A new voice in historical romance that will keep readers riveted.

THE DUKE UNDONE

An alleyway meet-cute leads to a bargain struck between an aspiring artist and an infamous duke.

When Lucy Coover literally steps on a naked man lying unconscious in a Shoreditch alley, all she can do is find him some help before moving on—but the majestic Adonis refuses to leave her mind’s eye, and before she knows it she’s rendered his striking form on her canvas. Five months later, Anthony Philby, seventh Duke of Weston, is surprised by his own slumbering countenance looking back at him from a painting. Tracking down the mysterious L. Coover proves little difficulty, although Weston hadn't anticipated that the person who created such a scandalous depiction of him is actually a woman. But he has more than the issue of Lucy to contend with; he’s counting down the minutes until his 30th birthday, when his inheritance will be fully awarded. Staying scandal-free long enough to make it to that date is at the forefront of his priorities, but every second that Weston spends in Lucy’s company he finds himself more and more enchanted by the fiercely expressive painter. When the two strike a deal—she'll help locate his wayward sister, he'll rescue her aunt's shop from being condemned—their lives become inextricably entwined. Lowell’s prose is vivid and evocative, and issues such as class inequity, women’s rights, and alcohol addiction complement the intense on-page evolution of the love story. Some elements may be too neatly resolved, but those looking for a happy-ever-after for complex and passionate characters will be very satisfied here.

A new voice in historical romance that will keep readers riveted.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-19828-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as...

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THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ

An unlikely love story set amid the horrors of a Nazi death camp.

Based on real people and events, this debut novel follows Lale Sokolov, a young Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1942. There, he assumes the heinous task of tattooing incoming Jewish prisoners with the dehumanizing numbers their SS captors use to identify them. When the Tätowierer, as he is called, meets fellow prisoner Gita Furman, 17, he is immediately smitten. Eventually, the attraction becomes mutual. Lale proves himself an operator, at once cagey and courageous: As the Tätowierer, he is granted special privileges and manages to smuggle food to starving prisoners. Through female prisoners who catalog the belongings confiscated from fellow inmates, Lale gains access to jewels, which he trades to a pair of local villagers for chocolate, medicine, and other items. Meanwhile, despite overwhelming odds, Lale and Gita are able to meet privately from time to time and become lovers. In 1944, just ahead of the arrival of Russian troops, Lale and Gita separately leave the concentration camp and experience harrowingly close calls. Suffice it to say they both survive. To her credit, the author doesn’t flinch from describing the depravity of the SS in Auschwitz and the unimaginable suffering of their victims—no gauzy evasions here, as in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. She also manages to raise, if not really explore, some trickier issues—the guilt of those Jews, like the tattooist, who survived by doing the Nazis’ bidding, in a sense betraying their fellow Jews; and the complicity of those non-Jews, like the Slovaks in Lale’s hometown, who failed to come to the aid of their beleaguered countrymen.

The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as nonfiction. Still, this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279715-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A heartfelt but schematic wartime tear-jerker.

ETERNAL

Quite a change from Scottoline’s bestselling contemporary thrillers: an ambitious, deeply researched historical account of three Roman families caught in the meltdown of Fascist Italy.

May 1937 finds Alessandro Simone and Marco Terrizzi competing for the favors of Elisabetta D’Orfeo, an aspiring journalist and cat lover who waits tables at Casa Servano, the well-regarded Trastevere restaurant owned by Giuseppina Servano, widely known as Nonna. Since Sandro’s father, Massimo Simone, is a Jewish tax lawyer who strongly supports Mussolini and Marco’s father, Giuseppe Terrizzi, is a former cyclist who proudly styles himself a Fascist of the First Hour, there’s plenty of potential for ethnic, religious, and political conflicts both between and within the leading characters, and despite the widespread conviction that Mussolini’s pre-Hitler brand of fascism will never turn against the Jews, the coming of the war flushes all these conflicts out. After Marco’s brother Aldo is killed when he joins a group of anti-fascist saboteurs, Marco, groomed by Commendatore Romano Buonacorso for a rapid rise to power, begins to have second thoughts. Sandro, his dreams of academic stardom trashed by his religion, is more open in his opposition to Il Duce. The real calamities, however, follow the German invasion of Italy, which kicks off several painful rounds of increasingly severe anti-Jewish legislation, expropriation, extortion, and finally rastrellamento, the wholesale roundup of Italian Jews to be shipped off to destinations readers will know all too well. Through it all, Scottoline struggles mightily to bring her sorely tried characters alive through their love for each other, but they mostly remain pawns of history who believe till the end that “the Vatican will intervene, of course.”

A heartfelt but schematic wartime tear-jerker.

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-53976-6

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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