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Romance: Hot off the presses
A Swedish journalist finds danger and romance in High Risk by Simona Ahrnstedt. Reporter Ambra Vinter’s latest assignment takes her back to the small town north of Stockholm where she grew up as a neglected foster child. Unsettled by her return during the dark Swedish winter, she strikes up a conversation with an attractive man in a hotel bar. Ex-special forces operative Tom Lexington enjoys the encounter, but he’s nursing a broken heart. As time passes, however, he spends more time with Ambra. Love seems possible, but there are obstacles in the way: their pasts, an old flame and the risks Ambra takes as she attempts to unmask a child abuser. This intense tale tackles other social subjects as well, including cyberbullying and misogyny. Readers will root for these characters as they grapple with moral questions and how far they’re willing to go to right terrible wrongs. Sexy, sophisticated and set in an alluring locale, High Risk offers plenty of grit and suspense.
CHANGE OF HEART
The wheels of progress threaten new love in the kisses-only historical romance The Weaver’s Daughter by Sarah E. Ladd. Textile manufacturing is changing in early 19th-century Yorkshire, England. Henry Stockton returns from war with scars without and within, but he’s determined to support his grandfather in his dream to modernize the family’s wool mill. The changes infuriate the area’s weavers, who feel the mechanization threatens their traditions and their livelihoods. Lines are drawn in the village, and Henry finds himself on the opposing side from the lovely Kate Dearborne. Kate’s father forbids the tentative friendship between the pair, but as the conflict heats up between village factions, Kate must reach out to the man her father considers an enemy. Loyalty, love and forgiveness all have their place in this story, which is rich with historical detail. Readers will sympathize with the characters’ inner struggles as they face the difficulties that come when a way of life must transform.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
A wandering woman lands in the small town of Laurel Springs, Texas, in Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas. Raised by a rootless, constantly traveling father, Jillian James has followed in his footsteps, making no friends and hardly any memories. But in Laurel Springs, she takes a temp job at a quilting store that puts her in close contact with elderly owner Eugenia, her grandson Connor and his rebellious teen daughter, Sunnie. They are all better for it, but Jillian is still determined to move on. She always does, after all. But Connor’s roots run deep; he’s both the newspaper publisher and mayor of Laurel Springs, with a child and a beloved older relative in town. So as he and Jillian gently explore their connection, their fledgling romance can only be bittersweet as its end date looms. Mornings on Main is a tissue-worthy book to treasure.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our Q&A with Jodi Thomas about Mornings on Main.