A fun alternative-history tale about a much-delayed American Revolution.


A whimsical debut novel featuring a bumbling adventurer who’s in over his head but quick on his feet.

At the heart of Horowitz’s work is Humboldt “Humby” Yolo Stanislaus IV, a native of California’s Gold Rush country in the modern day. A recent graduate of Fool’s Gold Community College, Humby is still trying to find his way in life, like many people his age, and his degree in gold prospecting certainly isn’t going to help him. As a graduation gift, his parents give him a trip to Bermuda, and while he’s walking on a beach, he trips over a green bottle in the sand that has a map inside it. Upon his return to the States, Humby takes the bottle to Buttercup Flutter, the Fool’s Gold librarian. After she contacts the Library of Congress, he’s flown to Washington, D.C., to speak with government agents about his discovery. The map is of New Britannia, a small island near the Azores. It was secretly established during the Revolutionary War, when relatives of famous colonial leaders relocated there temporarily, intending to return when England won. Now, the descendants of the original settlers are ruled by a woman called “Countess,” who’s related to King George III. Humby is sent to infiltrate New Britannia, but his mission to hide defense intelligence there soon proves problematic, due to his lack of impulse control. Horowitz has created an enjoyable, speculative scenario that asks what would have happened if England continued to rule an American colony. The author’s intriguing answer: Pretty much what happened in the United States, except that in this case, it takes a whole lot longer for modern-day descendants of Jefferson, Franklin, and Washington to reject taxation without representation. Throughout, Horowitz’s narrative is outlandish and amusing as Humby serves as a catalyst for the revolution in his own fumbling way—even though most people in New Britannia think him deranged. Many readers will find it to be a rollicking good read.

A fun alternative-history tale about a much-delayed American Revolution.

Pub Date: May 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4834-8436-5

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2018

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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