In a crumbling castle in Cornwall, two inauthentic men from vastly different registers of Regency society find in each other...

THE LAWRENCE BROWNE AFFAIR

A London swindler falls for his mark, a mad earl, in this Cornwall-set Regency romance.

As Penkellis Castle falls to ruins around him, Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, hides in the tower, working feverishly on inventing a telegraphlike device. His servants have fled, the villagers think he’s demonic, and Lawrence himself is convinced the madness and depravity that consumed his father and brother will claim his life as well. This gothic setup is punctured when professional confidence man Georgie Turner arrives on Radnor’s moldering doorstep, posing as a secretary. Georgie recently aborted a lucrative assignment thanks to a sudden bout of conscience, a development his furious boss would like to properly, and violently, acknowledge. He’s not impressed with the Mad Earl: “I had hoped for some good old fashioned howling at the moon, and all you do is build ingenious inventions and eat too much ham.” Georgie is beautiful, slender, and graceful to Lawrence’s bearded, hulking form. Lawrence dismisses his cool and neat secretary as a London dandy, but Georgie, a swindler practically from his birth in the slums of London, quickly, and astutely, assesses the situation and begins putting Penkellis to rights while at the same time appraising its valuables. Sebastian (The Soldier’s Scoundrel, 2016) nicely contrasts Georgie’s frankness and sexual openness with the deceitfulness at his core. Sebastian infuses a romance that could have been dark with a constant thrum of mild humor and steady wonder: “Then Radnor flashed him one of his rare smiles, and Georgie felt simultaneously like he had been given a precious gift and like he had been hit in the head with a shovel.” Lawrence’s character is complicated by social anxiety and sexual shame over his “perverse tastes”: a thornier nest of issues than “madness” but an easier one to untangle. Georgie’s change of heart is less effective because he was never much of a convincing scoundrel, but readers will be thrilled by the way his empowering love for Lawrence comes back to him in a time of need.

In a crumbling castle in Cornwall, two inauthentic men from vastly different registers of Regency society find in each other an authentic and passionate love. Another exquisitely written, deeply romantic novel from Sebastian.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-264250-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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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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