A faltering story rescued by an engaging premise.

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THE BOY TOY

A 37-year-old Indian Australian woman's assumptions about love and relationships are shaken by a White stuntman 10 years her junior.

Physical therapist Samira Broderick moved from Melbourne to Los Angeles in the aftermath of a painful divorce, needing to get away from her Indian mother’s relentless matchmaking. Almost a decade later, she has returned, leaving her bustling LA practice to work for her cousin’s new health and fitness enterprise. Samira resents her mother's involvement in her failed arranged marriage and dislikes her mother's interference in her currently floundering love life, but she still hopes her return can help heal old wounds. With a plate so full, Samira is not looking for anything permanent when she has a one-night stand with Rory Radcliffe. Rory moves on from partners quickly because he feels the need to hide his stutter—a need that's also forced the talented stuntman to avoid roles requiring him to talk. But when he gets an opportunity to audition as the host of Renegades, a reality show touted as Australia’s “next big thing,” Rory decides to find a dialect coach and make an attempt. Though they had a wonderful night together, Rory decides to forget about Samira and focus on the audition—but his plans are derailed when he discovers that she's his coach. Marsh turns an insightful and sensitive lens on the role of the body in matters of self-image and love. But Samira and Rory are so wrapped up in the caprices of their own hearts, minds, and bodies that there's little room for them to truly discover each other. Marsh tries to sketch a portrait of Indian culture by including references to various food preparations, but she misses the opportunity to comment on the complexities of community ties in the Indian diaspora, where judgmental attitudes can co-exist with support and empathy.

A faltering story rescued by an engaging premise.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593198-62-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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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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Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an...

ONE DAY IN DECEMBER

True love flares between two people, but they find that circumstances always impede it.

On a winter day in London, Laurie spots Jack from her bus home and he sparks a feeling in her so deep that she spends the next year searching for him. Her roommate and best friend, Sarah, is the perfect wing-woman but ultimately—and unknowingly—ends the search by finding Jack and falling for him herself. Laurie’s hasty decision not to tell Sarah is the second painful missed opportunity (after not getting off the bus), but Sarah’s happiness is so important to Laurie that she dedicates ample energy into retraining her heart not to love Jack. Laurie is misguided, but her effort and loyalty spring from a true heart, and she considers her project mostly successful. Perhaps she would have total success, but the fact of the matter is that Jack feels the same deep connection to Laurie. His reasons for not acting on them are less admirable: He likes Sarah and she’s the total package; why would he give that up just because every time he and Laurie have enough time together (and just enough alcohol) they nearly fall into each other’s arms? Laurie finally begins to move on, creating a mostly satisfying life for herself, whereas Jack’s inability to be genuine tortures him and turns him into an ever bigger jerk. Patriarchy—it hurts men, too! There’s no question where the book is going, but the pacing is just right, the tone warm, and the characters sympathetic, even when making dumb decisions.

Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an emotional, satisfying read.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-57468-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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