A heartwarming story about faith and starting over.

COWBOY FOR HIRE

From the Wishing River series , Vol. 2

An unexpected relationship blooms in rural Montana in James’ latest romance novel, the second in her Wishing River series.

After her widowed mother died, Sarah Turner suddenly found herself in charge of the vast Montana ranch that had been in her family for generations. She’s shy but strong-willed; however, she feels overwhelmed with the staggering responsibility of running the ranch. Thankfully, she has her loyal housekeeper, Edna Casey, by her side, but even Sarah knows she’ll need to hire more help if she’s to get the ranch back on its feet. So when she puts an ad in the local paper for a ranch foreman, the last thing she’s expecting is romance. But that’s just what she gets when the ruggedly handsome Cade Walker comes into her life. Cade and Sarah seem to come from two different worlds, but that doesn’t stop the sparks from flying every time they’re together. As their feelings for each other become undeniable, Sarah feels that she must choose between her newfound independence and a chance at true love. The shadow of Sarah’s family tragedy offers fine character motivation and conflict; the emotional turmoil feels genuine and never overdone, and it’s interesting to see how it shapes her decisions: “She asked to have the strength to continue living without them. She prayed to God that she would one day find her purpose, a man to love, a family to raise.” Still, there’s also plenty of humor and tongue-in-cheek banter. Cade’s reserved nature enjoyably contrasts with Sarah’s self-reliant attitude, and it’s satisfying to watch the pair interact. The book’s approach regarding unknown possibilities and new beginnings is appealing throughout.

A heartwarming story about faith and starting over.

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64063-821-1

Page Count: 359

Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

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BEACH READ

Two struggling authors spend the summer writing and falling in love in a quaint beach town.

January Andrews has just arrived in the small town of North Bear Shores with some serious baggage. Her father has been dead for a year, but she still hasn’t come to terms with what she found out at his funeral—he had been cheating on her mother for years. January plans to spend the summer cleaning out and selling the house her father and “That Woman” lived in together. But she’s also a down-on-her-luck author facing writer’s block, and she no longer believes in the happily-ever-after she’s made the benchmark of her work. Her steadily dwindling bank account, though, is a daily reminder that she must sell her next book, and fast. Serendipitously, she discovers that her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the darling of the literary fiction set and her former college rival/crush. Gus also happens to be struggling with his next book (and some serious trauma that unfolds throughout the novel). Though the two get off to a rocky start, they soon make a bet: Gus will try to write a romance novel, and January will attempt “bleak literary fiction.” They spend the summer teaching each other the art of their own genres—January takes Gus on a romantic outing to the local carnival; Gus takes January to the burned-down remains of a former cult—and they both process their own grief, loss, and trauma through this experiment. There are more than enough steamy scenes to sustain the slow-burn romance, and smart commentary on the placement and purpose of “women’s fiction” joins with crucial conversations about mental health to add multiple intriguing layers to the plot.

A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0673-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Jove/Penguin

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A winning, lush romance with a social conscience.

PORTRAIT OF A SCOTSMAN

From the League of Extraordinary Women series , Vol. 3

The third installment of the League of Extraordinary Women series features the Beauty and the Beast romance trope.

Banking heiress Hattie Greenfield has always been seen as the lovely one in her family even though she’s an Oxford scholar. She struggles with writing and numbers, but art is her passion anyway. Self-made man Lucian Blackstone isn’t fully accepted within the upper echelons of society because of his low-class upbringing and notoriety for ruining men in debt. The pair end up at the altar after being caught in a compromising position. Hattie is physically attracted to the brooding Scotsman but had hoped to marry for love. This rocky start does not immediately turn into wedded bliss, but when the couple travels to Scotland, they start to understand each other better. Tender emotions and lust grow stronger, but Lucian is committed to revenge against a man from his past, and Hattie has her own unfulfilled dreams. Rich with historical detail, this leisurely romance has a strong social justice element. Like previous titles in the series, the suffragist movement, of which Hattie takes part, plays a role, but this time around workers’ rights are at the forefront. Lucian owns a mine, and Hattie discovers her class privilege when they visit. The workers—men, women, and children—have agency, and it’s their wants that lead the changes Hattie and Lucian are able to assist with. The tumultuous relationship between Hattie and Lucian remains the primary driving force throughout.

A winning, lush romance with a social conscience.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984-80572-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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