An enthralling, nontraditional romance accented with a little mystery.

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A Hero to Hold

The establishment of a Crimean War charity unites a gentlewoman and a dashing veteran in Humphreys’ debut Victorian romance novel.

Viscountess Charlotte Haliday suffered exile in the country following her husband’s suspicious murder. After she returns to London, her work for the Royal Patriotic Fund introduces her to David Scott, a Crimean War hero who’s more than capable of stirring her broken heart, despite his disabling injury: a Victoria Cross medal recipient and cavalry soldier, David’s legs were crushed under his fallen horse, leaving him wheelchair-bound. His work at the Royal Patriotic Fund assisting war widows gives him purpose, but navigating fashionable society as a disabled person remains challenging. Charlotte’s own search for meaning lands her a position assisting David, and their charitable natures draw them together: “David’s compass was clearly his heart,” Charlotte thinks. They begin as friends but quickly become lovers. They agree to an affaire de coeur without marriage, but their businesslike arrangement quickly deteriorates, both in the office and the bedroom, as their passion further ignites. When questions surrounding the murder of Charlotte’s husband resurface, threatening her reputation and spawning an attempt on her life, she and David must confront the true depth of their feelings. Humphreys’ exceptional debut utterly stuns with its professional style, natural dialogue, and extensive research. It’s dotted with minute details concerning the Crimean War throughout, elucidating David’s war service. It also skillfully incorporates facts about Queen Victoria’s reign and the founding of the charity into the plot. The depiction of David’s disability is overwhelmingly positive, focusing on his adaptability while still addressing his daily challenges; Charlotte, meanwhile, is appropriately solicitous but never condescending. The portrayal of such an unexpectedly unique couple in a scintillating, romantic, and highly erotic relationship is as refreshing as it is realistic.

An enthralling, nontraditional romance accented with a little mystery.

Pub Date: June 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5346-6229-2

Page Count: 306

Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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RIVER'S END

Though Roberts (The Reef, 1998, etc.) never writes badly, her newest mystery romance is more inconsistent than most. Little Olivia MacBride, daughter of two golden Hollywood superstars, wakes up one night to see her coked-up father holding her mother’s bloody body, a scissors in his hand. After her dad is led off to prison, Liv is sent to live with her grandparents, who run a successful lodge in the Olympic rain forest on the Washington coast—a location far across the continent from the Maryland shores of Roberts’s Quinn trilogy, but one that allows her to explore another place of life-giving scenic wonder. And when Liv grows up and becomes a naturalist/guide, she gets to take us on lots of eye-dazzling tours. Into her sheltered paradise comes Noah Brady, the son of the police detective who arrested Liv’s father and has been her friend since childhood. Noah has grown up to be a bestselling true-crime writer, and, against Liv’s will, he wants to write his next book about the MacBride murder case. (Liv’s dad, about to be released from San Quentin, is dying of brain cancer.) Though Liv fights her attraction to Noah, he’s a persistent boy, and on an extended and very sexy camping trip, the two become lovers. Meanwhile, the real murderer, whose identity will probably be obvious to most readers, leaves his own trail of violence up to Washington and a final prime-evil shoot-out. Added to Roberts’s poorly drawn mystery and her interlude of swell lusty love is her usual theme of how wounded children and inner children are healed and nurtured by good nuclear families. If the conventional wisdom is true, that romance readers never tire of reruns of the same old same old, then Roberts won’t have disappointed them.

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-14470-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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