Romance fans will enjoy this tangled web of love and work amid the tumultuous backdrop of the changing times.

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OVERTIME

Kendall’s debut combines romantic love and melodrama to explore changing gender roles and business relationships.

By 1965, much has already changed at John Hampton’s home in the safe, idyllic community of Agoura, Calif. Young and handsome, John has a promising career as an engineer at Nielsen Electronics, a firm that specializes in the production of security tape recording devices. After his wife’s infidelity and repeated drug abuse, John’s marriage tragically dissolves, and he and his children are left to pick up the pieces. There’s another woman in John’s world, however: beautiful, intelligent Robin Nichols, a divorced mom of two sons, who also happens to be the hardworking secretary at Nielsen Electronics. John and Robin fall in love, which causes even more problems with John’s ex-wife. The story clips along at a sprightly pace, as Kendall touches on themes familiar to those who have lived through or studied the ’60s—e.g., women’s roles, divorce, blended families, psychedelic drugs and the Vietnam War—yet it’s all from the perspective of office professionals. The minor character of John’s wife is a banal foil for his heroics; for example, John is a dependable and selfless parent, but his ex-wife, the stereotypical “hippie artist bound for destruction,” was raised by domineering religious parents. Then there’s the drama of John’s boss and his wife, a dowdy, submissive woman who struggles to find herself and a voice of her own. While the boss’ wife is a sympathetic character, her changes are predictable: She finds strength through love. Also, a few scenes are rather far-fetched, as when Robin walks into a top modeling agency on a secret errand for the boss and she’s instantly offered a modeling contract. A more complex and engaging character is the boss himself, Loren Slaton, who evolves from a cheating, womanizing jerk into a realistic version of a changed man. The dialogue flows easily, and there’s plenty of cute, witty banter between lovers. When John pretends to be shocked after Robin calls him a fool, Robin retorts: “You are an impossible, incorrigible, fool. I might point out, however, that one of Webster’s definitions for a fool is, professional jester. I do believe you qualify.”

Romance fans will enjoy this tangled web of love and work amid the tumultuous backdrop of the changing times.

Pub Date: July 28, 2010

ISBN: 978-1770671034

Page Count: 296

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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A standard but satisfying twin-swap tale with a sweet love story at its center.

THE DUPLICATE BRIDE

In Baird’s romance novel, a young woman agrees to impersonate her twin sister but finds herself falling for her sibling’s fiance in the process.

Jackie Webb begs her identical-twin sister, Hope, to fly from North Carolina to Maine and pretend to be her. Jackie is scheduled to visit her fiance Brent Albright’s family, mere days before their wedding. She’s a wedding planner herself, unexpectedly forced to work during the scheduled visit—and she fears that if she doesn’t show up in New England as planned, her strained relations with Brent’s family will grow worse. Hope agrees to go the Maine, just to help with wedding preparations, and she has every intention of truthfully identifying herself. But when Brent’s mother immediately mistakes her for Jackie, things quickly spiral out of control. After Brent’s grandmother greets her with disdain, Hope decides to continue the ruse to win over the family. Then she learns that Jackie’s upcoming marriage to Brent, who knows nothing of the trickery, is more of a business deal than a romance. She resolves to save her sister’s future by creating a true bond with him. But unlike Jackie, she’s relaxed and fun-loving, and Brent finds himself delighted to be falling in love with her. As Jackie’s delay grows longer, Hope finds herself falling under Brent’s spell, as well. This wholesome and romantic tale by Baird, the author of An Unforgettable Christmas (2019) and many other romances, is engaging throughout as she tells it from Hope’s and Brent’s perspectives. Although most readers are likely to guess many key plot developments before the end of the first chapter, they’ll still find it great fun to watch the events unfold. The author presents a diverse cast of characters who are as entertaining as they are endearing, as well as many evocative descriptions of the beautiful Maine countryside. Although this novel is a light read, it alludes to deeper issues of confidence, loss, independence, and trust that give it some unexpected heft.

A standard but satisfying twin-swap tale with a sweet love story at its center.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68281-522-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

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A classic plot plus Lauren's trademark snark and steam add up to a winning rom-com full of heart and holiday cheer.

IN A HOLIDAZE

A Christmas wish leads to a Christmas nightmare when one woman gets stuck reliving the holiday season, Groundhog Day style.

Things aren’t going as planned for Maelyn Jones. At the age of 26, she’s living with her mom and stepdad, she’s stuck in a dead-end job, and, perhaps most important, she just had an eggnog-filled holiday hookup with Theo Hollis, her family friend and the brother of her unrequited lifelong crush, Andrew Hollis. Maelyn’s spent years waiting for Andrew to notice her as more than a friend, but now she knows she’s screwed things up for good by kissing his brother. The only thing that’s going perfectly in her life is the lovely Park City cabin where her family, Theo and Andrew’s family, and her parents’ other college friends get together every Christmas. But then, on the last day of their vacation, Theo and Andrew’s parents announce that they’re selling the cabin. On the drive to the airport, Maelyn miserably wishes that she could find out what would make her happy…and suddenly, she’s back on the plane to the cabin, pre-Christmas, about to live the whole week over again. With another (and another and another) chance to make things right, will she be able to finally tell Andrew how she feels and discover real happiness? Lauren—the author team behind The Honey-Don’t List (2020) and countless other romantic comedies—is as reliable as ever with this cheery holiday outing. Down-on-her-luck Maelyn is a likable protagonist, and it’s easy to relate to her desire to fix her life (even if most readers don’t have the benefit of time travel). Her conversations with Andrew are adorably banter-filled, and her relationship with her parents’ friend Benny, an aging, wacky stoner, is sweetly charming.

A classic plot plus Lauren's trademark snark and steam add up to a winning rom-com full of heart and holiday cheer.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982123-94-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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