October 15, 2016 Booklist 23 www.booklistonline.com
specializes in westerns based in historical fact
(Bill Doolin, 2016), humanizes the Dooley
affair through shifting points of view and
avoiding clichéd characterization. Dooley,
we learn, was quite the ladies’ man. Before
the war, he had an affair with Ann Foster;
later, he had affairs with Ann’s two cousins,
Pauline and Laura Foster. After Laura was
murdered, Ann was also a suspect, but a
long letter from Tom exonerated her without admitting his own guilt. Though anyone
familiar with the famous song knows the
inevitable conclusion to the story, Brooks
manages to sustain the suspense through
two trials in which Tom was found guilty
but a host of other possible suspects emerge.
Brooks has a unique talent that extends far
beyond the formulas of the western genre.
He’s an extraordinary historical novelist
whose works deserve a much wider audience.
— Wes Lukowsky
By Daisy Goodwin.
Nov. 2016. 384p. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (9781250045461).
It has become popular to contextualize certain monarchs not in toto as they ended up
(dour or corpulent or tyrannical or pathetic)
but in the prime of their youth. Henry VIII
has received this treatment, and Queen Victoria now seems to be the sovereign du jour.
Goodwin’s ( The Fortune Hunter, 2014) novel
of the young queen, painted here as a guileless romantic heroine, covers her accession
and her marriage proposal to Prince Albert, a
latecomer who forms a romantic triangle with
Victoria and the prime minister, Lord Melbourne. Typical for royal fiction, the drama
comes from the machinations of factious, self-serving courtiers and politicians attempting to
control or destroy the monarch, in this case a
sheltered, immature young woman fumbling
toward effective queenship. The sympathetic,
older, and rather tragic Melbourne guides
her and alleviates her loneliness, and the relationship between the two underpins the
novel. Goodwin wrote this simultaneously
with the screenplay for Masterpiece Theatre’s
Victoria, slated to air in early 2017. Highly
recommended for historical-fiction collections.
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling
Goodwin always draws in fans, but expect
extra buzz and lots of promotion as news of
the TV series elevates demand for the book.
By Rosie Harris.
Nov. 2016. 224p. Severn, $28.99 (9780727886408);
Determined to contribute to the war effort in any way she can, Megan Lloyd, 21,
travels to Liverpool to lend her support.
She is shocked to see the devastation caused
by repeated bombings, but she is even more
horrified when she learns about all the young
women left pregnant and alone by Allied
soldiers. Megan sees an opportunity to help
by offering them lodging and support. But
when she shares this idea with her parents,
they forbid it, and when she ignores their
prohibition and proceeds, her family shuns
her. Luckily, Megan meets Sandra, a heav-
ily pregnant woman who offers her family’s
home as a place where Megan can begin her
charity work. They quickly gain traction in
the community, and Megan is struck by the
generosity of handsome Harvey Stott, a doc-
tor who volunteers his services. Megan and
Harvey warm to each other, and their circum-
stantial encounter blossoms into much more.
Harris’ (Heartbreak and Happiness, 2016) lat-
est gentle, historical romance offers a tale of
compassion and willpower in the most dire
circumstances. —Patricia Smith
By Kimberly Raye.
Nov. 2016. 320p. St. Martin’s, paper, $7.99
(9781250063977); e-book (9781466868977).
In Raye’s (Red-Hot Texas Nights, 2016) latest Rebel Moonshine novel, Jenna is clearing
out the family homestead, hoping for a fresh
start. Her grandfather died while working
on his still on the property, and the people
in town look down on her and her sisters for
their moonshine and their colorful family history. Jenny used to be wild, and when she is
passed over for a promotion at the veterinary
clinic, she resolves to walk the straight path
from now on. Sheriff Hunter DeMassi also
used to have a rowdy reputation, but he, too,
now tries to be responsible. When he has to
protect Jenna after she discovers the secret
underlying a long-running feud, he initially
fights his attraction to her. As for Jenna, she
thinks she can only fall for nice, quiet men,
but finds that she can’t resist Hunter. Raye’s
well-written tale with sexy banter between
Jenna and Hunter lifts her characters out of
predictable patterns into a lively and enjoyable story. —Amy Alessio
Tempting the Earl.
By Rachael Miles.
Nov. 2016. 352p. Zebra, paper, $4.99 (9781420140903);
Enough is enough. Ever since he married
her, six years ago, Olivia Walgrave’s husband,
Harrison, Earl of Levesford, has completely
ignored her. Left by herself to manage their
country estate, Olivia has found personal
fulfillment writing essays on the social ills affecting England, using the pseudonym “An
Honest Gentleman.” But Olivia wants more
from life than an absentee husband, which
is why she is pressing Harrison for an annulment. Harrison knows he has been busy with
secret work for the War Office and ending his
marriage would easily allow him to continue
on with his life as it is. However, when he returns home to his estate, ostensibly to check
up on his wife, he discovers that letting go of
Olivia may be more difficult than he thought.
Fans of Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney as
well as all readers who value Regency-set ro-
mances that are expertly grounded in the era’s
history will be delighted to discover the latest
in Miles’ (Chasing the Heiress, 2016) impecca-
bly researched and beautifully crafted Muses’
Salon series. —John Charles
By Paige Tyler.
Dec. 2016. 352p. Sourcebooks, paper, $7.99
Tyler’s SWAT series, about an all-werewolf
Dallas special forces unit (To Love a Wolf,
2016), continues in this fifth installment.
Alex Trevino is taking the squad dog, Tuff-ie, to the vet when he falls head over heels
for the doctor there, Lacey Barton, whose
soft spot for animals perfectly matches his.
Though she’s not usually Tuffie’s vet, she’d
been assigned to the Dallas PD’s animal cruelty unit to aid the cops as they uncover a
dog-fighting ring. Alex and Lacey’s romance
progresses against a backdrop of mysteries.
A powerful drug called Fireball is making
its way through the city. Girls are disappearing from Regional Texas College, and then
Lacey’s little sister goes missing, as well. Tyler
piles on the action, which can be a bit difficult to keep track of, but some intriguing
subplots, such as the arrival of two civilian werewolves in Dallas, raises an enticing
question for future installments: Will people
find out about werewolves? A grand mix of
romance and suspense with extra appeal for
dog lovers and fans of paranormal themes.
SF/Fantasy & Horror
By Rick Wilber.
Nov. 2016. 304p. Tor, $25.99 (9780765332905); e-book
The first book in Wilber’s Alien Trilogy
introduces readers to Peter Holman, broken-
down former professional basketball player
enjoying a new career in sweeping—2030’s
answer to podcasting. While out on a “sweep
date” with a lovely young woman, Holman
sees a series of flashing lights over the Florida
Gulf. He is witnessing the S’hudonni land-
ing. They have come to earth with the aim
of offering advanced science. But is that
their only reason for the trip? Along the
way, we meet royal alien Twoclick and his
brother, Whistle, as well as scientist Heath-
er, Twoclick’s assistant, who happens to be
engaged to Peter’s younger brother, Tom.
A sibling squabble between the two aliens
could either end up tearing a family apart or
destroying the planet—nicely paralleling the
family dynamics of Peter and Tom. This is
the start to a great trilogy (featuring charac-
ters Wilber has introduced in previous short
stories) and an enjoyable read for any lover
of first-contact sf. — Tiffany Austin
Continued on p. 26