Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access feature articles from our print edition. To view, subscribe or log in.
Site license users can log in here.

Get IMMEDIATE ACCESS to Publishers Weekly for only $15/month.

Instant access includes exclusive feature articles on notable figures in the publishing industry, he latest industry news, interviews of up and coming authors and bestselling authors, and access over 200,000 book reviews.

PW "All Access" site license members have access to PW's subscriber-only website content. To find out more about PW's site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time.

It’s Better This Way

Debbie Macomber. Ballantine, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-984818-78-2

Bestseller Macomber (Cottage by the Sea) wows with this heartwarming romance between middle-aged divorcées. Six years after Julia Jones’s divorce from her husband of 31 years, Julia, now approaching her 60th birthday, is “easing into retirement.” She’s sold her interior design business and now works there part-time as a consultant while living in a Seattle condo. Though Julia misses the companionship of marriage, she resists the matchmaking efforts of her sister, Amanda, and resolves to give up dating after one too many disappointments. Then Julia meets Heath Wilson in the exercise room of her building, and they bond over disastrous experiences of postdivorce dating. As their relationship evolves from shared coffees to long dinners, romance blossoms—until Julia has a dream that she believes to be prophetic of trouble ahead. Heath tries to reassure her—but after Heath’s son Michael shares a startling revelation about Julia and her daughters with Heath, both Heath and Julia must weigh their relationship against the displeasure of their adult children. Macomber keeps her well-shaded, believable characters at the heart of this seamlessly plotted novel as she probes the nuances of familial relationships and the agelessness of romance. This deeply emotional tale proves it’s never too late for love. Agent: Theresa Park, Park & Fine Literary. (July)

Reviewed on 04/30/2021 | Details & Permalink

show more
Nothing But Cowboy

Justine Davis. Tule, $3.99 e-book (318p) ASIN B08TQVXTH4

Davis launches the Raffertys of Last Stand series, a spin-off of her Texas Justice series, with a touching tale centered on the oldest Rafferty brother. When Keller Rafferty signed up to foster Lucas, an orphaned 13-year-old with no living relatives, he thought it would be a temporary arrangement to get Lucas out of a group home. He never expected that he and his family would become so attached so quickly. But right as Keller decides to make things official by adopting Lucas, a woman named Sydney Brock shows up at his door, claiming to be Lucas’s long-lost cousin. Protective Keller is wary, suspicious—and attracted. While waiting for a DNA test to prove she’s telling the truth, Sydney spends time with the Raffertys and is quickly taken by their tight bond and solid roots. Having grown up moving all over the world with parents who saw her as a burden, she longs for unwavering love and stability—and she might just find it with Keller. New readers may feel they’re missing some backstory for skipping the Texas Justice series, but the slow burning relationship stands on its own. Keller and Sydney both use their tough exteriors to hide fragile hearts, and the result is a strong pairing that readers will root for. (June)

Reviewed on 04/23/2021 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Sweetest Charade

Jadesola James. Carina, $3.99 e-book (300p) ASIN B08LNPLBJT

James’s debut delivers an endearingly unlikely duo, a luxurious setting, and fun fake dating drama. Eritrean Instagram influencer Delysia Daniels came to New York for med school but dropped out when her mother got sick, with a plan to make enough money on social media to pay for her surgery. The story begins when Delysia posts a photo of herself in bed with an unidentifiable man—and accidentally tags the wrong account. African American history professor Alexander Abbott-Hill would rather work on antique train restoration than look for love—but now everyone thinks he’s dating Delysia. Delysia’s formidable agent convinces the pair to spin this misconception to benefit them both with a glamorous train trip down the East Coast for them and a group of influencers. Branded the Gilded Express, the trip will build Delysia’s brand and generate interest in Alexander’s research. The vintage train makes a romantic background for their fake relationship, with stops in cities along the way adding to the appeal. The eventual sex scenes, while steamy, don’t always feel true to the distinct personalities of the characters, and some of the obstacles the couple faces are abruptly introduced and just as quickly discarded. Still, James does a good job making Alexander’s nerdy intensity attractive and peeling back Delysia’s layers. This charming romance should win James many fans. (June)

Reviewed on 04/23/2021 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Wildest Ride

Marcella Bell. HQN, $16.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-335-77322-7

Two headstrong bull riders compete in a reality TV rodeo competition in this enthralling love story from Bell (Stolen to Wear His Crown). Lilian “Lil” Sorrow Island’s grandmother pushes Lil to enroll in the Professional Bull Riders Association Closed Circuit Tour after they discover that Lilian’s late grandfather took out a reverse mortgage on their family ranch. With the bank coming to collect, the cash prize is their best bet to save their ranch. Lil is an underdog, but her chances look good—until all-time great AJ Garza announces he’s coming out of retirement to compete. Garza, too, has a good reason: he hopes to use the money to save the CityBoyz, the after-school boys program he runs with his father figure. Eight years Lil’s senior, Garza is immediately enraptured by her beauty and skill, and Lil, meanwhile, is awed to meet a man she’s idolized. Though they’re rivals, their appreciation of one another, along with the close proximity the competition keeps them in, gives rise to a spontaneous kiss and plenty of spicy banter. The result is thoroughly charming, with strong cowboy flavor, fascinating family histories, and female empowerment front and center. True to its title, this wild ride is sure to sweep readers away. Agent: Helen Breitweiser, Cornerstone Literary. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 04/23/2021 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Virgin Who Humbled Lord Haslemere

Anna Bradley. Lyrical, $7.99 e-book (320p) ASIN B08VC9XG7B

A confirmed spinster falls for a roguish earl in Bradley’s immersive third Swooning Virgins Society Regency romance (after The Virgin Who Vindicated Lord Darlington). Georgiana Harley, a teacher at London’s Clifford School, whose residents specialize in exposing aristocratic corruption among other investigations, instantly despises Benedict Harcourt, Earl of Haslemere, who she meets after Benedict and his drunken friends pay two of her students to compete in a footrace so they can bet on the outcome. Months later, the pair are thrown back together when Benedict’s sister, the Duchess of Kenilworth, turns to the Clifford School for help finding her missing friend, Clara Beauchamp, whom she hasn’t heard from in six years. Georgiana’s investigation leads her down a rabbit hole—and grows even more complicated when a rumor circulates to discredit the Duchess by claiming she cheated on her husband. Benedict and Georgiana team up to get to the bottom of the rumors and sparks soon fly, with Benedict becoming enamored of Georgiana’s caustic wit, and Georgiana discovering the surprising layers beneath Benedict’s devil-may-care facade. Flirtatious banter and intelligent characters fill the pages of this sensuous novel. Historical romance fans will be delighted by Bradley’s clever combination of mystery and romance. Agent: Marlene Stringer, Stringer Literary. (June)

Reviewed on 04/23/2021 | Details & Permalink

show more
A Bargain of Blood and Gold

Kristin Jacques. City Owl, $14.99 trade paper (308p) ISBN 978-1-64898-060-2

Jacques (Skin Curse) delivers a charming, fast-paced queer paranormal romance set in the 1850s. Johnathan Newman is a fledgling member of the Society, an organization specializing in the hunting and killing of vampires. When his mentor sends him to Cress Haven to investigate a series of disappearances and murders suspected to be vampire related, he hopes to use the opportunity to prove his worth as a hunter—but he finds much more than he bargained for in the small New England town. Johnathan teams up with Vic, a handsome, witty, and respected local—who also happens to be a vampire in hiding. Learning Vic’s secret makes Johnathan question everything he’s been taught, and the pair can’t help falling for each other. As they delve deeper into the disappearances and murders, they find an evil spreading through Cress Haven that is neither human nor vampire. Though some plot solutions are perhaps a bit convenient, Jacques has a talent for pacing that feels effortless, and moves the story along with snappy dialogue, adorable flirting, and winning found-family relationships. This delightful romp is sure to appeal to fans of Cat Sebastian and Gail Carriger. (June)

Reviewed on 04/23/2021 | Details & Permalink

show more
Murder at Sunrise Lake

Christine Feehan. Berkley, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-0-593-33314-3

Bestseller Feehan (Lightning Game) expertly reels in readers for a rip-roaring thrill ride in this spectacular standalone. Badass heroine Stella Harrison, the daughter of a serial killer, possesses an intuitive gift for sensing other serial killers through her dreams—and it appears that one’s about to strike in Sunrise Lake, the tiny hamlet in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains where Stella owns a resort. For two years, strong, silent type Sam Rossi has been Stella’s handyman and the closest thing she has to a confidant, but she’s reluctant to tell him of her premonitions—until he becomes a target. Now Stella and Sam race to outsmart the killer—and as the body count rises, their relationship heats up. The pair slowly share the secret details of their lives with each other, including that Sam is a former fixer for the U.S. government with a notorious father of his own. Feehan ramps up the tension early and keeps it climbing until the very end, masterfully throwing out red herrings that will keep readers guessing. The riveting plot strikes a fine balance between romance and danger. Add in irresistible characters, and readers won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough.Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (June)

Reviewed on 04/23/2021 | Details & Permalink

show more
History of Us

Stacey Agdern. Tule, $3.99 e-book (182p) ASIN B08YV7FTWN

Agdern highlights Long Island’s Jewish community in her second Friendships and Festivals romance (after Miracles and Menorahs), but the loving care taken with the depictions of Jewish food and culture doesn’t extend to the novel’s other elements, leaving characters underdeveloped and plot threads dangling. Anna Cohen, the assistant curator at the Manhattan Museum of Jewish History, is spending her summer on Long Island to build an exhibit on the history of the Horowitz-Margaretens, an exceedingly affluent local family. The project brings her back into close contact with her ex, Jacob Horowitz-Margareten, an “ethical billionaire” who heads a charitable foundation grounded in Tikkun Olam, the Jewish concept of repairing the world. As Anna works in Jacob’s family’s archive, the pair must rebuild trust and move past old hurt. Though they discuss their history at length, readers won’t come away with a clear understanding of what led to their initial breakup. Also vague are the descriptions of the setting and even what the characters look like. Friends and family show up to say supportive words, and they all eat a lot of deliciously described food, but though the cultural specificity is commendable, it can also feel heavy-handed. Readers will struggle to invest in this second-chance love story. Agent: Lynnette Novak, the Seymour Agency. (June)

Reviewed on 04/23/2021 | Details & Permalink

show more
Very Sincerely Yours

Kerry Winfrey. Berkley, $16 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-33341-9

Winfrey (Waiting for Tom Hanks) delivers a sweet and fluffy rom-com that plays out partly through the touching email correspondence between heroine Teddy Phillips, an endearingly hapless 30-something, and hero Everett St. James, a “hot Mr. Rogers.” Both are romantically skittish: Teddy was expecting a proposal when her exploitative doctor boyfriend dumped her and kicked her out of their shared apartment, leaving her floundering. As for Everett, he’s focused all his time and energy on his work hosting a children’s TV show since his own romantic disaster. Teddy finds comfort in Everett’s program and emails him hoping for some of the same supportive guidance he’s so good at doling out to children. Everett’s enchanted by her note, kicking off a pen pal–style relationship that slowly evolves into something more. Winfrey lets their love blossom at a believable pace as they overcome emotional and professional obstacles with the help of their convincing sets of friends. With plenty of smile-worthy misadventures along the way, this light, down-to-earth romance is sure to charm. Agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. (June)

Reviewed on 04/23/2021 | Details & Permalink

show more
Hope on the Range

Cindi Madsen. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $8.99 mass market (312p) ISBN 978-1-4926-8920-1

Best friends wrangle troubled teens, a friendly rodeo competition, and their newfound feelings for one another in Madsen’s rowdy second Turn Around Ranch romance (after A Cowboy Never Quits). In Silver Springs, Colo., rancher Tanya Greer falls for her best friend and neighbor, Brady Dawson, but can’t find a way to share her feelings. Brady, who helps runs Turn Around Ranch, his family’s rehabilitation center for troubled teens, returns Tanya’s feelings, but after a botched attempt to make things romantic years ago, he’s wary of crossing the line. Tanya’s parents still treat her like a child, denying her real responsibility on the ranch, so when she gets a job offer that would require her to relocate to the city, she strongly considers it—and the opportunity forces her and Brady to confront their emotions or risk losing each other forever. Meanwhile, love blooms between bad boy Maddox, the newest teen arrival to Turn Around Ranch, and good girl Harlow, the ranch’s youngest employee. Tanya and Brady have a fairly easy transition from friends to lovers, leading the teens’ more tumultuous romance to consistently steal the show. Both rollicking and sweet, this is sure to please fans of cowboy romance. Agent: Nicole Resciniti, the Seymour Agency. (June)

Reviewed on 04/23/2021 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

Not Registered? Click here.