cover image BLOOD ROSES


Jeanette Baker, . . Mira, $6.50 (384pp) ISBN 978-1-55166-910-6

With this smoothly paced offering set amidst the Catholic and Protestant wars in present day Northern Ireland, historical romance author Baker (Nell) succeeds in crafting an emotionally charged political intrigue that informs while it entertains. Six years after witnessing her husband's murder, Kate Nolan and her teenaged children, Deirdre and Kevin, are still trying to overcome the horror of it all. Kate has immersed herself in her job as a Catholic civil rights activist for the British prime minister, Deirdre is a worrisome college student ever fearful and watchful, and Kevin has started to hang around with a drug dealing crowd. When Kevin is busted for possession, he's given a choice by Special Forces Officer Neil Anderson: become an informant or go to prison. Things take a darker turn when Kate learns that her husband may not have been the devoted husband and father she believed him to be; Neil forces Kevin into life-threatening situations involving terrorists; and Deirdre becomes infatuated with a Protestant student. Delivered with thoughtful exposition and flawless writing, this provocative book is built around Baker's personal experiences of Ireland, which lend her story a sense of immediacy and authenticity. (Aug.)