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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-06-10
- Reviewer: Staff
Stuart takes a break from paranormals and romantic thrillers (Risk the Night) to launch a historical romance series about three sisters unexpectedly orphaned and left destitute. In 1869 London, Miss Bryony Russell, the eldest sister, applies pseudonymously for the position of housekeeper for the household of Adrian Bruton, Earl of Kilmartyn, her father’s former business partner and the man she believes may be responsible for her father’s financial ruin and suspicious death. While the pampered Cecily, Lady Kilmartyn, refuses “Mrs. Greaves” because she bears some smallpox scars on her face, Adrian decides that Mrs. Greaves is the perfect person to revamp his shambles of a household. As Bryony searches for clues to Adrian’s perfidy, she falls victim to his immense charm. Bemused by the estrangement between Adrian and his faithless wife, Bryony soon realizes that there is a hidden depth of character behind the earl’s easy grace and seductive wiles. Stuart deftly combines scintillating romance with a hint of mystery in this straightforward story marred only by a somewhat abrupt conclusion. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Aug.)
Dangerous to love
Nancy Bush takes readers on a thrill ride in Nowhere Safe, her danger-filled novel of suspense spiced with romance. There’s a killer leaving bodies in public places in Detective September Rafferty’s town. Is it, as some say, the work of a vigilante who has a sixth sense about sexual predators and orchestrates their deaths? There is also a long list of missing women, leading September and her fellow detectives to believe that there could be yet another predator on a deadly hunt. At the same time, September is navigating her newfound romance with handsome businessman Jake Westerly. She loves him, she’s sure of that, but maybe they’re moving too fast, especially considering the fact that Jake is still getting calls from his seriously unstable ex-girlfriend. Could the volatile woman be an actual threat to Jake or September? The suspense threads are masterfully woven in this gritty, chilling tale.
A FORBIDDEN PASSION
The romance is super-steamy and supernatural in Kait Ballenger’s Twilight Hunter. In an imaginative world where humans are largely unaware of the other kinds of beings around them, half-werewolf, half-human Jace McCannon works for the Execution Underground, an international network of hunters out to stop paranormal criminals. As he tracks down a werewolf that is serially attacking and murdering young women, he crosses paths with the beautiful Frankie Amato—who reveals her werewolf identity but doesn’t disclose that she’s also the local pack’s leader. As more murders occur, Jace and Frankie join forces to stop the evil at work in their city. But this causes friction within the pack and among Jace’s friends and Execution Underground colleagues, who distrust the new alliance. Still, Jace and Frankie persevere, until Jace learns secrets about himself that threaten his growing bond with Frankie and put both of their lives in danger. A sadistic, bloodthirsty villain makes this read as scary as it is exciting.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
Anne Stuart offers a delicious blend of danger, deception and passion in Never Kiss a Rake. In Victorian England, Bryony Russell’s father dies after purportedly embezzling from his shipping company, leaving Bryony and her two sisters in financial and social ruin. Certain her father would never have done such a thing, Bryony endeavors to uncover the truth. Her first step is getting hired as a housekeeper for her father’s partner, the charming yet cynical Earl of Kilmartyn, Adrian Bruton. While she finds the earl handsome, Bryony knows not to trust him—or his equally beautiful but mean-spirited wife, who openly declares that the new housekeeper’s facial scars (from a childhood illness) have rendered her ugly. Bryony is unsurprised—she’s heard a similar sentiment from her mother—and she remains dogged about finding evidence against her employer. But several brushes with death make her wonder if Adrian is trying to get rid of her—as well as his wife, who mysteriously goes missing. Still, a reluctant attraction between Bryony and the earl begins to smolder and then flame. He makes her feel beautiful—but is it a ruse, or real? Clever banter, an evil bad guy and sizzling sexual tension round out another Stuart winner.