Instead of purveying such copycat fables, Medeiros would be better off sticking to the witchy romances she does best.

READ REVIEW

THE BRIDE AND THE BEAST

A first hardcover in the warmed-over fairy-tale tradition of Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood.

The bride is Gwendolyn Wilder, the only maiden in a Scottish glen where most virginity is only a memory at 15; the beast is Bernard MacCullough, laird of the glen who has returned to his broken-down castle to find out which of the villagers of Ballybliss betrayed his parents to the English. Bernard has kept his people away from Castle Weyrcraig by pretending to be the “Dragon.” He and his sidekick Tupper get their victuals by sending threatening shopping lists to the village. The mention of innocent blood in one message leads the frightened glen folk to tie Gwendolyn to a stake in the castle courtyard, in case the Dragon has a taste for virgins. Bernard cuts her down and plies her with room and board. He’s afraid that if he lets her go, she’ll blow his plans for revenge. As the Dragon visits her under cover of darkness, so that she won’t recognize him, Gwendolyn falls in love with him. He doesn’t seem to mind that she’s a bit chubby. He likes her curves, her spirit, and her intelligence. Before she gets a chance to offer him her virginity, though, the villagers return to slay the Dragon themselves. To save Gwendolyn’s life, Bernard reveals himself to his people. Heartbroken when she learns her sexy beast is just another guy, Gwendolyn rushes home, where she has spent much of her life tending to her mad father, the traitor Bernard has been seeking. When he learns her secret, Bernard tells Gwendolyn he’ll spare her dad if she’ll marry him. After an awkward dénouement, the couple will move quickly to happily-ever-after.

Instead of purveying such copycat fables, Medeiros would be better off sticking to the witchy romances she does best.

Pub Date: June 13, 2000

ISBN: 0-553-80125-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE GLASS HOTEL

A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Despite the false start, this heartwarming story sweetly balances friendship and mother-child bonding with romantic love.

WINDOW ON THE BAY

Macomber (Be a Blessing, 2019, etc.) threatens to set her latest beach read in Paris, but her characters have other plans.

Maureen Zelinski and Jenna Boltz have been friends since college. Years ago, their plans to go to Paris were thwarted when Maureen found out she was pregnant. Now that they’re both single mothers whose children have left the nest, the time is right to dust off their passports and try again. In a somewhat disappointing turn of events, Maureen and Jenna don’t make it to Paris just yet. Instead, they stay in Seattle and pursue new love interests. Jenna, a nurse, meets orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rowan Lancaster in the emergency room after her mother falls and hurts her hip. Maureen, against her better judgment, accepts a date with Logan, a union plumber who frequents the library where she works. Jenna is afraid to date a co-worker after her workplace romance with her ex failed, but when Rowan proves to be a good listener, she’s more willing to discuss her options. Maureen doesn’t think she’ll fit in with Logan and his beer-drinking buddies, but she’s surprised when she enjoys their date at a football game. Meanwhile, Jenna worries about her children, Allie and Paul, as they navigate college and life. Though the story is primarily told from the two mothers’ perspectives, Allie breaks into the narrative with a surprising connection to Rowan. Maureen’s daughter, Tori, also takes on the role of confidante. The happy endings (and potential travel plans) unfold with a touch of realism to contrast the idyllic backdrop of the Pacific Northwest.

Despite the false start, this heartwarming story sweetly balances friendship and mother-child bonding with romantic love.

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-18133-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more