ON MYSTIC LAKE

Hannah, after eight paperbacks, abandons her successful time-travelers for a hardcover life of kitchen-sink romance. Everyone must have got the Olympic Peninsula memo for this spring because, as of this reading, authors Hannah, Nora Roberts, and JoAnn Ross have all placed their newest romances in or near the Quinault rain forest. Here, 40ish Annie Colwater, returns to Washington State after her husband, high-powered Los Angeles lawyer Blake, tells her he’s found another (younger) woman and wants a divorce. Although a Stanford graduate, Annie has known only a life of perfect wifedom: matching Blake’s ties to his suits and cooking meals from Gourmet magazine. What is she to do with her shattered life? Well, she returns to dad’s house in the small town of Mystic, cuts off all her hair (for a different look), and goes to work as a nanny for lawman Nick Delacroix, whose wife has committed suicide, whose young daughter Izzy refuses to speak, and who himself has descended into despair and alcoholism. Annie spruces up Nick’s home on Mystic Lake and sends “Izzy-bear” back into speech mode. And, after Nick begins attending AA meetings, she and he become lovers. Still, when Annie learns that she’s pregnant not with Nick’s but with Blake’s child, she heads back to her empty life in the Malibu Colony. The baby arrives prematurely, and mean-spirited Blake doesn’t even stick around to support his wife. At this point, it’s perfectly clear to Annie—and the reader—that she’s justified in taking her newborn daughter and driving back north. Hannah’s characters indulge in so many stages of the weeps, from glassy eyes to flat-out sobs, that tear ducts are almost bound to stay dry. (First printing of 100,000; first serial to Good Housekeeping; Literary Guild/Doubleday book club selections)

Pub Date: March 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-609-60249-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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

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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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THE REEF

With her happy balance of love, sex, and the supernatural, Roberts has become the fairy godmother of escapists and the queen of formula romance. Leaving the “Jones curse” of last spring’s Homeport, Roberts dives now into Anguelique’s Curse and the life of another ambitious career girl. It seems that Anguelique Maunoir was a 16-year-old healer who in 1533 was burned for witchcraft, but not before putting her double-whammy on the gold and bejeweled amulet her lover gave her before his own death. Now, Matthew Lassiter and his family of salvage divers have known nothing but bad luck since starting their search for the necklace. Matthew’s father was murdered by Silas VanDyke, another of this author’s sadly two-dimensional villains, while his uncle Buck lost a leg to a shark. Matthew, though, still hits pay dirt when he and Buck team up with Tate Beaumont and her loving parents to dive for a 16th-century Spanish ship off the coast of Nevis and St. Kitts. Young Tate is the logical, reasonable one of this pair of lovers, studying to become a marine archaeologist and dreaming of one day having her own museum; Matthew, on the other hand, is the stormy one who’s had a tougher row to hoe and now loves Tate’s mother’s home-cooked dinners. Yet, true to the familiar type of honorable ravishers and responsible rogues, he gives Tate up rather than see her drop out of school to follow a lowlife diver like himself. Eight years later, when no one seems particularly happy, the Beaumonts and Lassiters reunite to search for Anguelique’s Curse: Tate hopes to establish her professional credentials, Matthew to avenge his father’s death. After lots of salty sea and sex, as well as a short course in treasure hunting and marine salvage, the lovers will discover (no surprise) that their fortune is in each other. Clunky denouement aside, Roberts’s legion of fans will swarm to this.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-399-14441-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1998

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