Not a page turner but still a satisfying, descriptive presentation of locations and complex personalities.

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THE KNIGHTS CAME RIDING

An open, sensitive story about a robust, life-loving father and his adult son, Nicolson’s third novel takes the reader on a journey of discovery.

Two-time widower Seumas McKinnon is the story’s anchor, a man who must untether himself from his son, Alasdair, who has had all the blessings of life handed to him. Seeking the solace of the Isle of Skye in Scotland, Seumas embarks on a quest to re-discover his roots and learn a bit of Gaelic. While there, he meets Morag, a lovely middle-aged “copper-haired” woman who works in a local coffee shop. Slow to trust men after a failed relationship, Morag gradually develops a deep and loving connection with Seumas. The book’s parallel storylines also explore Alasdair’s changing life. A playboy lawyer with striking good looks, Alasdair finally meets his match in beautiful Annie O’Hare, a physiotherapist with roots in Hong Kong. At first, Annie and Alasdair treat their relationship with casual abandon—no strings, no expectations.  But Annie is unlike other women. She spars with, challenges and draws the best out of Alasdair. Fascinated by each other, the two move their relationship to the next level as they both slowly recognize the love they share for each other. Nicolson uses their romance to contrast a number of relationships in this story. For example, Seumas’ neighbor has an antagonistic marriage that makes Seumas appreciate his connection with Morag, a relationship that finally helps him overcome the guilt of remarrying when his first two wives were taken from him. The story drags a bit toward the center, with often predictable plotlines and not enough conflict or surprise. But the pace accelerates as both father and son move toward their destined relationships. Things really pick up when a nearly fatal accident challenges both the father-son bond and Annie and Alasdair’s love.

Not a page turner but still a satisfying, descriptive presentation of locations and complex personalities. 

Pub Date: July 19, 2012

ISBN: 978-1475938043

Page Count: 300

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2012

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A standard but satisfying twin-swap tale with a sweet love story at its center.

THE DUPLICATE BRIDE

In Baird’s romance novel, a young woman agrees to impersonate her twin sister but finds herself falling for her sibling’s fiance in the process.

Jackie Webb begs her identical-twin sister, Hope, to fly from North Carolina to Maine and pretend to be her. Jackie is scheduled to visit her fiance Brent Albright’s family, mere days before their wedding. She’s a wedding planner herself, unexpectedly forced to work during the scheduled visit—and she fears that if she doesn’t show up in New England as planned, her strained relations with Brent’s family will grow worse. Hope agrees to go the Maine, just to help with wedding preparations, and she has every intention of truthfully identifying herself. But when Brent’s mother immediately mistakes her for Jackie, things quickly spiral out of control. After Brent’s grandmother greets her with disdain, Hope decides to continue the ruse to win over the family. Then she learns that Jackie’s upcoming marriage to Brent, who knows nothing of the trickery, is more of a business deal than a romance. She resolves to save her sister’s future by creating a true bond with him. But unlike Jackie, she’s relaxed and fun-loving, and Brent finds himself delighted to be falling in love with her. As Jackie’s delay grows longer, Hope finds herself falling under Brent’s spell, as well. This wholesome and romantic tale by Baird, the author of An Unforgettable Christmas (2019) and many other romances, is engaging throughout as she tells it from Hope’s and Brent’s perspectives. Although most readers are likely to guess many key plot developments before the end of the first chapter, they’ll still find it great fun to watch the events unfold. The author presents a diverse cast of characters who are as entertaining as they are endearing, as well as many evocative descriptions of the beautiful Maine countryside. Although this novel is a light read, it alludes to deeper issues of confidence, loss, independence, and trust that give it some unexpected heft.

A standard but satisfying twin-swap tale with a sweet love story at its center.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68281-522-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

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A classic plot plus Lauren's trademark snark and steam add up to a winning rom-com full of heart and holiday cheer.

IN A HOLIDAZE

A Christmas wish leads to a Christmas nightmare when one woman gets stuck reliving the holiday season, Groundhog Day style.

Things aren’t going as planned for Maelyn Jones. At the age of 26, she’s living with her mom and stepdad, she’s stuck in a dead-end job, and, perhaps most important, she just had an eggnog-filled holiday hookup with Theo Hollis, her family friend and the brother of her unrequited lifelong crush, Andrew Hollis. Maelyn’s spent years waiting for Andrew to notice her as more than a friend, but now she knows she’s screwed things up for good by kissing his brother. The only thing that’s going perfectly in her life is the lovely Park City cabin where her family, Theo and Andrew’s family, and her parents’ other college friends get together every Christmas. But then, on the last day of their vacation, Theo and Andrew’s parents announce that they’re selling the cabin. On the drive to the airport, Maelyn miserably wishes that she could find out what would make her happy…and suddenly, she’s back on the plane to the cabin, pre-Christmas, about to live the whole week over again. With another (and another and another) chance to make things right, will she be able to finally tell Andrew how she feels and discover real happiness? Lauren—the author team behind The Honey-Don’t List (2020) and countless other romantic comedies—is as reliable as ever with this cheery holiday outing. Down-on-her-luck Maelyn is a likable protagonist, and it’s easy to relate to her desire to fix her life (even if most readers don’t have the benefit of time travel). Her conversations with Andrew are adorably banter-filled, and her relationship with her parents’ friend Benny, an aging, wacky stoner, is sweetly charming.

A classic plot plus Lauren's trademark snark and steam add up to a winning rom-com full of heart and holiday cheer.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982123-94-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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