One of those beguiling stories that charm and engage with wit and sparkling prose rather than depending only on an...



Veteran chronicler of the travails of the British house-and-garden set (Life Skills, 1999, etc.), Fforde now wryly details the often-incendiary relationship between a young woman who runs an upscale market garden and her former husband, now a celebrity chef.

While delivering the usual order of salad greens, herbs, and exotic vegetables for the restaurant at nearby Grantly House, Perdita Dylan is appalled to discover that her former husband, Lucas Gillespie, is suddenly the chef-in-residence. She’s spent nearly a decade trying to get over the heartbreak she suffered when Lucas, then an aspiring stockbroker in London, left her for an older woman. Now, living in a rundown but picturesque cottage and raising vegetables on land behind the house of Kitty Anson, the 80-something wealthy woman who looked after her while her parents—in the diplomatic service—were abroad, she’s thought she was over Lucas. Married at 18, she had been too young perhaps, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling angry now as she finds herself having to see him again. Even if it’s initially just for business, Lucas is soon back in her life as he befriends Kitty and involves Perdita in a TV cooking show that will feature them both. Sparks fly every time they meet, but Perdita is also still sexually attracted to him. She pretends to have a boyfriend, a ruse unmasked when Kitty suffers a succession of strokes and Perdita has to see even more of Lucas, since he insists on helping her out as she struggles to nurse Kitty and keep her business running. When Roger, a designing nephew of the now-dying Kitty, arrives all set to claim his inheritance, Perdita fears she will have to give up her business, since most of her land belonged to Kitty. But good things are ahead this time round.

One of those beguiling stories that charm and engage with wit and sparkling prose rather than depending only on an energetically churning plot.

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-312-27304-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • IndieBound Bestseller


The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

Another success for the publishing phenom.


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

Did you like this book?