CHANGE OF HEART

A supposedly modern young woman must choose between single motherhood and a full, happy life in this hopelessly dated and unconvincing melodrama, by the author of the equally dreadful But First for Love (1991) and This I Promise You (1989). Rushing from junior-college classes to joyous pre-wedding shopping sprees with her wealthy San Francisco grandmother, Nevada native Kerry McKinney leads such a treacly-perfect life that the reader can hardly wait for the axe to fall—this time in the form of a positive pregnancy test. Stunned, Kerry struggles to accustom herself to the idea of walking down the aisle with a very thick waist, but embarrassment soon gives way to dismay when Brad is killed in a car accident and Kerry must decide what to do about her now-fatherless unborn child. Running off to grandmother Lisbeth's Victorian mansion to think things through, Kerry learns that by great coincidence Lisbeth's new tenants, a professional couple, are dying to adopt a child. Lisbeth, convinced that Kerry can't possibly have a full life saddled with a baby, arranges for a post- pregnancy job at a trendy San Francisco magazine in exchange for Kerry's promise to hand the infant over to her tenants. Kerry obediently goes along with the plan until after her son is born, at which point she panics and decides to keep the baby—only to change her mind back again. Once the child is safely gone, Kerry is relieved to find she enjoys the magazine job, but then a visit to her infant son convinces our fickle heroine to fight for custody. The adoptive parents suffer paroxysms of anxiety over Kerry's decision, only to learn that Kerry, tempted by the love of a handsome law student, has once again decided to sign her baby over to them for good. Who are we supposed to cheer for here? Wooden dialogue, dated assumptions, and a host of whopping coincidences leave the reader caring not a whit where that baby goes.

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-684-81121-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1997

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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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