THE DIFFERENCE

Though Goodwin's romances are usually set in the past, they will often poke into the presentlike The Rising Storm (1993) and also this tale of 22 years of marital dustups, another family saga filled with chirrupy cocktail banter and posh digs. In England circa 1972, Eleanor (19) spends a satisfying night of lust with kind, gentlemanly, Foreign Office-bound Hugo, neighbor and brother of Eleanor's friend Agnes. The result, unfortunately, is that Eleanor ends up pregnant. Hugo is delighted and proposes immediately; Eleanor, not in love, thinks of abortion; while Agnes, in Paris, tries to help but fails, and Eleanor's sire, wealthy advertising magnate Walter, opens his wallet but not his heart. (Walter has been fairly rotten to Eleanor all her life because her mother, the beautiful, empty-headed Sara, left him and remarried.) Eventually, Eleanor gives in and marries Hugo. Then, five years later, he's transferred to BrazilGoodwin does a lively critical scan of the instant city Brasiliaand bored Eleanor, her daughter Joanna's care in the hands of loving servants, has a roaring love affair with a glittering Brazilian. She also tracks down her mother, married to a scary billionaire, ``still wanting love and missing the point,'' and still no mental giant. Meanwhile, Eleanor's affair is discovered, and Hugo furiously demands divorce. Back to London, divorce, a job, another marriage to attractive Sandy, an advertising hotshot, and a son, Paul. All of which make for happy days until Eleanor learns that Sandy has been bedding (among others) her best friend. So it's back to basics: divorce again, calm talks with Hugo, and grudging acceptance by his aging mother, a severe French countess who is now a devoted grandmother to Joanna and Paul in the decaying family mansion. A shade filmy, like most Goodwin romances, but with all the usual lilt and lift as chatty characters bumble along.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-312-13051-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1995

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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

THE DECEPTION

A successful businesswoman hires a smooth-talking bounty hunter to find a lead on her sister’s murder.

Kate Gallagher was the only one available to identify her younger sister Chrissy’s body after she was found dead, having run away from home two years earlier. Since Chrissy succumbed to drugs and turned to sex work to survive, her murder isn't taken seriously by the local homicide department. Kate is filled with grief and regret at not having been there for her sister, and she’s determined to find her killer as a kind of penance. Jason Maddox is the charming man Kate almost hooked up with at a local bar. He also happens to be on the payroll of the most successful investigation company in Dallas. He’s all too eager to help Kate out and spend more time getting to know the blonde he danced with at the Sagebrush Saloon. At first, Kate and Jason vow to keep things professional until the case is solved; there’s obvious attraction that they’re willing to pursue at a later date. But the increasing sense of danger mixed with Kate and Jason’s close proximity proves to be too heady of a combination. The tension never lets up as the pair visit seedy bars and interrogate unsavory characters. With a steamy romance and undeniably hot chemistry, the main characters are well matched. They’re both driven, slightly stubborn, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of catching criminals. Martin (The Conspiracy, 2019, etc.) doesn’t skimp on graphic, violent details as Chrissy’s murder leads her couple to something much bigger: human trafficking. Though not for the faint of heart given its weighty material, this is an un-put-down-able page-turner that’s sure to satisfy fans of romance and thrillers alike.

A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-00769-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin HQN

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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