Unique, delightful, and swoonworthy.

READ REVIEW

LADY DERRING TAKES A LOVER

When a widowed, penniless aristocrat opens a boardinghouse, she hopes to make her own way in the world and create a sense of family for her disparate tenants, including an enigmatic Navy captain who makes her heart skip.

Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, hadn’t loved her husband, though she’d tried to be a good wife. However, when she discovers he was “in debt up to his eyeballs” at his death, she decides to be bold. The one valuable thing her husband left her is a building by the docks, and when she goes to inspect it, she runs into the earl’s mistress, Angelique Breedlove, whom he has also left penniless though he'd promised her a pension. Delilah realizes the abandoned building could be the savior of both of them, and she convinces Angelique, whom she quite likes, to go into business with her as proprietresses of London’s newest boardinghouse, The Grand Palace on the Thames. Boarders are slow in coming and very eclectic, but for Delilah, the most compelling guest is Tristan Hardy. He's a captain with "an air of implacable, insufferable authority. As though he moved through the world with ease in part because he knew destiny wouldn’t dare countermand his orders.” According to Tristan, he's looking for rooms while the ship he’s purchasing is prepared for long merchant runs—which is true, but he’s also the Navy’s blockade commander, and his main reason for being in the area is to track down some illegal cigars. As the investigation expands, his attraction to Delilah and his affection for the household grows, becoming increasingly complicated when the cigars seem to have connections to The Palace. In the first book of the Palace of Rogues series, author Long returns triumphantly to historical romance with this beautifully written and achingly romantic story of two characters who are blindsided by each other and must fight for their love when it’s tested. A large cast of entertaining characters keeps the plot moving while breathtaking writing elevates the story on every page.

Unique, delightful, and swoonworthy.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-286746-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

OUTFOX

An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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