A fast-paced and engaging historical and romantic fantasy with strong protagonists.


A 17th-century Scottish highlander finds romance and intrigue after traveling to present-day Las Vegas.

In February 1692, the hospitality of Braeden MacDonald’s clan, the MacDonalds of Glencoe, is betrayed by a man named Robert Campbell. Braeden’s grandmother hands him a pocket watch and tells him to think of his mother and wish to travel to the meadows. After wishing on the watch, Braeden finds himself in an unfamiliar place. He is greeted by Tessa McTavish, who believes he is interviewing for a security job at her family’s Albannach Resort Hotel and Casino. She takes him to her father, John, who tells him he is in Las Vegas in the year 2016. John knows about the watch and offers to help him in exchange for protecting Tessa. John doesn’t trust Tessa’s fiance, Danny Madden. Despite her misgivings, Tessa is attracted to the ruggedly handsome Braeden and the feeling is mutual. It soon becomes apparent that John’s concerns are justified. When Danny mysteriously dies after breaking off the engagement and an employee disappears after witnessing a theft, Tessa and Braeden begin to suspect the connection is the ancestor of an enemy from Braeden’s past. Vale’s (A Turn in Time, 2015, etc.) latest novel is an enjoyable romantic fantasy highlighted by likable protagonists and clever flourishes of magic and historical detail. The brief but effective opening chapter sets the stage for the Glencoe Massacre and Braeden’s grandmother’s urgent effort to save him by giving him the watch. The contrast between Braeden’s 17th-century Scotland and Tessa’s 21st-century Las Vegas is striking, and Vale captures the humor in the highlander’s attempts to navigate his new surroundings, from riding in an elevator to dining in a fine restaurant. Tessa is a strong and resourceful romantic foil for Braeden. Their relationship unfolds gradually as she struggles with a fiance whose intentions seem insincere. The leads are bolstered by a strong supporting cast of characters, including Niall Campbell, a charismatic magician who seems to know a lot about Braeden’s clan and the watch.

A fast-paced and engaging historical and romantic fantasy with strong protagonists.

Pub Date: June 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9970064-5-2

Page Count: 178

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...


Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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