The wit and nuanced shadings of Moyes’ best are unfortunately missing in this predictable tear-jerker, a pale echo of the...

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SILVER BAY

More earnest and less quirky than Moyes’ later successes, Me Before You (2012) and One Plus One (2014), this romantic novel originally published in Britain in 2007 centers on the moral and emotional crises faced by a buttoned-down Englishman who disrupts the tranquility of an isolated coastal community in New South Wales when he scopes it out for a high-end resort.

For the last six years, Liza and her 10-year-old daughter, Hannah, have lived in Silver Bay with Liza’s feisty 76-year-old aunt Kathleen, who owns a hotel that's seen better days. Liza, who skippers one of several whale-watching boats in the bay, seems overprotective of Hannah; it gradually becomes clear that Liza escaped England under a cloud six years ago and is hiding from the outside world. Enter Mike, a methodical junior partner in London’s Beaker Holdings. While his fiancee, Vanessa—who happens to be the boss’s daughter—finalizes wedding plans, Mike heads to Silver Bay, where Beaker Holdings hopes to build a large luxury resort. Staying at Kathleen’s hotel and becoming increasingly friendly with the locals, Mike doesn’t let on why he’s really there. He and Liza share an obvious attraction, which only increases when he saves Hannah’s life after the boat she’s snuck into the bay gets entangled in illegal netting. Then Vanessa shows up. Once Mike’s connection to the developers becomes known, his popularity plummets. Learning from Kathleen that his plans might put Hannah at risk, Mike wakes up and tries to right the situation, first with Vanessa’s help and then on his own, whatever the sacrifice to career or love. Meanwhile, standard-issue Victim-with-a-capitol-V heroine Liza faces the demons of her past in attempting to stop the development. Of course, virtue, innocence and love win out over greed and shallow sophistication.

The wit and nuanced shadings of Moyes’ best are unfortunately missing in this predictable tear-jerker, a pale echo of the 1983 film Local Hero.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-14-312648-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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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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