Entrancing romantic suspense with an intriguing dose of Middle Eastern history.

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Love on the Wings of War

An American graduate student faces serious obstacles when he falls for a young Egyptian woman in Cairo in this novel.

Mark Adams, recently widowed and completing his doctorate in 1967 Cairo, is powerless to resist the attentions of university student Nadia Kemal. Only 18, she is both alluring and naïve; but, as attracted as she is to Mark, she is determined to keep their budding romance a secret from her overprotective, politically connected parents. Further, she has a cautionary tale from her great-aunt, Zaynab, exiled and rumored to be mad, after witnessing the emasculation and murder of a lover deemed inappropriate by her father. Mark considers Nadia’s elaborate ploys to hide their affair paranoid, until he receives a warning from his landlord. An attempted arranged marriage by Nadia’s father, a surprise pregnancy, and the disastrous Six-Day War push their relationship to a crisis point, and Mark is forced to flee Egypt with other foreigners. After Nadia’s failed attempts to escape to Greece to meet her beloved, and her parents’ discovery of their liaison, Mark returns to Egypt, where a convoluted series of events proves the extreme lengths to which Nadia’s family will go to keep the young lovers apart. Mark converts to Islam so they can secretly marry, which further infuriates Nadia’s father. But Mark is relentless, endangering not only himself, but his close friends as well. Will Nadia’s family ultimately capitulate? In this tale, Livingston (Mother East, Daughter West, 2016), an Islamic and Middle East history professor and seasoned fiction writer, concocts a somewhat anticlimactic ending that raises lingering questions about the main characters. Nevertheless, he couples his expertise on the culture and history of the region with a touching illustration of the challenges of cross-cultural romance. His evocative portrayal of Cairo brings the setting to life and makes it appealing, despite the rampant repression of the era. Unexpected moments of humor creep into the story, such as Mark’s discovery he is being monitored when he pees off the side of a balcony and hears a muffled cry below.

Entrancing romantic suspense with an intriguing dose of Middle Eastern history.

Pub Date: July 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4917-9723-5

Page Count: 371

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

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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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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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