A gripping, complicated novel of tense interracial romance.




A prison correspondence program brings together two unlikely souls.

When, out of loneliness and perhaps a bit of misplaced idealism, Kathryn Rose Andreassen signs up for the Inmate Pen Pal Program at Capshaw prison in Alabama, her best friend warns her against such an apparent act of folly and desperation. But her decision seems to be vindicated when, writing as “Kris,” she increasingly begins to enjoy the letters she gets from an inmate named Scott Logan, who confesses up front that he’s guilty of the robbery and assault for which he’s serving his sentence and seems entirely honest and open with her. The beginning of Iverson’s winning novel about the relationship that forms between these two is conducted mainly through the letters themselves, but readers gradually learn the two major factors complicating any potential romance between Scott and Katie: she’s black (to Scott’s surprise), and he’s not only white, but a racist who, mainly due to the violence of his past, harbors a great deal of anger and resentment against black people (scenes of his background as well as his daily grim reality in prison are grippingly portrayed). When Scott is released early due to a combination of good behavior and prison overpopulation, he and Katie decide to try forming a relationship. Iverson smoothly handles the personal elements of her story with skill. Katie and especially Scott are drawn with pleasing complexity, and the cast of supporting characters—particularly Katie’s sassy best friend, Teal, and Katie’s formidable prison warden father—are fleshed out well. The narrative builds to a climax that’s slightly pat (Scott’s racism turns out to be the kind that’s relatively easily cured), but the portrait of two lonely people taking serious chances to connect with someone else is sensitively rendered, and Iverson’s ear for dialogue is very good. The societal prejudices Scott and Katie face—both toward ex-convicts and mixed-race couples—are unflinchingly dramatized, which makes the book’s concluding chapters all the more satisfying.

A gripping, complicated novel of tense interracial romance.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500798000

Page Count: 342

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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Another success for the publishing phenom.


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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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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