A gripping tale with a distinctive couple.


Married life for an American woman and a Saudi prince is shaken by the resurgence of dubious individuals from their respective pasts in Canfield’s (Only Love Twice, 2013) thriller.

Newlyweds Saleem and Madison Kelly Al Abdullah have settled in Knoxville, Tennessee. Several months into their marriage, Saleem hears Sonja Popuolov is looking for him. She’s the 20-something daughter of Sophia, with whom Saleem had an affair years ago. Though he’s always questioned Sophia’s claim that Sonja is his daughter, Saleem has been financially supporting Sonja. To finally verify or debunk their blood relation, Saleem and Sonja agree to meet in Florida, where the Al Abdullahs are planning to buy a winter home. It’s also where Madison worked as a cop before hanging up her badge. Those skills prove essential at Miami International Airport, where Madison spots a car following them. Sure enough, someone has been tracking Sonja since she looked into DNA testing with Saleem. Madison gets help from old police contacts and soon learns the Russian Mafia may be targeting Sonja. But the surprise involvement of an abusive person from Madison’s past may put her in danger as well. Though the novel’s first half is unhurried, a later kidnapping amplifies the suspense. Canfield establishes her protagonists well; their meet-cute formed the plot of her preceding tale. Romantic interludes between the two are convincing and solidify the tension once the initially faceless menace enters the story. Eventual perspective from said villains adds excitement, especially when it seems two independent baddies have identical agendas. Extensive backstory adequately, and sometimes repetitively, explains all that’s unfolding in the present day. For example, Saleem recites details of yesteryear with Sophia on multiple occasions. Some recurrence, however, proves beneficial, like the running gag of Saleem and Madison’s attempts at intimacy, which others repeatedly interrupt.

A gripping tale with a distinctive couple.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-63135-481-6

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency, LLC

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2018

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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