THE DUELING DUCHESS

An entertaining and heartfelt ode to the potential of second chances in love and life.

A skilled markswoman becomes the target of an impoverished duke.

As the daughter of a gun manufacturer patronized by the nobility, Cecile Tremblay was forced to flee France in the wake of the revolution. A teenager when she lost both home and family, Cecile has survived through sheer grit. She has gone from working at Farnham’s Fantastical Female Fayre as an adept and entertaining shooter to co-owning the circus. While she doesn't allow herself to think of her distant past, her recent encounter with Gaius Darlington, a duke who frequently appears in gossip columns as an inveterate skirt-chaser, refuses to leave her mind. After several passionate weeks together, the insolvent duke makes Cecile an insulting offer she cannot help but refuse. While Cecile is seething over Gaius’ treatment, he regrets that he cannot offer her more than a role as his mistress; the responsibilities he has toward his dukedom mean that he must quickly marry an heiress. But things change when a new claimant to his title causes Gaius to lose both position and fiancee, and he suddenly finds himself free to pursue Cecile. While Gaius is chasing a future with Cecile, trying to convince her of his feelings, Cecile’s past threatens to upset their dynamic once again. In this second installment of the Wicked Women of Whitechapel series, Gaius and Cecile’s story of reconciliation is peppered with spunk, angst, heat, and wit. Cecile’s talent with guns, which extends beyond an ability to unerringly hit a target, is juxtaposed intelligently with her vulnerability to emotions and circumstances. Although the repercussions of Gaius’ abrupt descent to penury remain underexplored, his emotional struggles and determination to win Cecile back inspire empathy.

An entertaining and heartfelt ode to the potential of second chances in love and life.

Pub Date: May 23, 2023

ISBN: 9781496738110

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

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HAPPY PLACE

A wistfully nostalgic look at endings, beginnings, and loving the people who will always have your back.

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Exes pretend they’re still together for the sake of their friends on their annual summer vacation.

Wyn Connor and Harriet Kilpatrick were the perfect couple—until Wyn dumped Harriet for reasons she still doesn’t fully understand. They’ve been part of the same boisterous friend group since college, and they know that their breakup will devastate the others and make things more than a little awkward. So they keep it a secret from their friends and families—in fact, Harriet barely even admits it to herself, focusing instead on her grueling hours as a surgical resident. She’s ready for a vacation at her happy place—the Maine cottage she and her friends visit every summer. But (surprise!) Wyn is there too, and he and Harriet have to share a (very romantic) room and a bed. Telling the truth about their breakup is out of the question, because the cottage is up for sale, and this is the group’s last hurrah. Determined to make sure everyone has the perfect last trip, Harriet and Wyn resolve to fake their relationship for the week. The problem with this plan, of course, is that Harriet still has major feelings for Wyn—feelings that only get stronger as they pretend to be blissfully in love. As always, Henry’s dialogue is sparkling and the banter between characters is snappy and hilarious. Wyn and Harriet’s relationship, shown both in the past and the present, feels achingly real. Their breakup, as well as their complicated relationships with their own families, adds a twinge of melancholy, as do the relatable growing pains of a group of friends whose lives are taking them in different directions.

A wistfully nostalgic look at endings, beginnings, and loving the people who will always have your back.

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 9780593441275

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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IT STARTS WITH US

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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