A slight story indeed, filled with pious twittering about the joys and responsibilities of Christian marriage. And that’s...

A COMMON LIFE

THE WEDDING STORY

Father Timothy Kavanagh is about to marry his winsome neighbor Cynthia Coppersmith, and all of Mitford (A New Song, 1999, etc.) is abuzz. Such goings-on! So many exclamation points!

Emma Newland, Father Timothy’s long-suffering secretary at the Chapel of our Lord and Savior, still isn’t quite sure she approves of his late-in-life romance, but she’ll do anything for the man. As will Puny Guthrie, his housekeeper, an energetic country woman who’s equally devoted to him. So much to do! Hessie Mayhew, the busiest of the bees, swipes flowers to decorate the church and altar—with the tacit permission of the understanding townsfolk. Why, they weren’t going to use those masses of hydrangeas anyway! Should Miss Sadie’s bosom friend Louella wear lavender or blue? Should Esther Bolick add buttercream roses to the top of her famous orange marmalade tiered cake? Will Dooley Barlowe, the father’s troubled ward, sing clear and true, or will his adolescent voice crack? Author Karon stirs up a tempest in a very tiny teapot for this joyous occasion as the lion and the lamb, the Presbyterian and Episcopalian, join hands, paws, whatever, to ensure that the great day goes off without a hitch. But when the pews fill and all await the blushing bride—she doesn’t show. What can the matter be? Father Tim dashes home to find Cynthia accidentally locked in the bedroom. In a jiffy, he pops the fallen doorknob back in, frees her, and off they go, scurrying madly to get to the church on time, strewing hair curlers like rose petals along their path. And the ceremony begins . . . .

A slight story indeed, filled with pious twittering about the joys and responsibilities of Christian marriage. And that’s not all. Pages and pages are devoted to effusive prayers, hymns, even a word-for-word replay of the wedding ceremony. Not exactly a mainstream book, but fans of the Mitford series won’t mind.

Pub Date: April 16, 2001

ISBN: 0-670-89437-0

Page Count: 186

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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PRIVATE SCANDALS

A scheming rival and an obsessive fan convince a TV star that she's a long way from Kansas—in more sudsy romantic suspense from Roberts (Honest Illusions, 1992). Deanna Reynolds and Angela Perkins are both smart, talented, attractive, and ambitious. The big difference between the two talk- show hosts is that Angela is an attention-hungry woman desperate to maintain her fading charms and worshipful audience at all costs, while Dee maintains her Midwestern values even as her Chicago-based show makes her a star and threatens Angela's in New York. Angela, who was once Dee's mentor, has never forgiven the younger woman for turning down her offer to come to New York with her. Even less forgivable is Dee's romance with Finn Riley, a footloose foreign correspondent and once Angela's lover. Finn, who coolly calls in exclusives from a crash-landing 747, shrugs off a bullet wound while he broadcasts live during a shootout, and indisputably earns the nickname "Desert Hunk" during the Gulf War, finds his match in the unbelievably beautiful, desirable, and sweet Deanna. While the two make seismic love on any available surface and Angela plots Dee's downfall in the ratings, a secret admirer (whose identity is more obvious than the author must have intended) writes her love notes. Then, one by one, he begins to kill off all the people who have hurt or betrayed her—and attempts to realize his insane dream of making Deanna entirely his own. A sexy hero whose no-nonsense presence cuts through the vapors and cattiness of the womenfolk and a convincing behind-the-scenes look at TV—both help make up for the weak humor, implausible plot, and trite glitz of this predictable novel.

Pub Date: July 1, 1993

ISBN: 0425190382

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

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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