking heels of lindy-hopping couples dimpled the boozy air”; fireworks are described as a “molten asterisk in the heavens to which the body on the ground is a footnote.”

The World War II Hollywood setting is colorful, but it’s just a B picture.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-451-49520-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Hogarth

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Ford raises fascinating questions, but a rushed ending too neatly ties up the answers in an unconvincing, sentimental bow.

THE MANY DAUGHTERS OF AFONG MOY

Covering 250 years, Ford’s new novel traces the way states of consciousness involving extreme moments of pain or joy interconnect seven generations of Chinese women.

Embedded images—airplanes, ships, waves—and the occasional ghostly vision highlight how these women’s lives reverberate as the focus moves back and forth in time. In 1942 China, Faye Moy, a nurse in her 50s who’s working with American forces, feels an eerie connection to a dying young pilot in whose pocket she finds a newspaper photograph of herself as a teenager and a note in her own handwriting that says, “FIND ME.” Finding oneself and/or one’s soul mate becomes the throughline of the book. Faye’s great-grandmother Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman in America, dies in childbirth after a short career being exhibited as a curiosity in the 1830s. Faye’s mother, Lai King (Afong’s granddaughter), sails to Canton after her parents’ deaths in San Francisco’s Chinatown fire of 1892. Onboard ship she bonds with a young White boy, also an orphan, and nurses him when contagion strikes. When Faye is 14, she has an illegitimate daughter who is adopted and raised in England. Presumably that girl is Zoe Moy, who, in 1927, attends the famously progressive Summerhill School, where a disastrous social experiment in fascism destroys her relationship with a beloved poetry teacher. In 2014, Zoe’s emotionally fragile granddaughter, Greta, loses both her skyrocketing tech career and the love of her life at the hands of an evil capitalist. While several earlier Moys receive aid and guidance from Buddhist monks, Greta’s troubled poet daughter, Dorothy, turns to both Buddhism and radical scientific treatment to uncover and understand how past crises, emotional, physical, and spiritual, are destabilizing her current life in 2045. Expect long treatises on anamnesis, quantum biology, and reincarnation before traveling with Dorothy’s adult daughter in 2086.

Ford raises fascinating questions, but a rushed ending too neatly ties up the answers in an unconvincing, sentimental bow.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-9821-5821-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more