This enjoyable Yuletide tale deserves a place under many a Christmas tree.

THE NOEL LETTERS

The latest addition to the author’s Noel Collection is chock-full of holiday spirit.

Noel Book is a New York City book editor who’s named after her birthday. She flies to Salt Lake City to visit her estranged father, Robert Book, before he dies of cancer and stay with him until his passing. Sadly, he dies hours before her arrival. “He tried to hold on for you,” her father’s friend says. “His last words were ‘Tell Noel I’m sorry.’ ” She desperately wants to return to New York, but then she's fired from her job while still in Utah. Meanwhile, she inherits Dad’s beloved bookstore and $1 million of life insurance along with his house and everything in it, “including all his personal belongings, which includes his automobile, his Lladró and rare book collection.” Now “he’d created roots to keep me here. Roots or chains?” She is an angry woman who thinks God (if such there be) hates her. She’d rejected her father’s love after her mother's death in a car accident years earlier, and in “the last two months I’d lost my marriage, my apartment, my father, and now my job.” Next, she breaks off a budding romantic relationship and alienates Dad’s devoted friends. “You spread pain everywhere you go,” she’s told. In a word, she’s being a jerk. Luckily, Dad’s love was unconditional. He’d had a thriving business, a life surrounded by the books he loved, and friends who loved him deeply. In his final days, he wants his daughter to be happy. Throughout the story, she receives a series of wisdom-filled anonymous letters, handwritten in feminine script and signed “Tabula Rasa.” Who could be sending them? The reader will guess, but Noel guesses wrong. There’s a Dickensian arc that will make readers break out the eggnog and Christmas cookies. It evokes Tiny Tim’s exhortation: “God bless us, every one.”

This enjoyable Yuletide tale deserves a place under many a Christmas tree.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2960-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

THE BOARDWALK BOOKSHOP

Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.

Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.

A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-778-38608-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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