THE CONSUL'S WIFE

Powerfully despairing, Graham Greenelike tale of romance and alienation in the blasted African bush, from our foremost chronicler of Washington's faceless bureaucracy and the lives it so blithely consumes (Last Train from Berlin, 1994, etc.). As the Vietnam War makes a mess of US foreign policy in Southeast Asia, footloose American foreign-service careerist Hugh Mathews finds himself transferred from Eden-like, pre-invasion Lebanon to a grim, gloomy diplomatic compound in the former Belgian Congo. A bachelor with little patience for political frippery (he likens diplomacy to ``an old whore trying to remember when she'd been a virgin''), he's resigned to terminal futility—until he falls for Blakely Ogden, the bronzed, blond wife of the embassy's insipid consul, Jeffrey. Childless and stifled by a loveless marriage, Blakely confides her fascination with tribal masks and other artifacts of African culture. Hoping to experience something more than the sublime ennui of diplomatic protocol, and perhaps discover some interesting antiques for his friend, Mathews begins to run pointless errands in the blighted, inhospitable countryside with fellow loner Ken McAuliffe, a burned-out idealist who ``like most incorrigibly honest people, had no sense of the mystery in himself.'' After a passionate affair with Mathews, Blakely flees her lover and her husband, leaving no forwarding address. Then McAuliffe quits the service and is blown to bits by a land mine while helping refugees escape, and Mathews finds himself banished for his misdemeanors- -among them the discovery that his local drinking buddies are outlaw revolutionaries. He ends up back in Washington with a dull desk job. Overwhelmed by a life of so much futility, Mathews is suddenly reborn when he stumbles on Blakely again. Together, the two finally experience what passes for contentment in the rustic Virginia woods. Thick with bilious resentment and impotent rage: a trenchant, eloquently crafted drama of lost souls who find salvation where they least expect it.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8050-4425-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 15

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

A breezy tale perfect for a day at the beach, this one’s a real winner.

THE HATING GAME

Lucy Hutton absolutely detests her office mate Joshua Templeman. He’s a pompous, self-important, obnoxious ass. But, she’s got to admit, he is pretty cute.

From the moment they meet, a result of the unwelcome corporate merger between their employers, Lucy and Joshua are at odds. Joshua is assistant to the CEO of what was once Bexley Publishing, a numbers-crunching, foosball-playing frat house–cum-business. Lucy is assistant to the CEO of the now-defunct Gamin Publishing, a Birkenstock-clad, free-flowing commune of literary purists. When the two companies begrudgingly become one, so does the executive suite. Thus begins this hate-at-first-sight romantic comedy. Lucy and Joshua’s daily interactions include the staring game, the mirror game, and the HR game, each played with the intensity of the Hunger Games. Their mutual antipathy grows when a new executive position opens at Bexley-Gamin Publishing and both Lucy's and Joshua’s bosses think their protégés would be the perfect choice. Here the high-stakes game begins. After yet another 60-hour work week, which now includes prepping for upcoming interviews, Lucy logs off of her computer (Password: IHATEJOSHUA4EV@) to head home, but not before her rival hops into the elevator with her. When Joshua hits the emergency button and stops the ride, Lucy is certain her nemesis is going to kill her. Instead, he plants a (completely consensual) kiss on her that awakens something she hadn’t known existed. Debut novelist Thorne delivers something nearly impossible: an entirely predictable plot that is also completely fresh, original, and utterly charming. From the opening page, readers will know the outcome of Lucy and Joshua’s relationship, but what happens in between is magic. From Lucy’s hilarious inner dialogue to Joshua’s sharp retorts, the chemistry between them is irresistibly adorable—and smokin’ hot.

A breezy tale perfect for a day at the beach, this one’s a real winner.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-243959-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

more