If you like your romance with the sweetness of Mary Balogh’s novels or the anguish of Sherry Thomas’, this is one to cherish.

DISCOVERY OF DESIRE

How do two lovers, with nary an aristocratic title or fortune between them, find their happy-ever-after in 1850s Bombay and London?

In this lovely historical romance, Lord (In Search of Scandal, 2015, etc.) presents her protagonists with the challenge of joint penury. Seth Mayhew is a world explorer who finds botanical specimens for the avaricious East India Company but has little to show for it except a cottage in need of repair. His current voyage to India, moreover, is not for work but to search for his missing sister and an orphaned baby. Wilhelmina "Minnie" Adams is one of several indigent sisters and has sailed to Bombay to marry a company bureaucrat in order to save her family from ruin. When she and Seth meet, the chemistry is unmistakable, but the question of how they could be together without ending up hungry and homeless haunts them both. From such untenable circumstances, Lord builds a tender, layered narrative, shot through with moments of pathos and pleasure. When Minnie consoles Seth following his bewilderment at the East India Company’s indifference to his sister’s fate or when he sacrifices his heart for Minnie and her family’s financial security, the novel distinguishes itself from the run-of-the-mill Victorian romance. Lord is even able to present a fairly accurate picture of 19th-century Bombay through descriptions of neighborhoods and the use of dialogue in Marathi; these touches enhance the plot rather than serving as exotic color, always a threat in novels set outside the Anglosphere.

If you like your romance with the sweetness of Mary Balogh’s novels or the anguish of Sherry Thomas’, this is one to cherish.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4926-2353-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

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.

THE WITNESS

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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