STARS

Harvey (Butterfly, 1988, and pseudonym for a ``major author'') offers a slick but suspenseless novel set at a glamorous mountain retreat for the rich and famous. Set atop Mount San Jacinto near Palm Springs, Star's is a top- flight, 42-room luxury retreat where Tinseltown's hottest wheelers and dealers go to lose weight, cut a deal, or indulge in forbidden romance. The owner, the mysterious Beverly Burgess, is a woman with a past: she once owned a high-class brothel (called Butterfly—the subject of Harvey's first novel) where women paid for sex with handsome young things. Beverly was clever enough to stage her own death to escape her nemesis, the evil and power-hungry Danny Mackay; she then changed her name, her appearance, and came back to life again. But what Beverly doesn't know is that Mackay is still bent on his own brand of sick revenge. Also unknown to Beverly is that she has a twin sister named Philippa Roberts (they were separated at birth when her destitute parents sold one of their daughters to a childless couple), who has spent years looking for her and, thanks to a private detective's lead, is now on her way to Star's as well. Because of the physical resemblance between the sisters, Mackay confuses Philippa with Beverly and follows her to Star's, where his attempts to kill her are thwarted by Beverly. If all this sounds pretty far-fetched, it is, and so are the other equally contrived subplots—Philippa's rise to fame and fortune as the head of a super-successful diet program; a beautiful Hollywood actress bent on seducing a screenwriter for the lead role in his new movie; etc. Meanwhile, the hackneyed descriptions of sex, the endless catalogue of brand-names, and the cookie-cutter characterizations don't help. For all its promise of dazzle, this is a lackluster attempt.

Pub Date: April 20, 1992

ISBN: 0-394-58798-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1992

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Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an...

ONE DAY IN DECEMBER

True love flares between two people, but they find that circumstances always impede it.

On a winter day in London, Laurie spots Jack from her bus home and he sparks a feeling in her so deep that she spends the next year searching for him. Her roommate and best friend, Sarah, is the perfect wing-woman but ultimately—and unknowingly—ends the search by finding Jack and falling for him herself. Laurie’s hasty decision not to tell Sarah is the second painful missed opportunity (after not getting off the bus), but Sarah’s happiness is so important to Laurie that she dedicates ample energy into retraining her heart not to love Jack. Laurie is misguided, but her effort and loyalty spring from a true heart, and she considers her project mostly successful. Perhaps she would have total success, but the fact of the matter is that Jack feels the same deep connection to Laurie. His reasons for not acting on them are less admirable: He likes Sarah and she’s the total package; why would he give that up just because every time he and Laurie have enough time together (and just enough alcohol) they nearly fall into each other’s arms? Laurie finally begins to move on, creating a mostly satisfying life for herself, whereas Jack’s inability to be genuine tortures him and turns him into an ever bigger jerk. Patriarchy—it hurts men, too! There’s no question where the book is going, but the pacing is just right, the tone warm, and the characters sympathetic, even when making dumb decisions.

Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an emotional, satisfying read.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-57468-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Complications abound in this well-crafted, light holiday romance.

CHRISTMAS AT LITTLE BEACH STREET BAKERY

Talented baker Polly Waterford doesn’t know what to do when her best friend, Kerensa, swears her to secrecy. Kerensa’s drunken one-night stand may jeopardize not only her pregnancy, but also her marriage, not to mention Polly’s engagement to Huckle.

Fans of Colgan's (The Café by the Sea, 2017, etc.) Mount Polbearne stories will delight—and new fans will find an easy, charming entry into the saga—as Polly, Huckle, and Neil (the puffin) return for the Christmas season. Having survived the dissolution of her graphic design business, Polly is now happily ensconced with Huckle, whose honey business is not yet thriving, in the historic lighthouse they bought in the sweet Cornish village (practically an island) whose only road to civilization is submerged under the sea twice each day. As the yuletide season approaches, however, Polly must face a bewildering number of obstacles. Is she ready to marry Huckle? Is she ready to start a family? How can she know when her own father abandoned her before she was even born? How can she give up an entire day’s profits to the Mount Polbearne Christmas fair? How can she save the endangered puffin sanctuary? How will she ever bake enough for the fair plus cater a huge holiday party for Kerensa and her fabulously wealthy husband, Reuben? And how will Kerensa ever survive Reuben’s wrath if the baby turns out not to be his but some 6-foot-4 Brazilian man’s? Supported by the ever faithful Huckle and Neil's endearing eeps, Polly carries on from the cozy bed in the icy lighthouse, trailing flour and knishes wherever she goes. Keeping secrets, pleasing everyone, and balancing so many jobs keeps Polly busy—that is, until a massive winter storm threatens everything.

Complications abound in this well-crafted, light holiday romance.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-266299-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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