Sexy, witty adventure against a well-drawn historical background.

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WHITE ROSE

Time-travel romance about a high-powered Hollywood exec who moves back to the Wars of the Roses.

In this third of a series (Lady Robyn, 2003, etc.), we find Robyn Stafford once again in 21st-century England, though she wants nothing more than to return to 1461, where she is Lady Robyn of Pontefract, engaged to marry Edward Plantagenet, Prince of Wales. A budding witch, she hasn’t yet learned enough about her powers to travel through time at will; instead, she keeps being moved about either by accident or through the malice of her rivals. Just to make things even trickier, her Hollywood secretary, Heidi, a perpetually stoned Valley Girl, has come to England to help sort out things. Naturally, the two end up in 1461 together, in the west of Wales, where they’re immediately captured by Saxon warriors loyal to Edward’s enemies. When Owen Tudor claims them as his own, Heidi helpfully protects her boss from his advances by submitting to them herself. Soon, with the aid of her bag of Maui Wowie, she has the old Tudor under her thumb. Robyn makes her escape, and after several perils, is reunited with Edward. But the women are soon captured by another set of the prince’s enemies, who offer him the choice between marrying one of their daughters or being handed over to the Tudors—who are advancing with a large army swelled by French and Irish allies. Devising one ploy after another, Robyn (who has learned that she bears Edward’s child) manages time and again to save both herself and her royal fiancé—only to fall into the next diabolical trap. Garcia y Robertson plays entertainingly with the tropes of romance, time travel, and fantasy, resulting in a quick story with just enough humor to keep you from taking things for granted.

Sexy, witty adventure against a well-drawn historical background.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-312-86994-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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Despite the false start, this heartwarming story sweetly balances friendship and mother-child bonding with romantic love.

WINDOW ON THE BAY

Macomber (Be a Blessing, 2019, etc.) threatens to set her latest beach read in Paris, but her characters have other plans.

Maureen Zelinski and Jenna Boltz have been friends since college. Years ago, their plans to go to Paris were thwarted when Maureen found out she was pregnant. Now that they’re both single mothers whose children have left the nest, the time is right to dust off their passports and try again. In a somewhat disappointing turn of events, Maureen and Jenna don’t make it to Paris just yet. Instead, they stay in Seattle and pursue new love interests. Jenna, a nurse, meets orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rowan Lancaster in the emergency room after her mother falls and hurts her hip. Maureen, against her better judgment, accepts a date with Logan, a union plumber who frequents the library where she works. Jenna is afraid to date a co-worker after her workplace romance with her ex failed, but when Rowan proves to be a good listener, she’s more willing to discuss her options. Maureen doesn’t think she’ll fit in with Logan and his beer-drinking buddies, but she’s surprised when she enjoys their date at a football game. Meanwhile, Jenna worries about her children, Allie and Paul, as they navigate college and life. Though the story is primarily told from the two mothers’ perspectives, Allie breaks into the narrative with a surprising connection to Rowan. Maureen’s daughter, Tori, also takes on the role of confidante. The happy endings (and potential travel plans) unfold with a touch of realism to contrast the idyllic backdrop of the Pacific Northwest.

Despite the false start, this heartwarming story sweetly balances friendship and mother-child bonding with romantic love.

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-18133-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

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THE CITY WE BECAME

This extremely urban fantasy, a love/hate song to and rallying cry for the author’s home of New York, expands her story “The City, Born Great” (from How Long ’Til Black Future Month, 2018).

When a great city reaches the point when it's ready to come to life, it chooses a human avatar, who guides the city through its birthing and contends with an extradimensional Enemy who seeks to strike at this vulnerable moment. Now, it is New York City’s time to be born, but its avatar is too weakened by the battle to complete the process. So each of the individual boroughs instantiates its own avatar to continue the fight. Manhattan is a multiracial grad student new to the city with a secret violent past that he can no longer quite remember; Brooklyn is an African American rap star–turned–lawyer and city councilwoman; Queens is an Indian math whiz here on a visa; the Bronx is a tough Lenape woman who runs a nonprofit art center; and Staten Island is a frightened and insular Irish American woman who wants nothing to do with the other four. Can these boroughs successfully awaken and heal their primary avatar and repel the invading white tentacles of the Enemy? The novel is a bold calling out of the racial tensions dividing not only New York City, but the U.S. as a whole; it underscores that people of color are an integral part of the city’s tapestry even if some white people prefer to treat them as interlopers. It's no accident that the only white avatar is the racist woman representing Staten Island, nor that the Enemy appears as a Woman in White who employs the forces of racism and gentrification in her invasion; her true self is openly inspired by the tropes of the xenophobic author H.P. Lovecraft. Although the story is a fantasy, many aspects of the plot draw on contemporary incidents. In the real world, white people don’t need a nudge from an eldritch abomination to call down a violent police reaction on people of color innocently conducting their daily lives, and just as in the book, third parties are fraudulently transferring property deeds from African American homeowners in Brooklyn, and gentrification forces out the people who made the neighborhood attractive in the first place. In the face of these behaviors, whataboutism, #BothSides, and #NotAllWhitePeople are feeble arguments.

Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-50984-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Orbit

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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