For readers who enjoy watching lovers conquer trauma and fans of the series who would like to revisit characters from the...

SOMEONE TO TRUST

A widow who survived an abusive marriage is afraid to choose love, especially with a younger man grappling with his own childhood sorrows.

In the fifth installment of Balogh’s Westcott series, the widowed Lady Elizabeth Overfield and Colin Handrich, Baron Hodges, who's her brother's brother-in-law, intend to be just friends. After all, she's nine years older than him, and they each have sensible plans for marriage—she is considering the proposal of an older gentleman while he is being paired with a young debutante. Yet neither of those relationships contains the mix of easy conversation and erotic attraction that Elizabeth and Colin experience with each other. Nevertheless, they are determined to make practical matrimonial decisions. An ugly public episode in which her fiance baselessly accuses them of impropriety, however, persuades them that levelheaded betrothals no more guarantee marital bliss than love condemns one to loss. While Elizabeth's family is taken aback by her decision to marry Colin, they offer their support. The obstacle is Colin's mother, introduced in Someone to Wed (2017), a scheming narcissist who refuses to age gracefully. Balogh presents her as an unnatural contrast to our heroine’s dignified matronhood. This structure is an unfortunate throwback to old-school romances that resorted to a misogynistic virgin/seductress dichotomy. Indeed, the romance here is overshadowed by the time devoted to vilifying Colin's mother, who has a lover and many youthful beaux. This dilutes the story's romantic intensity, as does the slow pace and the overlong family Christmas celebration that starts the book.

For readers who enjoy watching lovers conquer trauma and fans of the series who would like to revisit characters from the Westcott family.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-58610-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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