THE DUCHESS

More from the famed mistress of heartthrob (Mountain Laurel, 1990, etc.)—this time bogged down in 19th-century Scotland, where a host of silly, mostly unpleasant characters move sluggishly through a love story that never gets off the ground. Claire Willoughby, a big-bosomed American heiress, falls in love with mama's boy Harry Montgomery largely because he is blond and a titled duke. The dimwitted Harry wants Claire because she will inherit ten million dollars as soon as she weds a proper guy. Lusting for the dough—as well as the approval of his revolting mother, Eugenia—Harry whisks the buxom but bookish Claire, along with her childish parents and precocious sister ``Brat,'' to his Scottish castle, Bramley, where an odd bunch of family members roam in and out of dark passageways mumbling about horses and dogs. In this chilly atmosphere, Claire stumbles upon the cynical but sexy Trevelyan, who, she later learns, is her childhood hero, explorer Frank Baker, whose writings about the exotic and erotic have held her in a state of dire excitation all these years. Passion bubbles and festers, but there is so much mean-spirited jousting to and fro that by the time the two take the plunge no one cares. Finally, the highly emotional heiress grapples with a moral dilemma as it dawns on her that although she loves the lecherous Trevelyan, she must marry the boring Harry in order to secure her inheritance. The ever-so humdrum final twist reveals the real identity of Trevelyan/Baker, and leaves Harry right where he belongs—in the arms of the conniving little Brat. Fictional sludge.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-671-68971-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1991

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HONEST ILLUSIONS

Suspenseful, glamorous story of love, blackmail, and magic, set in New Orleans and Washington, D.C., about a family of high-class magicians practicing the time-honored profession of thievery. When magician Maxmillian Nouvelle adopts the 12-year-old runaway Luke Callahan, he gives him more than a family: He teaches him the secrets of blending what's real and what's not...giving people what they want—and also taking what they value. For the Great Nouvelle is a master jewel-thief; stealing from the undeserving rich warms his blood like the anticipation of good sex, a passion that both Luke and Max's bratty daughter Raxanne eventually share. Thirteen years pass: As Luke practices the fine arts of larceny and escapology, Roxanne grows into a flame-haired witch who turns bell, book, and candle into smoke onstage. Offstage, she trades in her David Cassidy poster for Luke; together, they set off sparks that could make an innocent bystander..go up in flames. But Luke's invincibility, like the Great Houdini's, is deceptive: Slimy Sam Wyatt—a former grifter now running for the Senate—slithers in from Luke's past, his frigid heart full of contempt for the family he once tried to seam. He threatens to frame Luke for murder and expose the Nouvelles' after-hours show unless he disappears. Five years later, a homesick Luke reappears, determined to show the disillusioned Roxanne that he's more than smoke and mirrors. Together, they set out to plot vengeance, staking everything on their most daring sting to date. True to the magician's oath, Roberts reveals no secrets, but the illusion works—in a compelling and detail-rich first hardcover. Good escape reading.

Pub Date: July 17, 1992

ISBN: 0-399-13761-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1992

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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

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