A DUKE, THE LADY, AND A BABY

From the Rogues and Remarkable Women series , Vol. 1

A slow, almost stolid, story of how a family develops against great odds.

A woman must infiltrate her own home in order to care for her infant son after the death of her husband.

Patience is a West Indian heiress who married Colin Jordan, a proper English gentleman. Patience loved her husband, but he became remote and distant over the course of their brief marriage and died before meeting their now 3-month-old son, Lionel. Colin’s evil uncle, Markham, forcibly removes Patience from her home and sends her to Bedlam, the mental asylum, hoping to gain control of her large trust by claiming he is Lionel’s sole remaining relative. After escaping Bedlam with a friend, Patience is determined to find a way to regain control of her trust and take Lionel back to her home island, where he will be safe. Her plan is thrown into chaos with the arrival of Colin’s cousin and heir, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, who inherited their home and is Lionel’s true legal guardian. Busick fires all the servants and bans Markham from the house, paving the way for Patience to disguise herself as a wet nurse for Lionel. Although Busick cares for Lionel and wants to be a good guardian, Patience can’t trust him with her secrets. Busick already believes she abandoned Lionel, and he’ll never understand the toxic mix of racism and sexism that allowed Markham to get rid of her so easily. Riley’s use of first-person narration for Patience highlights both her desperation to save her son and her ability to see how English society has failed them. Slowly, Patience learns to trust Busick, and they decide to work together to bring down Markham. The Duke’s affection for Lionel and the way the three bond as a family is the primary love story; Busick and Patience's romantic relationship as partners and lovers is underdeveloped and emotionally flat.

A slow, almost stolid, story of how a family develops against great odds.

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4201-5223-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Zebra/Kensington

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

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A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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THE LITTLE LIAR

A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

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Truth and deception clash in this tale of the Holocaust.

Udo Graf is proud that the Wolf has assigned him the task of expelling all 50,000 Jews from Salonika, Greece. In that city, Nico Krispis is an 11-year-old Jewish boy whose blue eyes and blond hair deceive, but whose words do not. Those who know him know he has never told a lie in his life—“Never be the one to tell lies, Nico,” his grandfather teaches him. “God is always watching.” Udo and Nico meet, and Udo decides to exploit the child’s innocence. At the train station where Jews are being jammed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, Udo gives Nico a yellow star to wear and persuades him to whisper among the crowd, “I heard it from a German officer. They are sending us to Poland. We will have new homes. And jobs.” The lad doesn’t know any better, so he helps persuade reluctant Jews to board the train to hell. “You were a good little liar,” Udo later tells Nico, and delights in the prospect of breaking the boy’s spirit, which is more fun and a greater challenge than killing him outright. When Nico realizes the horrific nature of what he's done, his truth-telling days are over. He becomes an inveterate liar about everything. Narrating the story is the Angel of Truth, whom according to a parable God had cast out of heaven and onto earth, where Truth shattered into billions of pieces, each to lodge in a human heart. (Obviously, many hearts have been missed.) Truth skillfully weaves together the characters, including Nico; his brother, Sebastian; Sebastian’s wife, Fannie; and the “heartless deceiver” Udo. Events extend for decades beyond World War II, until everyone’s lives finally collide in dramatic fashion. As Truth readily acknowledges, his account is loaded with twists and turns, some fortuitous and others not. Will Nico Krispis ever seek redemption? And will he find it? Author Albom’s passion shows through on every page in this well-crafted novel.

A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9780062406651

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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