Romance Book Reviews

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Sanctuary by Nora Roberts

Jove, May 1998.
Paperback, 516 pages.
ISBN: 0515122734.
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Cover of Sanctuary
by Nora Roberts Jo Ellen Hathaway is a highly successful photographer whose work is about to be showcased in a new book from a major publisher. But on the eve of her greatest triumph, Jo Ellen is terrified -- someone has been sending her photographs of herself obviously taken by someone in close physical proximity. When a photo of Jo Ellen's mother Annabelle arrives, Jo Ellen has a breakdow -- her mother disappeared 20 years ago leaving her father and sister and brother miserable, confused and bitter, thinking that Annabelle ran off with another man. In the photo, her mother is nude and obviously dead. When she is released from the hospital, Jo Ellen returns to her family home, Sanctuary Inn, a bed and breakfast on Lost Desert Island, off the island of Savannah, Georgia. Jo Ellen meets up with a childhood friend who has also just returned to the island and joins forces with him to find out what happened that night 20 years ago when her mother left. Determined to find the truth and help heal the scars that have almost destroyed her quiet brother, seemingly shallow sister and her remote and grief-stricken father, Jo Ellen begins hunting for the truth. When another woman disappears in the same manner as Annabelle, Jo Ellen knows she must track down a murderer whose twisted motives lie in the past.

Sanctuary is a remarkable tale of how one family was irrevocably changed by an unspeakable act of violence and how the truth can start the healing of even the most vicious wounds. Jo Ellen is a complex, tortured and yet ultimately powerful heroine who will make you smile with her feisty attitude, even while your heart aches for her as she struggles to keep her hold on her sanity in the midst of some horrifying revelations from the past. The seductive, lush island provides a passionate backdrop for this tale of love, passion, heartache and madness. The talented and versatile Nora Roberts has created a spellbinding story which will entrance lovers of suspense, romance and mystery alike.

Sharp Edges by Jayne Ann Krentz

Pocket Books, Feb., 1998.
Hardcover, 320 pages.
ISBN: 0671523104.
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Cover of Sharp Edges
by Jayne Ann Krentz Elegant, artistic and sophisticated museum curator Eugenia Swift and beer-drinking, hamburger-eating private detective Cyrus Colfax could not be more different in tastes and styles, but they are stuck together. When a wealthy art collector dies and leaves his fabulous glass collection to Eugenia's museum, she is sent to catalogue the collection at Glass House on Frog Island, off the Seattle coast. Much to her dismay, the museum board insists that she take Cyrus with her to determine if the late, unlamented Adam Daventry fell down his stairs by accident or if he was pushed. The unlikely pair set off on their journey, each hiding a secret agenda. Eugenia is determined to discover if this latest death is related to the drowning death of her friend Nellie Grant who was involved with the late Daventry. Cyrus is on the trail of a legendary art treasure, The Hades Cup, which was stolen right out from under his nose on a prior case which resulted in the death of his wife. Posing as a couple, the two are thrust together and begin to discover a fiery attraction for one another, in spite of their differences. As they hunt for the missing cup and clues to the identity of a murderer, they get more than they bargained for because whoever killed Daventry won't hesitate to kill again.

Whether writing as Amanda Quick, Jayne Castle or Jayne Ann Krentz, Krentz always delivers the goods. The trademark banter and repartee between her romantic leads is better than ever in Sharp Edges. The repressed Eugenia is a perfect foil for the hard-boiled, diamond in the rough Cyrus, who would be devastatingly handsome if he would just ditch those Hawaiian shirts which make Eugenia shudder each time she sees him -- and will make readers think of Tom Selleck in his Magnum, p.i days. A lighthearted adventure with just the right mix of passion and romance.

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