AMANDA/MIRANDA

Peck has unearthed one of the hoariest of chimney-corner romantic devices—the wobbly course of love and intrigue when two young things of diverse origins and temperament look exactly alike and cross destinies; and he displays it here in late-Edwardian satin, with agile prose and a straight face. Amanda, witchy and beautiful daughter of Lady Eleanor and Sir Timothy Whitwell of the Isle of Wight and London, has been born to command. . . while her look-alike, poor Mary Cooke (renamed Miranda), has been trained, in a hard-scrabble childhood, to serve. Thus, when Amanda begins thrashing with passion for chauffeur John Thorne, she snares Miranda for her personal maid and plots to marry her to Thorne. The plan succeeds—and Amanda, three months pregnant with Thorne's child, then accepts the proposal of nice idealistic American Gregory Forrest. The wedding is to be in New York, and with Thorne and Miranda attending the bridal couple in America, Amanda can carry on her affair with Thorne with Miranda as a visual cover. (Anyone would assume the woman in his arms to be wife Miranda.) So off go the two women to America—on the Titanic, of course—and in the midst of mid-Atlantic disaster, Miranda (though bitter about her mistress' nasty doings) tries to save Amanda. . . who dies in the cabin of a shipboard lover. (Thorne will take another liner.) Miranda is just barely rescued, badly injured about the face, and—what else? She drifts into the role of Amanda, marries an initially-fooled Gregory (Thorne visits, penetrates the disguise, but takes a decent farewell), has two children with her loving husband, and (very sweetly and quietly) has the soft last laugh. Throughout, there are subplot and character diversions aplenty: a dark ghostly matter involving the Whitwell's "dead" son; the bright pan-banging gossip of servants; the mayfly nuptial dance of a straggly housemaid. And the proceedings are always accompanied by parades of viands and sumptuous living. All in all, a gorgeously romantic, implausible affair comfy as eiderdown.

Pub Date: March 11, 1980

ISBN: 0141312173

Page Count: 178

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1980

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Exactly what the title promises.

BETTER THAN THE MOVIES

A grieving teen’s devotion to romance films might ruin her chances at actual romance.

Liz Buxbaum has always adored rom-coms, not least for helping her still feel close to her screenwriter mother, who died when she was little. Liz hopes that her senior year might turn into a real-life romantic fantasy, as an old crush has moved back to town, cuter and nicer than ever. Surely she can get Michael to ask her to prom. If only Wes, the annoying boy next door, would help her with her scheming! This charming, fluffy concoction manages to pack into one goofy plot every conceivable trope, from fake dating to the makeover to the big misunderstanding. Creative, quirky, daydreaming Liz is just shy of an annoying stereotype, saved by a dry wit and unresolved grief and anger. Wes makes for a delightful bad boy with a good heart, and supporting characters—including a sassy best friend, a perfect popular rival, even a (not really) evil stepmother—all get the opportunity to transcend their roles. The only villain here is Liz’s lovelorn imagination, provoking her into foolish lies that cause actual hurt feelings; but she is sufficiently self-aware to make amends just in time for the most important trope of all: a blissfully happy ending. All characters seem to be White by default.

Exactly what the title promises. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6762-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more