HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK

McMillan (Waiting to Exhale, 1992, etc.) takes it easy with this tossed-together tale of a 42-year-old black, female professional who falls for a young Jamaican cook. The love story provides a suitable frame for the author's trademark charm and credible sense of black middle-class values, but sloppy prose and a single, rather solitary protagonist fail to give readers the synergistic magic of the earlier book. Stella Payne has it all—a charming 11-year-old son, a beautiful house north of San Francisco, and a high-paying job as a financial systems analyst. So why isn't she happy? For three years- -since her divorce from the man who talked her into abandoning her art-furniture business in favor of a more lucrative career—Stella has had no serious love interest in her life. When her son, Quincy, flies off to visit his father, workaholic Stella spontaneously signs up for nine days alone at a resort in Jamaica. The last thing she expects to find is an unquenchable passion for a 20-year-old chef's assistant; on her return home, she discovers that she can't quite relegate her happy thoughts of Winston Shakespeare to the vacation-fling portion of her memory bank. So Stella arranges for Winston to visit her in San Francisco—where the easygoing boy charms her son, her sisters, and her friends, and even talks Stella into dumping the stock exchange and returning to her artist's life. Despite Stella's repeated protests that Winston must be out of his mind, there are few serious barriers to this MayOctober love affair. Long, run-on, train-of-consciousness sentences give the impression less of the characters' mental states than of a hastily written novel. One hopes McMillan will follow her heroine's example and slow down a little on her next book. (First printing of 750,000; serial rights to People and Essence; Book-of-the-Month Club main selection; author tour)

Pub Date: May 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-670-86990-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1996

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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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An entertaining page-turner.

MET HER MATCH

Terri Rayburn is devastated that her perfect man belongs to someone else, but once Nate Taggert realizes that Terri's the one for him, her complicated past still stands in the way of their being together.

Terri is attracted to Nate the moment she lays eyes on him, and soon they fall into an easy partnership at the Virginia lake resort she runs with her father. Nate is upfront about being engaged to the mayor’s daughter, Stacy, but she’s in Europe for a few weeks, and it quickly becomes clear to Terri that Nate and Stacy aren’t a great match. However, Terri, whose mother left when she was 2, has always had a problematic relationship with the citizens of Summer Hill. Since Leslie disappeared, the town gossip has made sure everyone remembers her as a promiscuous vixen, a label which tainted Terri as she got older and made her look like a problem when, as Nate begins to understand, she was really a victim. It’s clear to everyone around them that they are falling in love, but even as Nate realizes it himself, Terri is adamant that they can’t be together. She won’t steal him from the popular Stacy because it would mean she’d never be able to live in Summer Hill, and she won’t abandon her father. Deveraux spins an intriguing and unorthodox romance, continuing her Summer Hill branch of the Taggert/Montgomery series with two characters who have some unique, interesting obstacles in their paths and navigate through them with secrets uncovered and old wounds healed. The story is well plotted, though Nate is unnecessarily oblivious sometimes and the book takes an unexpected swing into romantic suspense territory in the last quarter. The solved mystery resolves Nate and Terri’s conflict, though the villain’s motivations seem a little cartoonish.

An entertaining page-turner.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7783-5124-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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