Archive for March, 2012

The Good Father-Diane Chamberlain

March 30, 2012

The Good Father

Diane Chamberlain

Mira, Apr 247 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778313465

 

In Carolina Beach, North Carolina, twenty-three year old Travis Brown is a single dad raising his four year old daughter Bella alone; as he has since her birth.  Desperate to bring in some needed income since the dearth of construction jobs in the area, he takes on a risky illegal job in Raleigh; leaving Bella with thirtyish Erin, whose baby daughter recently died in an accident.

 

Not far away, Bella’s mother Robin regrets her decision four years ago.  She struggles with adapting to being the fiancée of charismatic Dale running for the mayor of Beaufort.  Robin, Travis, and Bella each in their own way focus on what they respectively believe is the best for the toddler; not grasping by doing so they feel a bit better about themselves.

 

Rotating perspective between the three prime adults, The Good Father is an engaging character study as the trio want to do what is best to the child who ties them together.  Readers learn the past and present and future hopes of the prime trio (and to a lesser degree game-maker Mike) as each is fully developed with doubts and trepidations but encouraged by Bella to be better than they think they can be.  Although the ending is over the top of Mount Mitchell, fans will agree “nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina …” (Carolina In The Morning by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn) with Diane Chamberlain as our hostess.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

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I Am An Executioner: Love Stories-Rajesh Parameswaran

March 29, 2012

I Am An Executioner: Love Stories

Rajesh Parameswaran

Knopf, Apr 10 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 9780307595928

 

These fascinating nine tales provide wonderful Kafka twists to “Love Stories.”  All the entries are well written with intriguing protagonists (not all human as a frustrated in love tiger stars in “The Infamous Bengal Ming” and an elephant writes her autobiography with footnotes in “Elephants in Captivity”) giving readers insight into the foibles of love.  In “The Strange Case of Dr. Raju Gopalatahan”, CompUSA fires Gopie who takes out a shingle and becomes Dr. G.  In the title story, the executioner pleads with his beloved that he is a bureaucrat doing his job, not a psychopath.  Savirtri shows how much she loves her husband Ravi when she prepares for their Thanksgiving weekend with him lying dead on their floor.  With the “Narration of Agent 97-1702’ investigating Subject 243-66328 and love in the future “On the banks of Table River (Planet Lucina, Andromeda Galaxy, AD 2319)” fans will appreciate this anthology’s amusing metaphysical satirizing of love.

 

Harriet Klausner

No Longer A Gentleman-Mary Jo Putney

March 29, 2012

No Longer A Gentleman

Mary Jo Putney

Zebra, Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420117233

 

In 1803 Paris, English Lord Grey Summers enjoys a tryst with Madame Camille Durand when her husband Ministry of Police high level official Claude Durand catches them together.  With the Treaty of Amiens expired, instead of deportation or even the guillotine, Durand is locked away in a dungeon in Castle Durand.

 

In 1813, Lord Kirkland discusses the Summers disappearance with one of his best agents Cassie Fox, who lost her family and her faith during the Reign of Terror.  Cassie accepts the difficult mission of “Rescuing Grey.”  She succeeds in getting him out of the cell and castle, but they must cross enemy territory and the Channel.  However, even in London they are unsafe from Durand and from their hearts as both survived harrowing experiences that has left their hearts shattered.

 

The latest Lost Lords Regency romantic suspense (see Nowhere Near Respectable, Loving a Lost Lord and Never Less than a Lady) is a super historical due to the protagonists who suffer from PTSD.  Although Durand is over the top of the Tower of London and the Bastille as a monster, sub-genre fans will appreciate Mary Jo Putney’s enjoyable tale.

 

Harriet Klausner

Too Tempting Too Resist-Cara Elliott

March 29, 2012

Too Tempting Too Resist

Cara Elliott

Forever, Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446584562

 

Lord Connor Lynsley gave his employee Sara Hawkins ownership of the Wolf’s Lair when the former married (see Too Wicked To Wed).  Just turned thirty, frequent customer Lord Gryffin Dwight wonders if his best friend’s happiness has left him feeling like an aging wastrel.

 

Lady Eliza Brentford enters the men only brothel gambling den in an attempt to prevent her brother Harry, Lord Leete from leaving the family impoverished.  Raging, she immediately meets Harry’s role model Gryff.  Harry invites Gryff to a house party, which he accepts but conceals his agenda to explore the estate.  One kiss and handcuffs leave Gryff and Eliza in need, but as she falls in love she fears her heart will break when the rake leaves her for his next conquest.

 

Though protagonists are similar in tone as the first tale, the second Lords of Midnight historical romance is a fun story starring an impudent ripping skin heroine and a rake ready to retire from debauching,.  Readers will enjoy aptly titled Too Tempting To Resist at any time, but especially when she is handcuffed in his room.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Beginner’s Goodbye-Anne Tyler

March 28, 2012

The Beginner’s Goodbye

Anne Tyler

Knopf, Apr 3 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 9780307957276

 

Thirty something Aaron works at the family publishing firm that prints the Beginners self-help series.  He is happily mattered to older Dorothy, a doctor whom he met when she was working on a medical book published by his company.  Aaron believes life is good in spite of a useless arm and leg until a tree crashes into their home killing Dorothy.  The widower struggles with his grief.

 

Aaron moves back into the house he grew up in that sister Nandina owns in Baltimore.  He begins seeing and hearing Dorothy’s ghost though he knows that is probably a PTSD defense mechanism for him to deny she has moved on; he also realizes his perfect view of their marriage ignored cracks.  Burying himself in his work, Aaron realizes the guidebooks on moving on in life are generalities as grief is customized.

 

This is an engaging character study of a man who struggles with loss until he begins to understand that the whole (of one’s essence) equals the sum of all the parts (including the onetime microscopic).  Complex as the audience learns much about Aaron, Dorothy and their marriage, as love does not denote happiness and camaraderie, as it can be destructive as well as constructive.  Aaron’s surreal path to enlightenment never quite gels as he seems more childlike rather than a thirty-six year old widower mourning the tragic death of his wife.  Still readers will enjoy The Beginner’s Guide to coping with grief.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Invitation to Scandal-Bronwen Evans

March 28, 2012

Invitation to Scandal

Bronwen Evans

Kensington Brava, Apr 24 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758259219

 

In 1809 Kent, although he knows he does this to prove his father’s innocent of a treason charge, Rufus Knight, Viscount Strathmore thinks what sacrifices he does for his country as he plots to capture the notorious smuggler “Dark Shadow.”  Rheda Kerrich plans one more shipment before the Dark Shadow fades into local mythology.  However, her final mission falls apart when she becomes trapped by a barrel of French brandy.  Rufus finds her pinned down and helps her up. 

 

Attracted to Rhe, he plans to seduce her while continuing his hunt for the Dark Shadow.  Rhe feels likewise about the viscount, but knows her loyalty is to save her family from disgrace and her village from poverty during these difficult times.  As he begins to uncover the identity of the Dark Shadow, Rufus and Rhe fall in love, but her persona stands in their way.

 

This is a fabulous Regency romance (see Invitation to Ruin) starring two strong individuals.  Both strongly believe in honor and loyalty, which ironically may keep them separated as each has other people to care about.  The internalized conflict between different loves makes for a strong Napoleonic Era tale.

 

Harriet Klausner

Kiss The Bride-Deirdre Martin, Christie Ridgway and Laura Florand

March 28, 2012

Kiss The Bride

Deirdre Martin, Christie Ridgway and Laura Florand

Kensington Brava, Apr 24 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758272881

 

“Early Bird Special” by Deirdre Martin.  Dane Fine is in Palm Beach working on opening of an upscale boutique while staying with her grandparents in their retirement community.  They believe their granddaughter and Josh Green the landscaper are a perfect match, but her next assignment is Paris.

 

“Wedding Ink.” by Christie Ridgway.  Wedding vows writer Charlotte Bond reluctantly agrees to the bride Audrey Langford’s demand that she attend with the best man Luke Harper.  A year ago after a fight he fled to Qatar on an engineering project. 

 

“All’s Fair in Love and Chocolate” by Laura Florand.  Food blogger Eloise “Ellie” Layne goes undercover in Paris to learn the secrets of French chocolatier Simon Casset.  Although he knows who she is, he loves kisses.

 

These are three entertaining contemporaries starring nice lead characters who learn what love is.

 

Harriet Klausner

Naked Angel-Logan Belle

March 28, 2012

Naked Angel

Logan Belle

Kensington Aphrodisia, Mar 27 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758261625

 

Performer Mallory is ecstatic as her new burlesque club The Painted Lady opens tonight.  While she performs on stage, her boyfriend of four years Alec proposes.  However, he also added a stipulation that she stops performing.

 

Though it hurts her deeply, costume designer Gemma knows she is frozen tundra in bed.  Encouraged by a dominatrix, when she meets the married financial backer of the Painted Lady, Gemma proves she can be equatorial hot.

 

Nadia left the stage as a ballerina due to an injury, but takes to the stage of The Painted lady.  Men love her show except the one she secretly loves who owns the ballet company.

 

The third Club Burlesque erotic tale (see Fallen Angel and Blue Angel) is a wonderful contemporary that intertwines the three sexcapades subplots into a cohesive engaging albeit torrid novel starring three fine couples. 

 

Harriet Klausner

The First Warm Evening Of The Year-Jamie M. Saul

March 27, 2012

The First Warm Evening Of The Year

Jamie M. Saul

Morrow, Apr 24 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780061449727

 

Voice over freelancer Geoffrey Tremont enjoys his New York City singles lifestyle when he receives a registered letter from attorney Frank Remsen of Shady Grove, New York.  His client Laura Stevenson wants him to act as her estate executor.  Geoffrey remembers her as Laura Welles who attended Juilliard while he went to Colombia before she moved to Paris twenty years ago as a jazz musician.  Curious he calls Frank who says she did not want him to see her like she was just before she died a week ago.

 

Stunned while thinking back to why they drifted apart, he goes to Shady Grove where Geoffrey meets Laura’s best friend widow Marion Ballantine.  He falls in love with her with the way she warmly welcomed him.  However, he has a Manhattan girlfriend Rita and she has Eliot Wooten though attracted to the man whom she previously seen in a caricature owned by their mutual late friend. 

 

This is a warm character driven romance starring two protagonists struggling with their shocking instant attraction to one another.  Each has a significant other and some baggage with hers being much more serious than his.  Although there is no action, fans who relish a profound insightful psychological relationship drama will want to read The First Warm Evening Of The Year, wondering how it will end.

 

Harriet Klausner

Overseas-Beatriz Williams

March 27, 2012

Overseas

Beatriz Williams

Putnam, May 10 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9780399157646

 

In 1916 in Amiens, France, a woman waits outside a church for British Army Captain the Honorable Julian Ashford.  When he leaves the church, she calls his name.  He turns to her without any recognition of who she is as she keeps saying to herself don’t faint before falling into his arms.

 

In 2007 in New York City, Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson meets billionaire investment genius Julian Laurence at a meeting.  Though she is pretty and intelligent, he could have any woman in the world.  To everyone attending the meeting including Kate, Julian seems to have fallen in love at first sight.  Kate feels the same powerful pull; so she wonders why he abruptly ends their relationship just as she is accused of leaking him proprietary information.  Julian has been waiting since 1916 for the woman who saved his life to during the trench warfare to catch up to him while modern day Kate struggles with his WWI British officer’s sentiment re women.

 

Mindful of Somewhere In Time by Richard Matheson, this is a great time travel romance that deftly moves back and forth between 2007 and 1916.  The protagonists are fully developed, which enables the audience to ignore plausibility and enjoy a tender love story that defies time and much more.

 

Harriet Klausner