A gently affecting tale of personal redemption, second chances, and the power of faith.

LOSER'S ROAD

A disgraced doctor discovers a path to redemption and a chance at true love while serving a medical mission in this romance.

Thirty-two-year-old Cash Stetson feels like a loser. After a scandal involving the sale of stolen body parts from a hospital morgue, he lost his promising career as an emergency room doctor as well as the woman he loves, Lilly Atkins. The one-time golden boy of Brooks, Oklahoma, fled to Texas, but his sojourn has barely begun when he receives the news that Spencer Locke, the man who won Lilly’s heart, has agreed to represent him in his bid to get his medical license reinstated. Reluctantly, Cash returns to Brooks to face his past. At the hearing, the board is convinced that Cash has met the requirements for reinstatement; however, they also believe that his “heart needs work,” so they require him to spend six weeks volunteering as a medical missionary in Mexico. He travels to a hospital in San Miguel where he meets Texan Maggie Craig, a doctor, and his host, Pepper Wylde. As he settles into his assignment, he draws strength from his patients and Pepper’s wisdom. He also forms a friendship with Maggie, whose personal grief and pain mirror his. When he hits rock bottom, he discovers that his new circumstances are a perfect foundation for a renewal of faith and love. The latest from Lloyd (So Many Boots, So Little Time, 2015, etc.) is a winning contemporary romance that gives a memorable character from her MisAdventures of Miss Lilly series the chance to shine. She shows how Cash deals with the fallout from poor choices, and his relationship with Maggie develops at a gradual pace as he learns to let go of his past and face his future. Cash’s past includes the study of European art history, and the narrative is replete with references to real-life artists, particularly Angelina Beloff, a Russian-born painter who lived and worked in Mexico. Although familiarity with the Miss Lilly series may help readers to better understand the relationships between the characters, this installment offers enough backstory to appeal to newcomers.

A gently affecting tale of personal redemption, second chances, and the power of faith.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-365-25941-8

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Rebelle Press

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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