An entertaining romance nicely balanced between hot-and-bothered lust and droll dramedy of manners.

MY DARLING DUKE

A woman’s scam of passing herself off as a duke’s fiancee succeeds all too well in this Regency love story.

Impoverished viscount’s daughter Katherine “Kitty” Danvers doesn’t have enough dowry money to snag decent marriage proposals for herself or her sisters. But she has a plan for that: tell London’s gossip columnists that she is engaged to Alexander Masters, duke of Thornton, so that fashionable hostesses will invite the Danverses to parties and connections-seeking swains will vie for her sisters’ hands. That it’s all a lie doesn’t matter, Kitty reasons, because the reclusive duke, immured in his remote Scottish castle for the last seven years, will never hear of her fraud. Kitty instantly becomes the toast of London’s ballrooms. When Alexander’s puzzled lawyer makes inquiries, she bluffs him and winds up with a mansion and credit lines at the best shops, all billed to the duke. Then Alexander, who does indeed read the society pages, shows up at a ball Kitty is attending. The jig seems to be up, but Alexander is intrigued by her gorgeous eyes and sheer chutzpah. Kitty, in turn, finds Alexander roguishly sexy despite the injuries from a fire that have scarred half his face, made walking difficult, and rendered him impotent. Alexander agrees to keep Kitty’s secret but only if she spends a fortnight at his castle without a chaperone, a proposition so outrageously improper that she almost declines it. Thrown into improbable intimacies—a bridge collapse necessitates their helping each other out of their wet clothes—their fencing gives way to kissing and much more until Alexander’s guilt at not being able to give Kitty children threatens to end their now authentic-feeling engagement. Reid’s (Sophia and the Duke, 2019, etc.) adept take on “Beauty and the Beast,” the first installment of her Sinful Wallflowers series, sends up Austen-esque social conventions while nicely teasing out their dramatic tensions and adding some Twain-ian rascalry. The sparkling story features lively characters with plenty of raffish charm and prose that’s snappy while retaining an elegant period feel. (“So you do not regret riding astride…twice, daring to attend Lady Appleby’s ball without a corset, and rescuing a cat in a tree?” Alexander prods, citing Kitty’s much-reported transgressions against feminine decorum.) The result is a stylish yarn with real literary chops.

An entertaining romance nicely balanced between hot-and-bothered lust and droll dramedy of manners.

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-745-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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