Regency romance star Balogh continues her poignant Survivor’s Club series with a quietly intense love story that speaks to...

THE ESCAPE

Sir Benedict Harper is struggling to find his place in the world after his wounds force him out of the army; in helping his neighbor Samantha McKay escape her stifling in-laws, he expects to feel satisfaction but may find salvation.

After nursing her needy, difficult husband through a lingering illness to his death, Samantha hopes for a little peace but is thwarted by her sister-in-law’s oppressive visit, which demands rigid expectations during their mourning. When a slight transgression finds her under the ever tightening screws of her husband’s family, Samantha decides to travel to Wales, where her mother grew up. Under duress, she means to discuss her plans with Lady Gramley, her nearest friendly neighbor, but winds up meeting the lady’s brother instead. Unwilling to let Samantha travel alone, Benedict agrees to help her escape her in-laws as long as she agrees to let him travel with her and see her safely to her destination. Along the way, Samantha realizes how dire the injuries to his legs were and recognizes the determination and fighting spirit that allowed him to heal enough to walk again, albeit with canes. And once they reach her mother’s village, Samantha learns that many of her beliefs regarding her family were false, at first to her outrage, then to her slowly building sense of hope and possibility. Meanwhile, as feelings grow on both sides, Samantha and Benedict are wary of expressing themselves for fear of unworthiness and unrequited affection. However, Samantha’s reunion with her family may offer new opportunities for Benedict, too, while giving the couple time to explore their ambitions and their emotions.

Regency romance star Balogh continues her poignant Survivor’s Club series with a quietly intense love story that speaks to open-heartedness, courage and faith in new beginnings.

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-345-53606-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Dell

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Romance and melodrama mix uneasily with mass murder.

THE WINTER GUEST

An 18-year-old Polish girl falls in love, swoons over a first kiss, dreams of marriage—and, oh yes, we are in the middle of the Holocaust.

Jenoff (The Ambassador’s Daughter, 2013, etc.) weaves a tale of fevered teenage love in a time of horrors in the early 1940s, as the Nazis invade Poland and herd Jews into ghettos and concentration camps. A prologue set in 2013, narrated by a resident of the Westchester Senior Center, provides an intriguing setup. A woman and a policeman visit the resident and ask if she came from a small Polish village. Their purpose is unclear until they mention bones recently found there: “And we think you might know something about them.” The book proceeds in the third person, told from the points of view mostly of teenage Helena, who comes upon an injured young Jewish-American soldier, and sometimes of her twin, Ruth, who is not as adventurous as Helena but is very competitive with her. Their father is dead, their mother is dying in a hospital, and they are raising their three younger siblings amid danger and hardship. The romance between Helena and Sam, the soldier, is often conveyed in overheated language that doesn’t sit well with the era’s tragic events: “There had been an intensity to his embrace that said he was barely able to contain himself, that he also wanted more.” Jenoff, clearly on the side of tolerance, slips in a simplified historical framework for the uninformed. But she also feeds stereotypes, having Helena note that Sam has “a slight arch to his nose” and a dark complexion that “would make him suspect as a Jew immediately.” Clichés also pop up during the increasingly complex plot: “But even if they stood in place, the world around them would not.”

Romance and melodrama mix uneasily with mass murder.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7783-1596-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

RIVER'S END

Though Roberts (The Reef, 1998, etc.) never writes badly, her newest mystery romance is more inconsistent than most. Little Olivia MacBride, daughter of two golden Hollywood superstars, wakes up one night to see her coked-up father holding her mother’s bloody body, a scissors in his hand. After her dad is led off to prison, Liv is sent to live with her grandparents, who run a successful lodge in the Olympic rain forest on the Washington coast—a location far across the continent from the Maryland shores of Roberts’s Quinn trilogy, but one that allows her to explore another place of life-giving scenic wonder. And when Liv grows up and becomes a naturalist/guide, she gets to take us on lots of eye-dazzling tours. Into her sheltered paradise comes Noah Brady, the son of the police detective who arrested Liv’s father and has been her friend since childhood. Noah has grown up to be a bestselling true-crime writer, and, against Liv’s will, he wants to write his next book about the MacBride murder case. (Liv’s dad, about to be released from San Quentin, is dying of brain cancer.) Though Liv fights her attraction to Noah, he’s a persistent boy, and on an extended and very sexy camping trip, the two become lovers. Meanwhile, the real murderer, whose identity will probably be obvious to most readers, leaves his own trail of violence up to Washington and a final prime-evil shoot-out. Added to Roberts’s poorly drawn mystery and her interlude of swell lusty love is her usual theme of how wounded children and inner children are healed and nurtured by good nuclear families. If the conventional wisdom is true, that romance readers never tire of reruns of the same old same old, then Roberts won’t have disappointed them.

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-14470-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more