★ Hook, Line, and Sinker
Two delightful people find both themselves and true love in Tessa Bailey’s sequel to It Happened One Summer, Hook, Line, and Sinker. Film production assistant Hannah Bellinger’s latest project is being shot in her late father’s small hometown of Westport, Washington, where she met fisherman Fox Thornton the summer before. They’ve been texting buddies ever since, and she bunks at his place during the shoot. Fox is funny and incredibly handsome but a self-avowed shallow player, so she’s certain she’d never fall in love with him. Except there is so much about Fox to love: his humor, his self-deprecation, the way he believes in her (not to mention his unending sex appeal). Fox is constantly there for Hannah, and the evolution of their relationship from pals to passionate lovers feels authentic at every step of the way. Bailey is a master at articulating emotion through both narrative prose and dialogue, and readers will feel everything going through the hearts of this charming yet imperfect couple. Every page in this fabulous novel is pure romance gold.
Kamila Knows Best
Farah Heron retells one of Jane Austen’s classic in Kamila Knows Best. Accountant Kamila Hussain lives a busy life taking care of her father, her dog and her many friends. But is she paying enough attention to her own needs and what she might really want . . . such as Rohan Nasser, a man she’s known forever? Heron’s prose completely captures the breezy, confident tone of her modern Emma. Like Austen’s protagonist, Kamila is a devoted daughter, inveterate matchmaker and she’s just a bit self-centered. But she’s as vivacious and fun to read about as Heron’s descriptions of clothing, decor and mouthwatering meals. A warm, wisecracking set of secondary characters and contemporary concerns fortify the rom-com plotline. A very good groveling scene (a trope beloved by many romance readers in which a character humbles themselves for love) is included, along with a recipe for biryani in this all-around delicious love story.
The Lady Tempts an Heir
Harper St. George’s lush Victorian romance, The Lady Tempts an Heir, sees a brash American fall at the feet of an English lady. Maxwell Crenshaw, the heir and manager of a prosperous ironworks, leaves New York City to check on his ailing father in London, which means he’s right back in the world of Lady Helena March. She’s oh-so proper and oh-so beautiful, and when they are both pressured by their families to marry . . . well, why not give themselves some breathing room by faking an engagement? In the way of these things, of course, Max and Helena find passion and then love, falling for each other as they discover they share similar stances regarding the rights of women and the plight of factory workers. But they live on separate continents and they’d agreed this wasn’t to last, right? Max and Helena’s sensuous, engaging and entertaining love story is deepened by St. George’s pitch-perfect evocation of the tender yearning of lovers separated by distance and circumstance.