An erotic, if occasionally frustrating, guilty pleasure about a suspicious wife.

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You and I

THE KATE AND ROBERT CHRONICLES

A newlywed’s blissful marriage becomes clouded by secrets from her husband’s past.

In Eglington’s (Beckham 101, 2016, etc.) sequel, Kate Quinn can hardly believe her good fortune. A dedicated nurse, she spent seven years in a comfortable, if unfulfilling, relationship with her first boyfriend, Scott Lawton. When she discovers his infidelity, she ends the liaison only to discover his friend Robert Beckham has wanted to date her for the past six years. They fall in love and marry in Las Vegas just days later. After a whirlwind honeymoon, they return home and start planning their family. Robert wants nothing more than to keep Kate secure, insisting that she quit her job and check in with him while he’s at work. He even accompanies her to the gynecologist to find out when it is safe for her to conceive. When they travel to Ireland and England to meet Robert’s family, including his mother, Emma, and father and stepmother, Richard and Sylvia, she discovers he may be harboring a few secrets. A violent fight at an Irish pub, intimations of illicit undercover work, and a frosty relationship with Sylvia all hint at a dark side to Robert. What will Kate risk in order to uncover the truth? Eglington’s sequel enlarges her storytelling canvas by introducing Kate’s and Robert’s extended families and wide circle of friends; however, the character development remains uneven. Although the sex scenes between Kate and Robert continue to provide erotic sizzle, the novel truly succeeds when the focus shifts to their interactions with their respective families, particularly Robert’s relationship with his divorced parents. Emma and Richard are strong supporting characters, and their continued attraction to each other is touching and bittersweet. Despite the book’s strong elements, Eglington misses an opportunity to fully explore some of Kate’s choices. Kate willingly gives up her career and freedom only to realize that she doesn’t even know how much Robert makes a year. She’s so naïve at times that some readers may agree with her friend Pepper’s astute observation that the marriage was “not thought through fully.”

An erotic, if occasionally frustrating, guilty pleasure about a suspicious wife. 

Pub Date: March 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5144-7276-7

Page Count: 500

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

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Chwast and Twain are a match made in heaven.

A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT

Design veteran Chwast delivers another streamlined, graphic adaptation of classic literature, this time Mark Twain’s caustic, inventive satire of feudal England.

Chwast (Tall City, Wide Country, 2013, etc.) has made hay anachronistically adapting classic texts, whether adding motorcycles to The Canterbury Tales (2011) or rocket ships to The Odyssey (2012), so Twain’s tale of a modern-day (well, 19th-century) engineer dominating medieval times via technology—besting Merlin with blasting powder—is a fastball down the center. (The source material already had knights riding bicycles!) In Chwast’s rendering, bespectacled hero Hank Morgan looks irresistible, plated in armor everywhere except from his bow tie to the top of his bowler hat, sword cocked behind head and pipe clenched in square jaw. Inexplicably sent to sixth-century England by a crowbar to the head, Morgan quickly ascends nothing less than the court of Camelot, initially by drawing on an uncanny knowledge of historical eclipses to present himself as a powerful magician. Knowing the exact date of a celestial event from more than a millennium ago is a stretch, but the charm of Chwast’s minimalistic adaption is that there are soon much better things to dwell on, such as the going views on the church, politics and society, expressed as a chart of literal back-stabbing and including a note that while the upper class may murder without consequence, it’s kill and be killed for commoners and slaves. Morgan uses his new station as “The Boss” to better the primitive populous via telegraph lines, newspapers and steamboats, but it’s the deplorably savage civility of the status quo that he can’t overcome, even with land mines, Gatling guns and an electric fence. The subject of class manipulation—and the power of passion over reason—is achingly relevant, and Chwast’s simple, expressive illustrations resonate with a childlike earnestness, while his brief, pointed annotations add a sly acerbity. His playful mixing of perspectives within single panels gives the work an aesthetic somewhere between medieval tapestry and Colorforms.

Chwast and Twain are a match made in heaven.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60819-961-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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A not-very-illuminating updating of Chaucer’s Tales.

THE CANTERBURY TALES

A RETELLING

Continuing his apparent mission to refract the whole of English culture and history through his personal lens, Ackroyd (Thames: The Biography, 2008, etc.) offers an all-prose rendering of Chaucer’s mixed-media masterpiece.

While Burton Raffel’s modern English version of The Canterbury Tales (2008) was unabridged, Ackroyd omits both “The Tale of Melibee” and “The Parson’s Tale” on the undoubtedly correct assumption that these “standard narratives of pious exposition” hold little interest for contemporary readers. Dialing down the piety, the author dials up the raunch, freely tossing about the F-bomb and Anglo-Saxon words for various body parts that Chaucer prudently described in Latin. Since “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” and “The Miller’s Tale,” for example, are both decidedly earthy in Middle English, the interpolated obscenities seem unnecessary as well as jarringly anachronistic. And it’s anyone’s guess why Ackroyd feels obliged redundantly to include the original titles (“Here bigynneth the Squieres Tales,” etc.) directly underneath the new ones (“The Squires Tale,” etc.); these one-line blasts of antique spelling and diction remind us what we’re missing without adding anything in the way of comprehension. The author’s other peculiar choice is to occasionally interject first-person comments by the narrator where none exist in the original, such as, “He asked me about myself then—where I had come from, where I had been—but I quickly turned the conversation to another course.” There seems to be no reason for these arbitrary elaborations, which muffle the impact of those rare times in the original when Chaucer directly addresses the reader. Such quibbles would perhaps be unfair if Ackroyd were retelling some obscure gem of Old English, but they loom larger with Chaucer because there are many modern versions of The Canterbury Tales. Raffel’s rendering captured a lot more of the poetry, while doing as good a job as Ackroyd with the vigorous prose.

A not-very-illuminating updating of Chaucer’s Tales.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-670-02122-2

Page Count: 436

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

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