An entertaining mix of romance and courtroom drama with a pair of sympathetic lead characters at its core.

SWEET DREAMS

In Monk Potter’s debut novel, a romance between an anesthetist and a registered nurse is tested by a wrongful death suit and allegations of child abuse.

Grace Kimball, a nurse and the mother of two sons, has faced more than her share of struggles in her life. During a long, traumatic marriage to an abusive alcoholic, she fought a difficult battle with breast cancer. Now divorced and raising her two sons, Ryan and Michael, as a single mother, Grace carries the emotional scars of her marriage and the physical scars of her mastectomy. She has no interest in dating, until she meets a man who changes everything. Paul Allen “Dakota” Kohler, Grace’s co-worker at St. Erik’s Hospital, overcame a difficult childhood to become a successful anesthetist, and, like Grace, he’s haunted by the memory of an unhappy marriage. He’s had a crush on Grace for a long time, but his personal struggle with erectile dysfunction has kept him from asking her out. Grace and Dakota’s platonic friendship gradually develops into a more serious affair that promises to heal their respective wounds. However, their relationship and their careers are soon threatened when an orderly, Molly Shontell, dies following a routine medical procedure, and later, Ryan accuses Dakota of striking him. Monk Potter successfully develops a compelling relationship between two believable characters and treats Grace’s and Dakota’s challenges with compassion and dignity. Although the story’s primary focus is on the romance, two significant subplots add substance and introduce a rich supporting cast of characters. The author creates a complex dynamic between Grace’s sons and Dakota, highlighting the issues that a single parent faces when bringing a new partner into the family. The tension between Dakota and Ryan is realistic, with believable repercussions. Even Molly, who only appears in a few brief scenes, is an intriguing character, and her untimely death leads to an engaging legal battle.

An entertaining mix of romance and courtroom drama with a pair of sympathetic lead characters at its core.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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