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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Reid’s tome on married life is as uplifting as it is brutally honest—a must-read for anyone who is in (or hopes to be in) a...

AFTER I DO

An unhappily married couple spends a year apart in Reid’s (Forever, Interrupted, 2013) novel about second chances.

When we meet Lauren, she and her husband, Ryan, are having a meltdown trying to find their car in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium after a game. Through a series of flashbacks, Lauren reveals how the two of them went from being inseparable to being insufferable in each other’s eyes—and in desperate need of a break. Both their courtship and their fights seem so ordinary—they met in college; he doesn’t like Greek food—that the most heartbreaking part of their pending separation is deciding who will get custody of their good-natured dog. It’s not until Ryan moves out that the juicy details emerge. Lauren surreptitiously logs into his email one day, in a fit of missing him, and discovers a bunch of emails to her that he had saved but not sent. Liberated by Ryan’s candor, Lauren saves her replies for him to find, and the two of them read each other’s unfiltered thoughts as they go about their separate lives. Neither character holds anything back, which makes the healing process more complex, and more compelling, than simply getting revenge or getting one’s groove back. Meanwhile, as Lauren spends more time with her family and friends, she explores the example set for her by her parents and learns that there are many ways to be happy. It’s never clear until the final pages whether living alone will bring Lauren and Ryan back together or force them apart forever. But when the year is up, the resolution is neither sappy nor cynical; it’s arrived at after an honest assessment of what each partner can’t live with and can’t live without.

Reid’s tome on married life is as uplifting as it is brutally honest—a must-read for anyone who is in (or hopes to be in) a committed relationship.

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1284-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Washington Square/Pocket

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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Entertaining and unpredictable; Reid makes a compelling argument for happiness in every life.

MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE

Reid’s latest (After I Do, 2014, etc.) explores two parallel universes in which a young woman hopes to find her soul mate and change her life for the better.

After ending an affair with a married man, Hannah Martin is reunited with her high school sweetheart, Ethan, at a bar in Los Angeles. Should she go home with her friends and catch up with him later, or should they stay out and have another drink? It doesn’t seem like either decision would have earth-shattering consequences, but Reid has a knack for finding skeletons in unexpected closets. Two vastly different scenarios play out in alternating chapters: in one, Hannah and Ethan reconnect as if no time has passed; in the other, Hannah lands in the hospital alone after a freak accident that marks the first of many surprising plot twists. Hannah’s best friend, Gabby, believes in soul mates, and though Hannah has trouble making decisions—even when picking a snack from a vending machine—she and Gabby discover how their belief systems can alter their world as much as their choices. “Believing in fate is like living on cruise control,” Hannah says. What follows is a thoughtful analysis of free will versus fate in which Hannah finds that disasters can bring unexpected blessings, blessings can bring unexpected disasters, and that most people are willing to bring Hannah her favorite cinnamon rolls. “Because even when it looks like she’s made a terrible mistake,” Hannah’s mother observes, “things will always work out for Hannah.” The larger question becomes whether Hannah’s choices will ultimately affect her happiness—and it’s one that’s answered on a hopeful note as Hannah tries to do the right thing in every situation she faces.

Entertaining and unpredictable; Reid makes a compelling argument for happiness in every life.

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7688-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Washington Square/Pocket

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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