August2017 Booklist 37 www.booklistonline.com
knows that marrying Calvin Stowe means
gambling with her future. Many, if not most,
husbands expect their wives to dedicate their
lives to maintaining a suitable home and rais-
ing a family. But Harriet truly believes Calvin
is a different kind of man, someone who will
support her as she strives to
become a writer. As the new
couple settles into married
life, however, Harriet discov-
ers that balancing her roles as
both wife and writer isn’t quite
as easy as she expected. In her
latest marvelously engaging
historical novel, Kilpack (The
Vicar’s Daughter, 2017) writes with great in-
sight and superb sensitivity about the ways in
which Harriet and Calvin struggle to achieve a
marriage that works for both of them. At the
same time, Kilpack deftly demonstrates how
Harriet’s early married years acted as a sort of
literary petri dish in which she refined her own
writing skills while also defining her thoughts
on the issue of slavery, ultimately leading her to
write Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a novel which played
a major role in advancing the abolitionist cause
not just in the United States but around the
world. —John Charles
YA: An excellent introduction to the early
life and times of one of nineteenth-century
America’s most fascinating and influential
Any Dream Will Do.
By Debbie Macomber.
Aug. 2017. 336p. Ballantine, $27 (9780399181191);
Shay Benson’s life was difficult as she suffered abuse, but it became much harder
when she stole money from the bank where
she worked for her druggy brother, who said
he would be killed if she didn’t. Three years
later, released from prison with nowhere to
go and no support system, she walks into
a church seeking shelter from Seattle’s December chill. There she meets Pastor Drew
Douglas, a depressed widower with two children, who sends her to Hope Center. Shay
and Drew become friends, and his kids adore
her, but can a pastor and a convicted felon go
beyond friendship? Told in alternating first-person narratives, this low-key romance,
with its healthy dose of spirituality, will appeal to fans of Christian fiction who like tales
of redemption featuring kind and caring individuals who grow and blossom through
adversity. This is darker than the sweet novels
that have made Macomber a beloved, best-selling author, but her multitudinous fans,
all who seek uplifting stories, and readers of
RaeAnne Thayne, Robyn Carr, Robin Lee
Hatcher, and Amanda Cabot will enjoy it.
—Diana Tixier Herald
A Covert Affair.
By Susan Mann.
Aug. 2017. 320p. Zebra, paper, $4.99 (9781420143317);
Mann continues the tale of intrepid refer-
ence librarian Quinn Ellington, first met in
The Librarian and the Spy (2017) and now a
CIA librarian. During a black-tie grand opening of an exhibit of rare Indian
manuscripts at the Library of
Congress, things quickly turn
chaotic when someone throws
a stun grenade into the crowd.
All clues lead to India, and
soon Quinn is off on an in-
ternational assignment with
her hunky secret-agent boy-
friend, James Anderson. Their mission: find
the kidnapped Indian ambassador as well as
the priceless manuscripts stolen during the
event. Mann’s latest spy caper is filled with
danger, suspense, and a healthy helping of
humor. Exquisite details of Indian life and
culture are woven into the story, giving the
reader a true sense of place. Libraries will
definitely want both books in Mann’s Li-
brarian/Spy Escapade series, with a third to
come. —Shelley Mosley
By Monica McCarty.
Sept. 2017. 352p. Jove, paper, $7.99 (9780399587702).
Opening the Lost Platoon series, McCarty,
By Lisa Renee Jones.
Aug. 2017. 304p. St. Martin’s/Griffin, paper, $15.99
(9781250083845); e-book (9781250083883).
Shane Brandon will stop at nothing to
keep his family’s business in the family
but away from his brother Derek, who
has caused him nothing but trouble. Now
Derek is involved with a drug cartel, and
it is up to Shane to find a way out of this
mess, even if it means doing things he
vowed never to do. Shane’s father is dying but still pitting his sons against one
another. Emily Stevens is done running
from her past and wants only to run into
Shane’s arms, but she still clings to a potentially ruinous secret. Full of twists and
turns, Jones’ sizzling hot ride through the
depths of one family’s hidden woes and
labyrinthine business dealings picks up
right at the end of Damage Control (2017).
My Fair Lover.
By Nicole Jordan.
Sept. 2017. 368p. Ballantine, paper, $7.99
(9780553392579); e-book (9780553392586).
Six years after she totally humiliated herself in front of Brandon Deverill, Katharine
Wilde is back in his hotel room hoping this
encounter will be different. No seduction
this time; instead she intends to turn Brandon, who has recently inherited the title
of Baron Valmere, from a brash American
privateer into the most sought-after nobleman in London. With the latest entrancing
tale in her Legendary Lovers series, Jordan (The Art of Taming a Rake, 2016) puts
a sexy twist on Pygmalion, and her flair for
fusing smoldering love scenes with a plot
spiked with action and danger makes her
books a must-read for fans of old-school
historical romances by the likes of Kathleen Woodiwiss and Judith McNaught.
By Margaret Thornton.
Aug. 2017. 240p. Severn, $28.99 (9780727887160);
As Thornton picks up where Love and
Marriage (2017) ended, it’s 1960, and Val,
Cissie, and Janice are adjusting to the
realities of marriage and motherhood. The
behavior of her young, adopted son makes
Val question her abilities as a mother.
Cissie has her hands full with two young
children and wonders if she would be an
awful mother if she worked outside the
home. Janice is happy with her daughter
and the restaurant she runs with her
husband, but he wants to expand the
business, and she isn’t sure how they will
manage. With an attempted kidnapping,
questions about paternity, and changes to
women’s lives, what remains the same for
Thornton’s characters is their strong friendship and unwavering support. A welcome
summer read that looks back to a gentler
time. —Ilene Lefkowitz
The Woman Who Couldn’t Scream.
By Christina Dodd.
Sept. 2017. 352p. St. Martin’s, $27.99
(9781250028488); e-book (9781250028495).
For nine years, Helen Brassard dutifully
(and silently) fulfilled her role as trophy
wife to aging French billionaire Nauplius
Brassard only to disappear, along with
significant funds, after Nauplius unexpectedly dies on a luxury cruise. When Merida
Falcon suddenly arrives in Virtue Falls,
few people would ever connect her to
Helen Brassard, which is exactly how Merida wants things because she is out for
revenge. With the fourth wildly original addition to her Virtue Falls series, Dodd takes
more than a few creative risks and then
brilliantly succeeds in this sexy, compulsively readable tale of romantic suspense.
ROMANCE FICTION IN BRIEF