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QUEEN CHARLOTTE

Might appeal to die-hard fans of the show but offers little to the general reading audience.

A novelization of a written-for-television story in the Bridgerton universe.

Opening with a coy reminder that the novel is “fiction inspired by fact,” the story is about the first year of marriage between Charlotte Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a German princess of Moorish ancestry, and George III, king of Great Britain and Ireland. There are four narrators: George, Charlotte, the queen’s servant Bartholomew Brimsley, and the newly minted Lady Agatha Danbury. On the day of the royal wedding, a group of wealthy Black families are also awarded titles, a move designed to quell possible dissension from White aristocrats about Charlotte’s race. George, with the help of the entire royal household, has been hiding his mental illness from Charlotte. Determined to find a cure, George subjects himself to a quack doctor who tortures him physically and mentally. Lady Danbury is trying to secure the futures of the new aristocratic families by any means necessary, including trading information about the royal marriage to George’s mother in exchange for favors. Brimsley’s lover, Reynolds, is the king’s primary manservant, and the two try to protect their royal charges from the machinations and back-stabbing of the royal court. The book’s pacing is choppy, presumably following the script of the TV show, quickly cutting between scenes without much tying them together. Melodramatic and soapy, the story suggests that racism can be cured during a ball and mental illness can be cured with love, nice but ultimately empty sentiments that might play better on TV than they do in the pages of a book. Lady Danbury’s origin story is the most enjoyable subplot; she befriends the queen and helps the new class of Black aristocrats keep their titles, all while managing the challenges of being a young widow.

Might appeal to die-hard fans of the show but offers little to the general reading audience.

Pub Date: May 9, 2023

ISBN: 9780063305083

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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JUST FOR THE SUMMER

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Two people with bad luck in relationships find each other through a popular Reddit thread.

Emma Grant and her best friend, Maddy, are travel nurses, working at hospitals for three-month stints while they see the country. Just a few weeks before they’re set to move to Hawaii, Emma reads a popular “Am I the Asshole” Reddit thread from a Minnesota man who thinks he’s cursed—women he dates find their soulmates after breaking up with him, and the latest one found true love with his best friend! Emma has had a similar experience, which inspires her to DM the man and commiserate. She’s delighted by her witty, lively interactions with software engineer Justin Dahl, and is intrigued when he suggests that if they date each other, maybe they’ll each find their soulmate afterward. Emma upends the Hawaii plan and convinces Maddy to move to Minneapolis for the summer so she can meet Justin in person. The overly complex setup brings Emma and Justin together and the two hit it off, with Justin immediately falling head over heels for Emma. Jimenez then pivots to creating romantic roadblocks and melodramatic subplots centering on each character’s family of origin. Justin’s mother is about to serve six years in prison for embezzlement, which means Justin must move back home to care for his three much younger siblings. Emma was traumatized by her own mother for much of her childhood, left to fend for herself and eventually abandoned in the foster system. When her mother shows up in Minnesota, Emma must face her traumatic childhood and admit that she has prioritized her mother’s well-being over her own. There is little time devoted to Emma’s painful efforts to heal herself enough to accept Justin’s love, which leaves the novel feeling unsatisfying.

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781538704431

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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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

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