Love—and the patience of a loyal wife—conquers all in this intriguing historical fantasy.

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THEIR OWN ANAM CARA

A JOURNEY OF DESTINY

A novel sees a husband search for his abducted wife in 17th-century Ireland and Scotland.

Sir Ailin Drummond and Sarah Evangeline Hale were hand-tied together as infants, intended for marriage. Nearly 20 years later, in 1625, the couple’s lives in the Loch Lomond area of Scotland have brought “many hardships and many joys.” Angel, as Sarah is known, is a beacon of light and generosity among all who know her. Ailin, sadly, takes her for granted, drinking too much and enjoying the attention of other women. One night, workers in Drummond castle who are loyal to the jealous wastrel Ivan McCampbell kidnap Angel. She’s sent by ship to Belfast, raped repeatedly the entire way, and then sold into slavery. On the Moryson plantation, she survives because of her determination to help heal her fellow slaves. She also draws strength from the concept of anam cara (Gaelic for soul friend) that she shares with Ailin, emphasized by the way his physical prowess complements her skill in the healing arts. Angel is also descended from the British warrior queen Boadecia. The rumor that she possesses the queen’s braided gold torque has likewise set Ivan’s scheming mistress, Mairi, against the couple. In this historical fantasy, Veazey (Full Circle, 2012) explores the intersection of Christianity and paganism in an era when witchcraft remained punishable by death and women were considered chattel. Ailin questions the notion of war and considers life as a “good, honorable, and respectful being” the “best honor he could give back to his Creator,” regardless of the deity’s other worshipers. Readers should be swept along by Veazey’s fluid prose, only to realize there is hardly any dialogue, resulting in lots of telling rather than showing. Her ideas, however, sprout crisply from the page, like the concept that “magic is what we are all looking for, but if you try to hold it and name it and describe it, you will lose it.” The conclusion at the enchanted Ceidi Fields feels orchestrated rather than occurring organically, but a chilling final image readies fans for the sequel.

Love—and the patience of a loyal wife—conquers all in this intriguing historical fantasy.

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4817-1767-0

Page Count: 130

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

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

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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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