Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-12-19
- Reviewer: Staff
Randol’s masterful debut visits 1815 Constantinople, where a soldier finds love with a spirited spy. Maj. Bennett Prestwood is eager to return to England after surviving the battle of Waterloo, but instead he’s ordered to travel to Constantinople to protect secret agent Mari Sinclair, daughter of an opium-addicted British archeologist and a Greek freedom fighter. Her artistic sketches hide depictions of military forts, and she hopes her efforts will help the Greeks gain independence from the Turks. Bennett is completely surprised by his physical yearning for Mari as well as his reluctant admiration for her fierce independence and unwavering loyalty. As their attraction sizzles and evolves into a deeper love, their relationship becomes fraught with misunderstandings and allegations of betrayal. Randol takes the Regency reader to a unique locale—without ever descending into racial stereotype—and spins a tale replete with mystery, espionage, and memorable romance. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Feb.)
A renovation of home and heart
One woman renovates a house, her life and her heart in Elizabeth Bevarly’s The House on Butterfly Way. The delightfully amusing Eugenie is newly divorced and now the owner of a mansion that’s seen better days—a state of being that describes Eugenie, too. But a busy life keeps her from much self-examination: She’s balancing a job at a well-respected matchmaking service, work on the house and worry about her teenage son. Then new friendships—and possibilities for romance—have Eugenie looking at her past and her future with fresh eyes. Filled with wry humor and touching familial relationships, The House on Butterfly Way gives readers a heroine who is both vulnerable and honest.
AN UNLIKELY HUSBAND
A hard man finds love in Sarah McCarty’s Shadow’s Stand. Wanted for murder, Shadow Ochoa is caught trying to reclaim his stolen horses after leaving the Hell’s Eight brotherhood. He’s about to be hanged when a beautiful woman saves his life in an unusual way: She marries him. Fei Yen is in need of a man, and the brawny and capable Shadow seems willing to act as her protector. What Fei didn’t expect was to find passion in this marriage of convenience. Shadow is similarly attracted, but he doesn’t consider their union permanent because of the price on his head. A story of both adventure and scorching romance, Shadow’s Stand shows the poignancy of two outsiders who realize that they truly do belong with each other.
LOVE ON THE RUN
It’s been 15 years since “Mean” Joe Green lost a brother-in-arms. Now, in Cindy Gerard’s Last Man Standing, it looks as though he’s found some long-awaited answers—and he’s going off the grid to get revenge. But that means separating himself not only from his friends in the Black Ops, Inc. group, but also from soft and sweet Stephanie Tompkins, the little sister of that same fallen comrade. Joe steels himself to lie and leave her—claiming he can’t commit—and Stephanie watches him walk away with tears in her eyes. But Stephanie is an NSA employee who does spy work from a computer, and a month later she discovers that Joe’s in trouble in Sierra Leone. There’s only one person who might get to him in time—her. Readers will enjoy the suspense and the deepening relationship of this appealing pair. Thrilling and sexy!
MARRIAGE BY PROXY
A woman must learn to trust that there is a plan for her destiny in Colleen Coble’s inspirational romance, Blue Moon Promise. Lucy Marsh has lost her job, is losing her home and has no idea how she’ll take care of her young siblings. When her father’s old friend offers marriage to his son, it seems like Lucy’s only hope. So she weds Nate Stanton by proxy, then travels to the family ranch. Yet trouble still dogs Lucy. Not only is her husband consternated by his new status, there’s also the ranching life to become accustomed to, then something even more sinister: A dangerous someone from their old life has followed Lucy to Texas, and nobody knows what the stranger is after. As Lucy and Nate settle into their new roles, both must learn to compromise and appreciate their differences. This chronicle of love and faith is filled with unexpected twists.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
Exotic adventure awaits readers of Anna Randol’s debut, A Secret in Her Kiss. Major Bennett Prestwood survived Waterloo, but instead of sailing for home he’s ordered to Constantinople to act as protector to a beautiful British spy. Mari Sinclair has spent almost all of her life outside of England, yet she has her own reasons for aiding the Empire with her cunning illustrations of the natural world that she uses to pass on vital information. Still, death has come too close. She’s on the brink of retirement when her stiff-spined minder arrives. Mari is both annoyed by and attracted to the handsome soldier—and each brush with danger brings the pair closer together. Can duty-bound Bennett understand the passions that drive independent Mari? Will Mari’s loyalty to friends and adopted family only serve to get them killed? Mari and Bennett’s love blossoms, but with secrets and treachery all around them, it’s hard to say whether love—or the couple—can survive. An exciting tale!