A drawn-out but gripping thriller bolstered by a romantic triangle that defies expectations.

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Blue Diamond

A woman agrees to take over her estranged, ailing father’s business and learns some deadly secrets in Wheeler’s debut novel.

South African Lin Fletcher lost her foster parents years ago. She also endured a loveless marriage to her hateful, adulterous husband, Geoff, who recently died. Now living in Cape Town, she’s surprised when her biological father, Paul Ansley, wants to see her. He has little time left on Earth, he says, whether or not he opts for heart surgery, and he wants Lin to be the major beneficiary of his vast business empire in Australia. He has stepchildren from his second marriage, but one of them, Felicity, has no interest in the business, and the other, Sean, could wreck the company (“I believe Sean is trying to ruin me financially,” Paul says). It turns out that Paul has been watching Lin for some time, enlisting ex–CIA agent Cameron Michaels, among others, to keep her under surveillance. Cameron becomes Paul’s head of security after someone accesses the company’s “vital documents.” Paul, at his Blue Diamond cattle station in Sydney, has a rather unconventional idea for securing both his company and Blue Diamond: if Lin marries Cole Stretton, an equal shareholder in the property, Paul can transfer his shares to her and keep Sean clear of his empire. Unfortunately, this ignites a fight between Cole and Cameron for Lin’s affections, and Lin’s unsure where her heart lies. Wheeler’s novel begins as a mystery: Geoff is clearly up to something sinister, and readers learn that his death is no accident. But even though it’s evident throughout that Cameron and Paul are hiding something from Lin, the bulk of the novel centers on potential romance. Wheeler depicts these relationships, however, as anything but typical: tenderness, for one, is all but nonexistent, and the men are often rough with Lin; Cole squeezes her wrist while pulling her close, and Cameron “crushed her mouth with a punishing kiss.” Lin isn’t helpless, though; indeed, she proves superior to the male recruits in the security training program. A major threat faces Lin in the more intense final act, and there are also a few surprises as the mystery unravels.

A drawn-out but gripping thriller bolstered by a romantic triangle that defies expectations.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4828-0311-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: PartridgeAfrica

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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