A lukewarm romance for series fans only.

FIRST COMES SCANDAL

From the Rokesby series , Vol. 4

A man studying to be a doctor in Edinburgh is called home to England to marry a neighbor in trouble.

When Nicholas Rokesby receives a letter from his father ordering him to immediately return to the family home in Kent, he obeys the summons, fearing that some disaster has befallen the family. When he arrives, he’s informed that his neighbor and lifelong friend, Georgiana Bridgerton, was kidnapped a month earlier by a man hoping to force her into marriage. Georgie freed herself, but she’s pronounced “ruined” by society rather than being celebrated for her quick thinking and bravery. Nicholas’ father informs him that he can save Georgie by offering for her hand in marriage; otherwise, her only choices are to live as a spinster or to marry the cad who kidnapped her. Unfortunately, Quinn’s witty dialogue isn’t enough to hide the fact that there’s very little conflict or plot in the novel. The setup leans heavily on the “friends to lovers” trope but doesn’t invest any time developing the couple's past. They are two nice people in their mid-20s who agree to marry out of duty and deference to society’s rules. More detailed attention is given to Georgie’s plan to make a rope hammock to soothe her yowling cat during a carriage ride than to her and Nicholas' development as a married couple. Georgie’s character might frustrate modern readers. Her ingenuity is often highlighted—she escapes from her kidnapper, has her own interests, and verbalizes her frustrations with how society treats women unfairly—but she’s also strangely passive, happily serving as Nicholas’ nurse rather than pursuing her own interests in medicine. Die-hard readers of this Bridgerton prequel series are likely to enjoy the book as fan service, with glimpses of beloved characters from the original series appearing as children.

A lukewarm romance for series fans only.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-295616-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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The most comforting of comfort-food reading—with a few chills for fun.

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LEGACY

Roberts sticks to formula in this romantic thriller—which should please fans and newcomers alike.

The only daughter of a woman with a wildly successful fitness company, 7-year-old Adrian Rizzo is used to traveling with her mother for videos and photo shoots, the child star of the brand. But everything changes one night when a man breaks into their house, confronts her mother for destroying his marriage, and then dies in a fall down the stairs. Adrian spends the summer with her beloved grandparents, enjoying the idyllic pace of small-town life and making some strong connections. Several years later, teenage Adrian gains the confidence to start her own business with the help of some high school misfits who become her best friends. Fast-forward a few years: Adrian’s grandmother dies in an accident followed by the death of a friend's wife. Adrian decides to move in with her grandfather and to finally make a home. As frequently happens in Roberts’ novels, Adrian's friends all end up living nearby, and they create a loyal, loving network that sees them all through marriage, birth, loss, success, and the other touchstones of maturity. In the background lurks a threat, though: For years, Adrian has been receiving disturbing letters signed only "The Poet," and they begin to arrive more frequently. Adrian’s perfect, messy, successful life—and blossoming relationship—may be in danger from this psychopath, but her friends and family will be there to support and protect her to the happiest of endings. If you're a fan of Roberts’ thrillers, the structure of this novel will bring few surprises, but the familiarity is comforting. Roberts’ strength has always been her ability to create likable, complex characters, and this crew is even more appealing than most—they are never whiny in insecurity or snobbish in success; rather, they provide unwavering support for each other’s ups and downs.

The most comforting of comfort-food reading—with a few chills for fun.

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7293-5

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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

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IT ENDS WITH US

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 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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