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THE LADY OF THE LAKES

A low-key, slow-paced romance that may engage readers looking for a sweet, chaste historical read.

Young Scottish writer Walter Scott quietly courts the lovely Williamina "Mina" Belsches for years and expects to marry her, but the disapproval of her family threatens his dreams of a romantic happy-ever-after.

After meeting Mina at a church service, Walter falls in love with her at first sight, and the two begin a quiet courtship that includes a romantic correspondence of letters and poems. While never establishing an official understanding, Walter believes Mina is as devoted to him as he is to her despite warnings from friends and family that the match might be out of his reach, since her titled family is far above his own solicitor roots. Plus, a childhood illness leaves him with a disfigured leg and a limp that keeps him from dancing, so even that social interaction with his beloved Mina is denied to him. After five years, Walter is devastated to learn that Mina is considering another suitor, and then, when she accepts him, Walter is hurt, furious, and brokenhearted, unsure how to move on. When he takes a trip to England and meets a lovely French expatriate who is trying to find her own place in the world, they may find that love can grow from regard and respect. Historical romance author Kilpack moves into romantic biographical fiction with this title that traces the early love life of Sir Walter Scott through his disappointing courtship of his first love and then the subsequent meeting of the minds and hearts he finds with Charlotte, the woman he marries. The story is interesting but slow-paced and without the intense conflict most fiction thrives on. The limited historical facts are fleshed out successfully, though stretching the tale out sometimes makes it lag.

A low-key, slow-paced romance that may engage readers looking for a sweet, chaste historical read.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62972-226-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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SEEING RED

As the plot grows more complicated, it also sheds believability, leaving sex and witty banter to carry the day.

Brown (Mean Streak, 2014, etc.) ticks off the boxes that elevate her books to the bestseller lists in this sexy romantic thriller set in Texas.

Rock-jawed hero with a dark past: check. Strong-willed, beautiful woman who resists his charms: check. A Whitman’s Sampler of bad guys: check. And finally, a convoluted and not always plausible plot: check. In this latest outing, readers meet TV journalist Kerra Bailey, whose family was torn apart years ago by a hotel bombing that killed 197 people in Dallas. Just in time for the 25th anniversary, Kerra scores an interview with the notoriously private Maj. Trapper, who saved her life, among others, when he emerged from the blast to lead the survivors out of danger. There's an iconic, prizewinning photo of the major carrying a little girl from the wreckage, but the child has never been identified—until now, when Kerra goes public with the information that it was her. Just after they finish filming the interview in his home, the major is shot, and an injured Kerra escapes in the confusion. The major’s son, disgraced Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent John Trapper—a name M*A*S*H fans will appreciate—steps in, igniting a chain of events that leads to murder, intrigue, betrayal, and a series of dark revelations. As with most of Brown’s heroes and heroines, there’s palpable sexual tension between Trapper, whose taut rear occupies ample literary real estate, and Kerra, who when dealing with Trapper feels “like he’d lightly scratched her just below her bellybutton” when he’s not making her “pleasure points throb.” The complex plot plays out in a round of reveals that don’t always make a lot of sense, but that’s not why Brown’s fans read her books. They check in for the witty, pitch-perfect dialogue and fluid writing. A master of her genre, Brown knows how to please her most ardent readers but relies too often on the same basic formula from novel to novel.

As the plot grows more complicated, it also sheds believability, leaving sex and witty banter to carry the day.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7210-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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ON MYSTIC LAKE

Hannah, after eight paperbacks, abandons her successful time-travelers for a hardcover life of kitchen-sink romance. Everyone must have got the Olympic Peninsula memo for this spring because, as of this reading, authors Hannah, Nora Roberts, and JoAnn Ross have all placed their newest romances in or near the Quinault rain forest. Here, 40ish Annie Colwater, returns to Washington State after her husband, high-powered Los Angeles lawyer Blake, tells her he’s found another (younger) woman and wants a divorce. Although a Stanford graduate, Annie has known only a life of perfect wifedom: matching Blake’s ties to his suits and cooking meals from Gourmet magazine. What is she to do with her shattered life? Well, she returns to dad’s house in the small town of Mystic, cuts off all her hair (for a different look), and goes to work as a nanny for lawman Nick Delacroix, whose wife has committed suicide, whose young daughter Izzy refuses to speak, and who himself has descended into despair and alcoholism. Annie spruces up Nick’s home on Mystic Lake and sends “Izzy-bear” back into speech mode. And, after Nick begins attending AA meetings, she and he become lovers. Still, when Annie learns that she’s pregnant not with Nick’s but with Blake’s child, she heads back to her empty life in the Malibu Colony. The baby arrives prematurely, and mean-spirited Blake doesn’t even stick around to support his wife. At this point, it’s perfectly clear to Annie—and the reader—that she’s justified in taking her newborn daughter and driving back north. Hannah’s characters indulge in so many stages of the weeps, from glassy eyes to flat-out sobs, that tear ducts are almost bound to stay dry. (First printing of 100,000; first serial to Good Housekeeping; Literary Guild/Doubleday book club selections)

Pub Date: March 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-609-60249-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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