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  • Katy Regnery

Kirkus Review of Fragments of Ash!

After her mother dies, a young woman discovers that her stepfather has a secret agenda in the latest installment of Regnery’s (Catching Irish, 2018, etc.) Modern Fairytale series.

Ashley Ellis always had a complicated relationship with her mother, Tig, a supermodel whose career ended due to drug abuse. Through it all, Ashley received support from her godfather, Gus. Shortly after Ashley turns 18, tragedy strikes when Tig dies of a drug overdose. Ashley’s shock turns to fear when her stepfather, Mosier R?umann, the head of a violent crime family, tells her that he plans to marry her—after she graduates from high school. She turns to Gus and his partner, Jock, for help. They send her to Jock’s country house, where she meets their tenant, Julian Ducharmes, a former Secret Service agent who now works as a glassblower. Although he’s initially wary of Ashley, he’s unable to deny his attraction to her, and their cautious friendship soon turns into a passionate romance. While Ashley searches her mother’s diary for clues to her life and death, Gus, Jock, and Julian try to protect her from Mosier and his sons, Anders and Damon. Mosier, however, is determined to find Ashley and make her his wife, and he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

Regnery’s latest series installment offers a contemporary twist on “Cinderella” with dynamic characters and a well-developed romance at its heart. The narrative is anchored by Ashley, who’s shown to be a gentle, devoutly religious young woman whose relationship with her mother was fraught with instability, and the author does a fine job outlining their complex history. Regnery also fully sketches out Julian as he struggles to deal with an error in judgment that ended his Secret Service career. Ashley’s romance with him develops slowly, bolstered by scenes that crackle with erotic tension. The fast-paced chapters alternate between Ashley’s and Julian’s first-person points of view and Tig’s journal entries, providing readers with insight into each character and their motivations.

A dark, bewitching twist on a classic story.

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