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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Roberts does it again with this fast-paced romantic mystery that's both steamy and thrilling, despite its somewhat obvious...

BLUE SMOKE

Beautiful Italian babe with a passion for fire and doomed hunks joins the arson squad and discovers that someone has held a torch for her since she was a child.

When Reena Hale is 11 years old, she watches her family's Baltimore pizzeria go up in flames. Thanks to a local arson detective, John Minger, and the girl's keen memory, police determine that a neighborhood crook whose young son had recently attacked Reena was out for revenge, and soon cops publicly haul the dirt bag off to jail. The large and loving Hale family bands together and rebuilds; Reena grows up curious about the origins of fire. She attends college and, after her boyfriend dies in an accident, joins the police force and learns the inner workings of the fire department. Eventually, she teams with Minger to solve the city's suspicious fires. Meanwhile, over the years, a shady character has been hiding in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to violently sabotage Reena's relationships (usually with the help of explosives). Somehow Reena doesn't put together that all of her boyfriends have been in the path of catastrophic (occasionally deadly) events, so her stalker hits the phone lines to clue her in with dirty messages that become more and more intimate. When Reena launches a torrid love affair with her new neighbor, whose truck soon explodes, she begins to get it. Fearing for her family's safety, Reena reopens past cases and learns that her troubles started when she was a child. The tale builds to a breathless climax as she (literally) races to beat out the flames of one fire before determining where the next one will be set.

Roberts does it again with this fast-paced romantic mystery that's both steamy and thrilling, despite its somewhat obvious nature.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-15306-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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