A vigorous, sparkling, and entertaining love story with plenty of Austen-ite wit.

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GENTLEMAN JIM

A put-upon heiress pining for a lost love triangulates between a villainous guardian seeking her hand and a mysterious nobleman in this Regency romance.

Maggie Honeywell used to be a headstrong hellion who scandalized British high society by riding and shooting as well as any man and batting away countless proposals. Alas, by 1817, the 26-year-old has lost her health to flu complications and is about to lose her fortune unless she marries the loathsome Frederick Burton-Smythe. He was given control of her fabulous Beasley Park estate in a will and gets to keep it unless she marries someone he approves—namely, himself. Worse, Frederick has foolishly challenged the Viscount St. Clare, the best shot in London, to a duel over a card game, and if he dies, her assets will be forfeited. Maggie appeals for mercy to St. Clare, who sports over 6 feet of lean muscle and “lazy, masculine grace,” but when she gets a good look at his face, she faints dead away. He’s the spitting image of Nicholas Seaton, the bastard stable boy she fell in love with 10 years ago before Frederick framed him for theft and he ran off to find his father, the notorious highwayman Gentleman Jim. St. Clare ardently woos Maggie but denies that he is this Seaton fellow, all while fending off sly distant relations with a claim to his inheritance and pointed questions about his parentage. St. Clare feels flustered; Maggie feels gaslighted; and the jealous Frederick intensifies his controlling behavior and tries to assault her in a carriage, stopping only when a masked highwayman emerges from the darkness. In her latest yarn, Matthews serves up a savory blend of suspense, erotic infatuation, and marriage intrigue. Her characters are sharply drawn and captivating with lots of Hogarthian quirks; her scenes of balls, drawing-room manners, and vaporous anxieties over deportment are full of piquant details; and the dialogue is tartly elegant. (Frederick: “If you’d exert yourself to be sweet to me on occasion­––” Maggie: “I shall exert myself to slap your face if you don’t let go of me.”) Maggie and St. Clare’s amorous scenes are passionate but don’t unnecessarily drag out the mechanics; the two make for captivating romantic leads whose personalities are as magnetic as their looks.

A vigorous, sparkling, and entertaining love story with plenty of Austen-ite wit.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73305-699-1

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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A gentle love story perfect for anyone looking for love amid personal, family, and financial crises.

THE LOST AND FOUND BOOKSHOP

With her promotion to vice president of digital inventory at a Sonoma winery, Natalie Harper finally has the financial security she's always wanted, but a sudden tragedy sends her home to rescue her late mother's charming bookstore.

Once in San Francisco, Natalie moves back into her childhood home, an eclectic set of apartments above the bookshop, a home she shares with her grandfather Andrew, who is suffering from dementia and other mysterious ailments. Blythe, Natalie's mother, loved books, but she was not a savvy businesswoman. Natalie arrives to find unpaid bills and back taxes. Housed in the historic Sunrose Building, the bookshop certainly has stories of its own to tell: Originally a saloon and brothel, it was eventually bought by Natalie's great-grandparents, who converted it into a home and apothecary. Luckily, “hammer for hire” Peach Gallagher shows up. Strong and gorgeous, the contractor catches Natalie's eye, and he certainly is drawn to the curly-haired proprietress. But Peach doesn't date clients, and Natalie is gun-shy from her previous relationship. Plus, she's already met Peach’s adorable little girl, Dorothy. Natalie isn't about to break up a marriage, but she doesn’t know Peach is actually divorced. Wiggs skillfully manipulates the stock in trade of a master romance novelist as she orchestrates Peach and Natalie's inevitable love story. To challenge Peach, enter Trevor Dashwood, a gorgeous and wealthy children's book author, whose books have already won Dorothy's heart. Hosting a book signing with Trevor might help the store’s bottom line. Meanwhile, Natalie, Peach, and Andrew find historical artifacts hidden in the Sunrose building’s walls. Will it be enough to save the store?

A gentle love story perfect for anyone looking for love amid personal, family, and financial crises.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-291409-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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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

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