Samantha Sotto’s Before Ever After is a magical, mysterious, and romantic treat. Shelley was a very locked-down person before she met up with Max, who took her and a bevy of eccentric souls on a European tour unlike any other. Stuffed into a VW microbus and crossing the English Channel, Max leads them on a truly fascinating tour off the usual path. Along the way, Shelley and Max fall deeply in love. It’s a pity it can’t last.
I don't usually choose to read romances, but the setting for Jessica Brockmole's debut novel, Letters from Skye, interested me. It is a true "old-fashioned love story," told in alternating chapters through letters written during World War I and World War II.
First will ye Lie
Curst shall ye Crye
Worst must ye Die
They should have heeded the warning on the guard stone. But, no, through the years many people couldn’t resist the lure of riches though many died in trying to recover them. For in 1695, English pirate Edward Ockham had commanded his men bury his silver, gold, and jewels on an island off the coast of Maine. He didn’t just bury it deep in a simple hole in the ground. The pirate had his many thousand pounds of loot safely placed in a devious trap called the Water Shaft as is recounted in Riptide, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Flight attendant Summer Benson heads to Black Dog Bay, Delaware, to recover from two disastrous events in her life: a terrifying airplane accident and a man who doesn’t love her enough to marry her. Full of humor, snappy dialogue, and lively characters, Cure for the Common Breakup is a perfect summer read to slip into your beach tote.
Lucia is furious with her father. As paterfamilias, head of his Roman household, gladiator-trainer Lucius has chosen her rich husband for her. Lucia fumes to herself that aged, grumpy Vitulus would do very well as a grandfather--but not as her bridegroom! Their loathsome, formal dinner together is cut short by the sounds of a cracking whip and the rumblings of the Earth. Somewhere nearby a slave is being punished, Mount Vesuvius is gathering strength to explode. Vicky Alvear Shecter’s romantic novel, Curses and Smoke, is set in Pompeii's dangerous last days when anything, even forbidden love, might be possible.
Gemma Doyle is furious with her mother. They may have the same untamed red hair and deep green eyes, but in Libba Bray’s historical novel A Great and Terrible Beauty they are completely at odds with each other. It’s Gemma’s 16th birthday, and try as she may, she is making no headway whatsoever with getting what she really wants for a present—a ticket back to Merrie Olde England where she can make her debut in society and meet some nice, eligible young men. But her mother won’t budge. Gemma’s to stay with her parents in India. And then something terrible happens. She gets her wish… at a horrifying cost.
Molly’s father was determined to get rid of her. Her mother, believed mad and kept locked away, had no say in the matter. After all, Diane Stanley’s The Silver Bowl is set in medieval times, and if a father wanted to drag his street urchin of a child to the castle and hire her off as a scullery maid, there was no one to say him nay. Never mind that she’s seven years old.
In The Witness, Elizabeth Fitch is the daughter of a controlling and cold mother who is a famous surgeon. When her mother is away at a medical conference, Elizabeth changes her appearance, makes fake IDs for herself and her friend and they go out to one of the hottest night clubs in the area. They drink too much and meet two Russian men who take them back to their house. However, when they get there two other Russian men come and murder her friend and one of the Russian men that brought her there. Elizabeth escapes and goes into a witness protection program.
They very nearly had to pry Liza out of the expensive London hotel. Surrounded by mementoes of her loving but tragically deceased family, the pretty, young girl had gone from a promising future to ruin. There was no money to even pay the hotel bill, and she had to sweet-talk the harrumphing manager into giving her cash for a hansom cab to follow up her only hope for sustaining herself—a job as a lady’s maid to Princess Victoria. But she could not know that very soon she and the princess would become Prisoners in the Palace.
In Alice Hoffman’s The Red Garden, Hallie Brady arrives in the wilderness near Hightop Mountain in 1750. Nobody white had settled this part of Massachusetts before, and the native people who camped nearby vowed that no man would find happiness west of the mountain. Teenaged, English-born Hallie comes with her not-good-for-much husband and a couple of other families he has duped into following him in circles for days before winding up in the shadow of the mountain just as the November snows are settling in.