ON THE SHELF: New adult fiction for the romantic in us all

Published 8:00 am Sunday, February 6, 2022

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week’s column features new adult fiction.

Author Christy Carlyle begins a new romance series with her latest “Duke Gone Rogue.” Will Hart, the Duke of Ashmore, is the exact opposite of his father. He is honest to a fault, forbidding and apparently lacks the capacity for joy. As a duke, he’s a catch, but what lady wants a grumpy wet blanket as a husband? His sisters decide to get him to a run-down family property in Cornwall, hoping to rekindle the carefree man he once was. Madeline Ravenwood is determined to make a successful run of the gardening business she inherited from her father and being a founding member of the Royal Visit Committee. She is hard at work preparing for Princess Beatrice’s visit to judge the annual flower show, but the arrival of the stern, handsome duke is a distraction Maddie doesn’t need. The rest of the committee, however, tasks Maddie with the job of convincing Will to repair his run-down manor house in time for the royal visit. As the pair spend more time together, their feelings for one another become harder to ignore. Can Will convince Maddie that she’s the woman he’s been waiting for?

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“The Singles Table” is the third installment of Sara Desai’s “Marriage Game” series. This amusing romantic comedy shows that opposites attract when a free-spirited lawyer decides to find the perfect match for a grumpy bachelor at her cousin’s wedding. Having just suffered a devastating break-up, Zara Patel is determined to never open her heart to love again. She throws herself into building her career and helping her friends find their happily-ever-afters. She has never faced a guest at the singles table that she couldn’t find a match for, until she crosses paths with sexy Jay Dayal. Jay is a former military security specialist who is singularly focused on working hard and winning at all costs. When the charismatic Zara is thrown into his path, it is exactly the type of chaos that he wants to avoid, but the two are stuck together for the entirety of the wedding season. They strike a deal: Zara will help him find the right woman if Jay will introduce her to some of his celebrity clients. As their arrangement brings them together in unexpected ways, they realize that they may be each other’s perfect match.

Kat Martin’s latest series begins with “The Last Goodnight.” Eight years ago, Kade Logan said goodbye to his estranged wife not knowing it would be the last time he would see her alive. As her car is hauled out of a nearby lake, Kade is determined to track down the man who murdered her. He hires Eleanor Bowman, a talented private investigator, to track down the murderer, but she’s about to kick a hornet’s nest on Kade’s Colorado ranch. As old scandals regarding his late wife’s many affairs surface, Kade is also faced with the discovery of the body of another beautiful woman. Ellie believes the same man seduced and murdered both women. Kade and Ellie get closer to answers, but the killer is closing in on Ellie as well. Kade will risk everything to save the woman he’s come to love before she becomes the next one to die.

The latest title in Jayne Ann Krentz’s “Fogg Lake” series is called “Lightning in a Mirror.” Olivia LeClair isn’t having the best of luck in her speed dating endeavor. First, there was the horrible encounter with the date who tried to murder her and now, the man sitting across from her is supposed to be dead. The mysterious Harlan Rancourt sits down at her table and tells Olivia that she’s the only one who can help him locate the legendary Vortex lab. She doesn’t have much of a choice, though, because her psychic investigation firm works for the mysterious Foundation and Victor Arganbright, the director, insists that she help Harlan. No one is sure of Harlan’s real agenda, but his father once ran the Foundation — much like a mob organization — and Harlan was destined to be the heir. There are others who are after the super-secret lab as well, though their intentions are decidedly not altruistic. Neither Olivia nor Harlan trusts one another, but they soon realize that they are going to have to work together to find the lab before innocent people die.

Naomi Krupitsky offers an engrossing debut novel with “The Family.” Two best friends, daughters of the Italian mafia come of age in 20th-century Brooklyn. Sofía Colicchio is free-spirited and boisterous. Antonia Russo is thoughtful and observant. The girls have been best friends since birth, but they live in the shadow of their fathers’ unspoken community: the Family. Sunday dinners are for gathering to feast, discuss business and renew the bond borne of blood and love. The disappearance of Antonia’s father, however, puts a sliver of a wedge between the two girls as they grow into women, wives, mothers and leaders. They push against the boundaries of society’s expectations and fight to preserve their complex, nurturing friendship. A single fateful night will test their loyalty to each other and to the Family. Only one will pull the trigger before it’s too late.

“Still Life” by Sarah Winman is a captivating, emotional story of two people brought together by love, war and art. As allied troops advance on Tuscany in 1944, a young English soldier named Ulysses Temper finds himself in the wine cellar of a deserted villa. There he has a chance encounter with Evelyn Skinner, a middle-aged art historian who has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins. Their meeting shapes Ulysses’s life for the next forty years. As he returns to London, he carries his time in Italy with him to his local watering hole. One day, a surprise inheritance takes him back to where it all began and, rather than tempt fate, he returns to the Tuscan hills one more time.