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



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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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A promising start to a series, provided Roberts can flesh out her derivative heroine.


A young woman in hiding from the Russian mob faces a difficult decision when she falls in love with a cop.

Abigail, 28, lives alone in the bucolic hamlet of Bickford, Ark., in an isolated house, fortified with firearms, a state-of-the-art alarm system and a vicious dog named Bert. When the town’s genial police chief, Brooks, suspects Abigail is packing while shopping for gourmet groceries, his curiosity soon morphs into courtship. Although she finds herself drawn to Brooks and to his welcoming, bohemian family, Abigail dares not reveal that her real name is Liz—which is not the only way in which she appears to be Roberts’ answer to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Gifted with an eidetic memory, an IQ over 200 and an affinity for cool, calculated mayhem, Liz/Abigail is a skilled hacker and a highly paid security consultant. In her spare time she investigates the Russian mob and the crooked federal agents who are responsible for her current predicament; whenever possible, she throws virtual monkey wrenches into the mob’s Internet scams. When she witnesses an altercation between Brooks and the wastrel son of a local magnate, she’s thrust back into the horror of the last time she witnessed a crime. At 16, rebelling against an unloving, controlling mother, Liz and a girlfriend, Julie, visited a Chicago nightclub run by the Russian Mafia, where Ilya, son of gang kingpin Sergei, and Alexi, a cousin, seduced them with Cosmos. Later, at Alexi’s lakeside home, Liz was an unseen witness to a hit on Alexi by Sergei’s enforcers, who also killed Julie. Managing to escape, Liz was forced to run again when two dirty FBI agents destroyed her safe house and murdered her guards. A person of interest to both the Feds and the mob, she’s been on the lam for 12 years. Before they can marry, Brooks must help Liz come in from the cold.

A promising start to a series, provided Roberts can flesh out her derivative heroine.

Pub Date: April 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-15912-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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