Overall, a quiet, sweet, slow-building story of spirit, faith, family, and community and the love that binds them—but not...

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CHRISTMAS IN CORNWALL

A widower and his young son find a new life in a convent community of elderly nuns, which is close to the estate that’s been in their family for generations and is still home to his mother and her parents.

The book begins on Epiphany and ends the following Christmas, spanning a tumultuous year in which a tiny community of nuns hopes to be spiritually guided toward the right choices for their future, and the futures of the laypeople who are like family to them. Clem is their helper and jack-of-all-trades, and Janna is the commitment-phobic wanderer who's found an unexpected home in the community, while Jakey, Clem’s 5-year-old son, adds a generous helping of childlike wonder to the elderly women and their resident priest. Nearby, Clem’s mother, Dossie, and his aging grandparents, Pa and Mo, live at The Court, an estate that’s been in the family for generations and has, until recently, been run as a B&B. The book opens with threats to the convent from shady developers who hope to play some legal tricks on the nuns to gain control of the property without compensating its residents; and to The Court, when Dossie’s brother and his grasping girlfriend put pressure on Mo and Pa to sell the property and split the proceeds. Dossie, who has a history of bad luck in romance, becomes involved with a new, mysterious man, Rupert, throwing a wrench in Mo and Pa’s plans to have Dossie restart the B&B business and keep the property self-sustaining, intact and in the family. Over the course of the book, we see relationships tighten and mature, and hinted truths come out in both expected and unexpected ways. While the book is classified as a romance, nothing is completely settled in the end as far as the real and potential romances in the book go, and the slow pace and overt spiritual slant to the plot will leave many modern romance readers dissatisfied. For the right reader, this book has charm, appealing characterization and a sprawling, unhurried storytelling style—though Willett’s present-tense writing and occasional head-hopping may be distracting. For most contemporary romance fans, the lack of a convincing happily-ever-after ending and the not-quite-concrete plot wrap-up that speaks to more spiritually decisive conclusions, rather than romantic ones, will likely make them feel disappointed and misled by the romance designation.

Overall, a quiet, sweet, slow-building story of spirit, faith, family, and community and the love that binds them—but not really a romance.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-00370-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving...

THE BEST MAN

When Faith Holland was abandoned at the altar three years ago, she left her hometown for San Francisco to regroup; coming home to Manningsport, she’ll have to confront her past and Levi Cooper, the disturbingly handsome chief of police she blames for ruining her life.

On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving professional life and a comical romantic life. Summoned home for a few months to work the harvest at her family’s winery and help with some crisis management, Faith realizes that some things in her small town will never change—for the good or the bad—but she knows the time has come to establish a new reality with her ex, her family and maybe even Levi Cooper, the best man who forced Jeremy to be honest with her and himself on their wedding day. It’s so much easier to blame and despise him; if she lets down her guard, she might have to deal with their short but profound shared past and her own guilt and secrets from a long-ago tragedy that has haunted her for most of her life. Higgins’ newest heart-tugging romantic comedy juggles a spectrum of emotionally powerful elements, including the death of a mother, the abandonment of a father and a sigh-worthy high school romance gone awry. With her typical engaging voice, compelling storytelling and amusing dialogue, Higgins keeps the audience flipping through pages as quickly as possible, but it is her spot-on ability to make her characters at once funny, authentic and vulnerable—vulnerable to the point of breaking, so they can heal, stronger and better and more able to love—that is her true genius and guarantees most romance fans will both laugh out loud and get teary, sometimes at the same time. Another sweet, touching must-read for Higgins fans and anyone who enjoys a perfect combination of humor and romance.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-373-77792-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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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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