An enemies-to-lovers romance that deserves to be savored.

AFTER DARK WITH THE DUKE

From the Palace of Rogues series , Vol. 4

Desire and disdain collide as an opera singer who's been publicly shamed clashes with a priggish, aristocratic military hero.

Soprano Mariana Wylde seeks refuge at the London docklands boardinghouse known as the Palace of Rogues after a duel between a former lover and a current fan makes her a tabloid scandal. To her dismay, Gen. James Duncan Blackmore, the Duke of Valkirk—who's lodging there temporarily while writing his memoirs—takes an immediate dislike to her for her perceived debauchery. Initial skirmishes between the two culminate in a mean-spirited action on his part, precipitating an apology and a period of forced proximity between them. While the duke, who speaks Italian, gives private lessons to the soprano, who only sings it, they begin to slowly share their fears and traumas, and the two bruised souls drop their bellicose facades and begin a secret affair. Despite their electric attraction, however, her disrepute presents an insurmountable barrier to a legitimate relationship in his eyes, yoked as he is to his own reputation as a moralist. Long specializes in crafting tension between people whose sexual and intellectual compatibility are at odds with their place in social hierarchies and prescribed gender roles. But even as British society seems unlikely to accept this union, the plucky proprietresses of the Palace of Rogues and the other charming lodgers there model alternatives to a conventional life. It's up to the duke to overcome his black-and-white perspective as he comes to see how sexist stereotypes demonize nonconforming women while excusing men. If the novel’s agenda is obvious—questioning the patriarchal hypocrisy that condemns women after taking away their choices—the execution is subtle and moving. Scenes where the protagonists’ spoken words compete with their body language mirror the strain between socially dictated mores and individual desire. The only sour note is the hero’s background, which falls into a long romance tradition of British imperialists—one that needs to be retired, or at least interrogated.

An enemies-to-lovers romance that deserves to be savored.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304509-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A vivid escape that's perfect for romantic thrill-seekers.

SOMETHING WILDER

Former sweethearts team up to find potential treasure in the Utah wilderness—but the only thing more treacherous than the hunt might be their feelings for each other.

At the age of 19, Lily Wilder thought she had her future all figured out. She’d take over the ranch owned by her treasure-hunting father, the infamous Duke Wilder, and live there with her boyfriend, Leo Grady. But when Leo left unexpectedly and Duke sold the ranch, Lily’s dreams went up in smoke. Now it’s 10 years later, Duke is long dead, and all Lily has left of him is his journal full of maps and mysterious clues. She makes ends meet by using his maps to lead tourists on expeditions through the Utah desert. She dreams of buying back her childhood ranch, but she’s flat broke and miserable at her monotonous job. That is, until Leo shows up on a guys’ trip with his friends, ready to get on a horse and find some treasure. Seeing Leo is the last thing Lily wants, but when their routine trip goes shockingly wrong, Leo and Lily will have to work together if they want to figure out Duke’s last clue—and survive. Fans of Lauren, the writing duo known for their delightful rom-coms, may be surprised by this shift into the world of adventure romance. It should be a pleasant surprise, though, given that the story is fast-paced, exciting, and still full of that classic Lauren swoon (in between the danger, occasional violence, and plot twists). Lily and Leo’s romance is plenty steamy (there’s a scene where they’re forced to share a sleeping bag), but the real star is the landscape, which is described in sweltering, dusty detail.

A vivid escape that's perfect for romantic thrill-seekers.

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-9821-7340-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more