A HEART REVEALED

Readers of this gentle story won’t miss the steamy scenes it lacks. A very compelling read.

A vain young woman in the Regency era gets her comeuppance when a mysterious affliction causes her to lose all her hair halfway through her first London season.

Kilpack (Wedding Cake, 2014, etc.) makes her historical romance debut with her first contribution to Shadow Mountain’s PG-rated Proper Romance series. Debutante Amber Sterlington does not lack for admirers. She's eager to parlay her beauty and sophistication into a dynastic marriage to make her parents proud and perhaps gain a few crumbs of their love and attention. She cares little that she’s stealing the limelight from her sister Darra and thinks love is an unnecessary complication on the Marriage Mart. But her machinations are cut short when a mysterious ailment, which may be familiar to modern readers as alopecia areata, causes her to lose almost all of her hair. Her family banishes her to a rustic corner of Yorkshire, with only her good-hearted and tart-tongued maid, Suzanne Miller, to attend her. The two become friends despite their class differences and learn to fend for themselves—baking, cleaning and even tending to livestock on their little homestead three miles from the nearest village. Amber learns humility and kindness and ultimately manages to earn the respect of the Honorable Thomas Richards. Thomas is an earnest younger son of a baron who pined after Amber in London even though he didn’t like her personality and is amazed to discover her living in seclusion near his family home in Yorkshire. In spite of the heroine and the hero both being totally unlikable at the beginning of the book, the unusually well-crafted prose draws the reader along, and Amber’s personal evolution makes the book more literary than other romances.

Readers of this gentle story won’t miss the steamy scenes it lacks. A very compelling read.

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60907-990-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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IT ENDS WITH US

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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