How did I not have this book in my list of books read?? This was my favorite book growing up, and I still have the same book, in rather good condition...moreHow did I not have this book in my list of books read?? This was my favorite book growing up, and I still have the same book, in rather good condition I might add. I've always been a lifelong book lover, and I take very good care them, apparently since I was a kid! It's been a while, but now I want to go and read my copy again! (less)
I need to be shot! Immediately! What in the hell was I thinking in ignoring this book? I've read all but 5 of SEP's work. This one included. 99% of th...moreI need to be shot! Immediately! What in the hell was I thinking in ignoring this book? I've read all but 5 of SEP's work. This one included. 99% of them I adore, love and can't get enough of, but one or two (Glitter Baby and First Lady) took me a lot longer in the story to like, but eventually I did. When I first read It Had to Be You, my first SEP years ago, I really didn't care for Molly. In fact, I decided I wasn't that interested in reading her story, and in books in the series that follow this, when Molly and Kevin appear, I'm less than thrilled. I didn't get them, I didn't want to, they just didn't hold my interest. Well, now I have to go back and re-read those after the series, just to get more of them since I didn't pay attention to them then! I can be so stupid sometimes!! My absolute favorite SEP book is still Match Me If You Can, but this book is now going to be up there with it in my list of favorites!! There isn't one thing I didn't love about Kevin and Molly's story, not one thing!
In It Had to Be You, Molly was 15, and the type of teenager I thought was boring. She didn't excite me and truthfully I didn't think she had the stuff to become the type of heroine I would love. Like everyone else in Molly's life, I too was guilty of thinking she was too much of a goody goody and expected her to just fall in line with what was expected of her. What I have seen of Kevin in other books, he seemed a little boring as well. Now I know why!!!!! Molly wants to be the good girl to please everyone, but secretly she hears fire alarms going off in her head, telling her to drastic things, usually to her hair! And poor Kevin feels disconnected from everyone, so he keeps himself disconnected and focuses on the one thing in his life that helps fill the void in his heart. Usually, people like this - people who hide their true selves, I would say don't work well together, but of course, SEP does her magic and they are beautiful together. And so damn funny!!! Molly has stolen her way into my heart, a place I never expected to find her. Her children's books seemed sort of silly to me in later books in the series, but I didn't have the full Daphne and Benny treatment, like I was suppose to if I had bothered to read the series in order. Always read series in order!!!!
The side love story with Liam and Lily was just terrific as well. The reclusive creator and the just-past-her-prime aging TV star come together at just the right time for each other, and seeing Liam telling Lily how it is, that even though she's overweight and old, she is beautiful and does have power. Between Kevin and Liam's unexpected rough treatment of her, something she's not use to, she realizes her true happiness with herself. And who doesn't love a cranky but ruggedly handsome recluse who is super talented in more ways that one!!! Great characters, as usual in SEP's works.
Seriously, I usually can find something to complain about in even the most fabulous books (though not much in SEP's) but there isn't anything I didn't like. I will admit, I am insanely biased. As long as I live, there will never be an author's work I adore more, so take what I say with a tiny grain of salt, but just a tiny one! I'm off to read the rest of SEP's work, because the few left (Lady Be Good, Kiss an Angel, Honey Moon, Just Imagine and Hot Shot) are toast! I will finish them before summer is out!!! Go grab this book. Now!(less)
This is the first time I've read the series straight through, all in about 2 weeks, and I have to say, there are little things that stand out to me, n...moreThis is the first time I've read the series straight through, all in about 2 weeks, and I have to say, there are little things that stand out to me, now that I know what to look for!! The clues are there, but they are very very slight, in fact, if you don't pay attention to every little encounter with 'Cousin' Michael and his family, Charlotte Harris, you'll probably miss it! From the very first book when Charlotte has to talk to Lady Kirkwood about her relation Lucas Winter, Lady Kirkwood is very brittle to Charlotte, until the school headmistress opens up about a possible match for her son, a very wealthy young miss, who is desperately wanted by the Kirkwood clan. It's so slight as to brush it off as bad manners on Lady K, but now I know why!!
Charlotte Page grew up the daughter of a wealthy commoner, hoping to make a good match for her in exchange of political connections to the peerage. She was basically told to marry David Masters, heir to Viscount Kirkwood, even though they had not seen each other since they were children and he made fun of her. Not wanting to do what her father says, but threatened if she doesn't, Charlotte agrees to meet him, and ends up liking the grown up David. She's wary of his less than stellar reputation, but is willing to give him the benefit of the duobt, that is until she sees him having his way with the maid! Heartbroken that all his tender words have been a lie, she writes a horrible letter about his profligate ways and how it broke her heart, using nicknames for each other in case any one might come across it, somehow the letter ends up at the newspaper and is printed. Of course, the letter makes fun of his silly striped robe that everybody has seen, so everyone knows it's him. Fearing what her father might do to her in the wake of the scandal, Charlotte runs off with a Captain Harris and gets married. After a few years, her husband dies, leaving her in dire straits, and a mysterious 'Cousin' Michael becomes her benefactor, loaning her the money to get her dream of a school for young ladies off the ground.
David Masters' heart turned to ice the day the letter was published, and he never let it thaw in 18 years. Eventually he found out it his younger brother Giles who Charlotte had seen dally with the maid. Giles was wearing the silly striped robe after Charlotte had laughed at David in it, and he gave it to his brother. Of course, Charlotte did not know that then, but eventually learned it several years later herself. Neither did anything to solve anything between, instead they let their love die, and hatred fester. Which is why David initially loaned Charlotte the money under the false name. He was upset, thinking she had escaped the scandal unknown and unscathed, while he suffered for years from the fallout. The idea was to give her everything, then snatch it away and break her heart, leaving her humiliated. Except she wrote him a letter giving her sincere thanks. And another letter, and more and more, the correspondence between Charlotte and 'Cousin' Michael grew into a friendship, and David's vengeance died. Instead he wanted her to succeed.
Which why they meet up again 18 years later, when the land David has held the lien on for 15 years is about to be up, and Charlotte needs to move the school, only she doesn't know it. She has no idea who 'Cousin' Michael is, and David is determined to keep it that way. He just might succeed until he is accused of killing his late wife, and his alibi is meeting with the barrister who is the intermediary between Charlotte and Cousin Michael, but he can't admit that without angering Charlotte. Eventually everything works out, and they all live happily ever after!
I have liked Charlotte the entire series, but I can't say I picture her as a heroine I would like to read about. She seems a bit old for me in a regency era book. Thirty-six is fine for a contemporary book, but in a regency, 36 is practically in her dotage! Her constant vigilence for being an independent woman is a bit tiresome at times, but she is still a likable enough character for me.
Now David is a different matter! I really did enjoy him, maybe it's because he was willing to take on so much, all for the love a woman who had wronged him, but he couldn't not help her and want to be with her, and didn't want to hurt her. Granted his deception was wrong, but without it, Charlotte would be nowhere. He wasn't that great of a husband to his first wife, Sarah, but they knew they married each other for reasons other than love, and he tried to make the best of it. Ultimately her death was kind of sad for me, she really did want to stop fighting with her husband, so wasn't as bad as everyone thought, but she had to die for David and Charlotte to marry. It might have made an equally interesting story if Sarah had grown up, and they were to fall in love after all these years, but I guess people wanted to make Sarah the bad guy in all this.
I could go on and on about this series, but I believe you should read it for yourself and see what you think! It really is one of my favorites!(less)
Since I've heard such great things about this book, and especially about this author, I was a little leery of trying it, only to not love it. Well, th...moreSince I've heard such great things about this book, and especially about this author, I was a little leery of trying it, only to not love it. Well, that is not a problem! This book was so enchanting and adorable! I can't think of anything I didn't love about it! In the beginning, I have to admit, it did bother me a bit that it seemed very similar to Practical Magic, at least the movie version, that I thought it might be ripping it off. And although there are some very strong resemblances, by the middle of the book this had me smiling almost the entire time. It's very rare a book that can put me in an all over good mood, but this one does. Listening to the audio book, the narration was perfect for this book, and the writing is easy flowing and comfortable feeling. This is a book about southerners, but it's not over the top accents, and even though there are weird, but endearing relatives, they are not put out for display as proof of being southern, and every other little stereotype about southerners is still there, but it's not pushed into your face as so many others do, and I am forever grateful! This is a light read with a good message, and there are a few dark moments but I can only describe this book as wonderful. I especially love the tree! I want to own the hardback, I hope they make it into a wonderful movie (but knowing Hollywood, they'd botch it), and I will forever read anything by Ms. Allen, even if it never lives up to this, if the rest of her books are half as good, they'll be worth it. I'd even go so far to say this is definitely going on my forever favorites book list, the kind of book I'd recommend to everyone who could use a little sweet magic in their life!
When a book is hyped as much as this one was, I'm always leery of it. I mean no disrespect to others, but I am not a sheep, or a follower. I tend to l...moreWhen a book is hyped as much as this one was, I'm always leery of it. I mean no disrespect to others, but I am not a sheep, or a follower. I tend to like literary books that are more on the dark side, and that don't always have a happy ending. I realize this is sort of morbid, but it's what I like, because in my experience, real life isn't perfect, and I like my literary fiction to reflect this. If I'm going to reflect on big issues, such as infidelity, animal cruelty and life during the Great Depression, I want it to be realistic, almost scarily so. Please don't sugar coat it for me, give me the whole thing, because when I read literary fiction, I want a real life book, not a fantasy, no vampires, I don't even necessarily want a happily ever after. In fact, I tend to like books without a happy ending, told ya, kinda morbid. And usually by myself, because the general crowd doesn't seem to like to be depressed. One of my favorite books is House of Sand and Fog, and almost everyone dies in the end! This book, well, there were a few areas I felt were skimmed a bit, but honestly I didn't miss them too much, because to go into graphic detail of beating an animal, especially one as adorable and friendly as Rosie, I don't think I could have stomached witnessing it first hand. As it was, hearing about it second hand through other characters was bad enough to make me want to cry!
Right from the beginning, this book made me laugh and brought me into the fold. At the start of the story, Jacob is 90, or 93. Who the hell knows!
"I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other. When you're five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties you know how old you are. I'm twenty-three, you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties something strange starts to happen. It's a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I'm - you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you're not. You're thirty-five. And then you're bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it's decades before you admit it."
He goes on to describe how you lose track of the years, and why he's not sure if he's 90 or 93. I laughed out loud at work while listening to this part, because I'm 34, no, wait, yeah, 34! I frequently lose track of how old I am, and my husband teases me about this and how I'm going senile already. I love that he explains it's not because he's forgotten how old he is, he's just lost track!
"Actually, it's not so much that I've forgotten. It's more like I've stopped keeping track. We're past the millennium, that much I know - such a fuss and bother over nothing, all those young folks clucking with worry and buying canned food because somebody was too lazy to leave space for four digits instead of two - but that could have been last month or three years ago. And besides, what does it really matter? What's the difference between three weeks or three years or even three decades of mushy peas, tapioca, and Depends undergarments?"
The narration is done with 'old' Jacob and 'young' Jacob, two different narrators, and I love it. I'm not usually a big fan of first person narration, but in literary fiction it's easier to get away with, and the book is basically about Jacob's life, so for him to tell it is fine with me. A lot of complaints have been made about how this is or is not a romance. I think people are missing the point. This is Jacob's life. In people's lives, they often fall in love, and it's often a major earth shattering event (if not, I'd venture to say you're not doing it right), so the parts about Marlena are all told from Jacob's perspective, and we only get to know her through his eyes. Yes, she consumes his thoughts, but this isn't her story, we don't need to know everything about her, because Jacob is already in love with her, and that's all we need to know. There are complaints her personality was dull or she was a flat character. I disagree, but can see where they're coming from. If you compare her relationship to Jacob's with most of the other main characters, I think you'd find she was treated slightly better, as in fleshing her out. We don't find out much about August, except he's a paranoid schizophrenic and he's 12 years older than Marlena, and a sadistic asshole to boot. We hear bits and bits of everyone else and their life, but nothing is complete, because it's all what Jacob knows. As humans we don't get to know our fellow humans completely, not unless you spend a significant amount of time with them, so to get only bits and pieces of Marlena's or anyone else's life, well, it seems very realistic to me. As a result, it is difficult to see why Jacob loves her, but love is funny that way. He fell in love with her from the first moment they laid eyes on each other. That's realistic as well. But I did see her personality, the foot-tapping, the naivete, her love for animals, how because her parents refused to take her back because she not only ran off and married a circus performer, but a Jew at that, she had to struggle with dealing with August. Those things speak a lot about a person, even if it's not the complete picture, it's enough because Jacob loves her, and it's a clean and simple kind of love.
The backdrop for most of the story takes place on a circus train during the Great Depression, and the author did a wonderful job in describing every gritty detail. I definitely felt like I was there, and I wanted a shower, badly. It's such a complex and dynamic world, way more so than I would have thought. There's the cliques, where working men aren't allowed to socialize with the performers, the lingo, the shady dealings, lots of alcohol from Canada, and subsequent raids, the sheer volume of work it takes to set up a whole circus, and take it down just as fast, all in less than 24 hours often. The sad and probably realistic truth of red-lighting (I won't give it away, but it's horrific), the too-terrible conditions for the working men vs the comfort and luxury of the performers, the poor dear animals and all they have to go through! It really was an 'us vs. them' kind of mentality back then, and Jacob is one of the few who could go back and forth, showing both sides in startling contrast, another kudos to the author for that. I could really imagine myself, middle of summer, getting off the train, setting up in the heat, furious I haven't been paid in over 2 months, but unable to do anything else, waiting for the cook house to set up so I can get a meal. This was all in excellent detail. I love stories that pull you in that much!
The rest of the story takes place in a nursing home, present time, and again, great job on the gritty detail of what's probably true for most people in those situations. It almost makes me afraid to get old! I'm pretty sure there are great themes and excellent contrasts that can be over analyzed and described for those with more of a literary mind, I feel those things there, the things great authors strive to show in their work, and I don't care. I'm a normal person, and I get the book. I can't explain why I like it, or break down the structure of the book, and I don't want to. I like it the way it is. This is a book that will stay with me for a long time, both in my heart and in my head, as I think about what it was like to travel on a circus back then, whenever I see an elephant, I'll picture Rosie, who only understands Polish and likes to drink alcohol more than her humans do, and I'll remember what August did to her, and I'll remember what she did to August, and smile, thinking everything will come out right in the end, even if I don't know how, because it did for Rosie.
I'll admit the ending was unexpected, but for me the whole book was, as I was not expecting to like it very much. In fact, I was putting it off, fearing what I would find. What I found was a charming, gritty, lovable story about a man who loved a woman and an elephant. There were a few things I think could have been tweaked, but I'd just be nit-picking. The overall feel of the book was enjoyable, even if parts were hard to bear witness to. Don't go into this expecting a romance, and don't go into this not expecting a romance. Go into this with the doors and your heart wide open, and remember, this is Jacob's story, no one else's. And Jacob is one helluva man, I'm so glad I read this!(less)
I think this is the 4th time I've read this book! I really do enjoy this series! If you do read this, I highly recommend you start with the Royal Brot...moreI think this is the 4th time I've read this book! I really do enjoy this series! If you do read this, I highly recommend you start with the Royal Brotherhood series, specifically To Pleasure a Prince so you don't feel lost!
There's not much I don't like about this book, I love that Louisa is her own person, despite the fact she is Prinny's illegitimate daughter and could have a easy life. Instead, after the death of her beloved half-sister in childbirth, she works diligently for prison reform for women, trying to improve their conditions and help them to reform themselves. Simon has made a bargain with the devil, Prinny to be exact. Marry Louisa and keep her away from her work, and become the next prime minister. Except Prinny has never been someone you can trust. But Simon has lusted for Louisa for seven years and decides he can't lose, that is until Louisa finds out! Back and forth, back and forth, their chemistry is off the charts, but so is their suspicion of each other. It makes for a lot of tense and angst and drama, but I tend to like those sort of things, especially when it's well done, and I think Ms. Jeffries does an excellent job, but I could be biased! (less)
I'm changing my previous review from 4 stars to 5! And this is my new favorite of the series! First, let me start by saying, yes, these are light-hear...moreI'm changing my previous review from 4 stars to 5! And this is my new favorite of the series! First, let me start by saying, yes, these are light-hearted historical romances that Ms. Jeffries writes, but it doesn't make them any less worthy or enjoyable. In fact, I'd argue with anyone who says writing these are easier than the darker more angsty stuff. Just because they are easy to read and maybe not as serious as others would like doesn't mean it's not well done. The story still has to flow and make sense, being an aspiring writer myself, I know nothing in writing is as simple as it looks. This is why I love Sabrina Jeffries! Sometimes I don't want the dark or heavily laden plots, sometimes I want something simple and sweet and steamy!
First off, I want Lachlan for myself, but I guess if Venetia is the one I lose him too, I don't mind at all. I love all the characters, all of them!! Not a one angered me or annoyed me, not even poor Jamie when his feelings were hurt by his unrequited love of Venetia! Everyone in the book is well thought out, enjoyable and distinct, which is a rare accomplishment, in my honest opinion. The buildup of the Scottish Scourge throughout the first two books does a great job of heightening expectations of this simply horrible man who must be villainous. Except, in the first book, when kidnapping Amelia and Lucas, he is gentlemanly to Amelia, and does not want them harmed. You get a glimpse of his true character even then. When he is introduced to us in this book, being his charming and dashing self at a masquerade, it doesn't ring false, as he's only being that way to win Venetia's trust, he really is charming as well as devilish. And Venetia is the kind of heroine I adore! She's smart, funny, minx-ish, emotional, quick to anger, all things I think should be expected of women. In too many romances today (be historical or contemporary) the heroine is portrayed as a strong and independent woman, when we all know we aren't all that way. At least I'm not! Yes, I can hang tough when needed, but everyone has a breaking point, everyone has a soft heart about something, and if you say you don't, they you have no soul and you're not the kind of person I want to read about in a romance. I want passion! Several times in this novel Venetia cries, and in none of them do I see her as weak. When she realizes how injured Lachlan is, and what he has endured, most likely at the hands of men her father hired, it breaks her heart. After she has gone out of her way to be cold to him while conniving with his mother to drive him mad, he goes to a lot of trouble to get her ballads and chocolate, things she adores, just because he wanted to, it makes her so happy she cries. But she's no simpering miss either, and I think the balance is important. Venetia stands up to Lachlan throughout her kidnapping, when he stoically denies he loves her and has bedded her in front of her father to right an injustice he believes has been done, she does not cry then. No, she gives him a piece of her mind, and an ultimatum! They are great characters in my opinion!
I know some have listed the dialog or the phrasing of the dialog as part of the problem, it not being true on Lachlan or Venetia's part. I honestly can't judge this, as I'm no expert. I can tell you that excessive brogue in a novel gets a bit distracting for me, especially if it's an audio book. I know the characters are Scottish, and every once in a while, a gentle reminder of it with a few words and phrases is enough for me. I think one of the reasons I didn't love Outlander is this point. I enjoy the accent something fierce, and if Gerard Butler were to whisper sweet nothings in my ear is that devilish brogue, I'm sure I would be distracted, but for other reasons! But when I'm reading a book, I don't want to be distracted by a dialect I'm not familiar enough with to make it sound natural to me. If a few modern day phrases are thrown in, I may or may not notice, as I'm a modern woman and they are commonplace to me. I don't need to be totally immersed in the culture or scenery or even the language to get the feel of the book. I do have an imagination, and I rather enjoy using it. As I've said in other reviews, give me the basics, and the important stuff, I can handle the rest, thank you very much.
If you can take this book at face value, as something that's fun and easy and has a devilishly sexy hero and an emotionally stable and tender-hearted heroine, then this is a book I highly recommend. I don't promise you'll love it, we all have different tastes, but it's worth a try! If you want to pick apart every detail, every nuance, then avoid, and let me avoid your reviews. I read for fun and enjoyment, if I wanted to have the book dissected, I could just read every critic's review ever of romance novels, as they all accuse them as light, fluffy, and a waste of time for their lack of depth. I only have to point out the loyalty and book sales of the romance genre to show how much people appreciate these kind of books!(less)
This is absolutely one of my favorite Sabrina Jeffries books ever! But then again, I could be biased, as I love all things Sabrina Jeffries and she is...moreThis is absolutely one of my favorite Sabrina Jeffries books ever! But then again, I could be biased, as I love all things Sabrina Jeffries and she is an auto-buy author for me. This book has tons of things going for it: a sexy American alpha marine, a high-spirited beautiful heroine, possible scandal, kidnapping, highway robbery and ransom, action, adventure, what else could you want?
One of the things I really love about this book is the love story between Lucas and Amelia. They truly are attracted to each other, but are wary of each other (without the other one knowing it at the beginning) and keep secrets from each other, Amelia to protect her step-mother, Lucas to protect his mission and himself. It's not the typical miscommunication romance, which gets old for me. No, this is secret keeping at its best, for good reasons. The stakes are very high, if Amelia is wrong, her beloved step-mother Dolly is a criminal, if Lucas is wrong, the demons that have been hounding him may never go away, and he will have wasted the last 3 years of his life, and the guilt at not being there to help his father (even though it he was in an English prison) in the worst of times, times that made his father commit suicide, will continue. Neither want to be wrong, but they also don't want the other to be hurt. It's a great premise, and I think it works very well between these characters.
Some have said their romance and intimacy happened too soon, but I don't have a problem with that, in fact, I think it works with these two. They are both attracted to each other, but feel they can use that attraction to get information out of the other, but it ends up backfiring as they both begin to care deeply for the other. When Amelia is kidnapped, Lucas doesn't hesistate to rescue her, even though it means if he can't save her in time, he will have to marry her to save her reputation. I love that he genuinely does have reservations about that, but the thought of Amelia in danger pushes those away, and even though it will greatly complicate his mission, he'd still rather save her than see her ruined.
I love Amelia! Honestly, I find it difficult to like a lot of heroines in romances. I think the balance is tough to find for just the right amount of backbone vs heart, and too often for me, the scales are tipped to too much backbone. Yes, women can be strong, and I love that authors want to show that, but it's okay for women to cry, or break down, that doesn't show weakness in my opinion, it shows heart. Sometimes things happen that are too much to take in, and every once in a while, a few tears to relieve the stress are necessary. Amelia is not afraid of her emotions, she willing puts herself out there, knowing the only way to live is full out, even if it breaks her heart. That's the true adventure in this book. At one point in the book, after escaping kidnappers, for Amelia it's the second time, she bursts out laughing. Lucas looks at her funny and asks why she's laughing after everything that's happened. She says, (and I'm paraphrasing as I don't have the book in front of me) 'It's either laugh or go insane.' It's that attitude that makes her lovable. And she really does love Lucas dearly, she's very protective of those she cares about, and he's no exception. The comfort she gives him when he's beginning to panic from being trapped, well, it's sexy as hell, and it works for him, and Amelia knows she has to help him in any way she can so he can stop thinking about the terror.
I can't think of one thing I don't like about this book, but again, I'm biased! This is a great start to a great series, one I recommend for every one who likes Regency romances.(less)
Oh my goodness, how much do I love this book? Let me count the ways!!
1 - Who doesn't love a super sexy, high powered, supremely arrogant know it all h...moreOh my goodness, how much do I love this book? Let me count the ways!!
1 - Who doesn't love a super sexy, high powered, supremely arrogant know it all hero who falls head over heels in love with the heroine?
2 - Annabel is one of my all-time favorite heroines! Sweet, spunky and after years of dealing with her over-achieving family, dealing with Heath is a piece of cake!
3 - It's a story about good old-fashioned matchmaking! Yes, matchmakers seem outdated as a general rule, but they are still in existence, it's a cute story line, makes for a cute meet, and so what, you're reading a romance book - lighten up already! Matchmaking is a fun occupation to think/read about, especially in romance books!
4 - I love that she drives her grandma's car and he has a name. It's Sherman! Sherman is big, green and ugly, but somehow this story would be incomplete without it!
5 - Portia and Bodie!! If there is a woman alive who has not felt even a smidgen of the insecurities Portia feels, then I think it's time to check her girl card. As women get older, sometimes those insecurities just get worse and worse, we just get better at hiding them. I love tha Bodie sees right through them, and loves her anyways. And he sticks with her when she's blue, quite literally! But seriously, big, sexy, dangerous looking man with a neck tattoo wants you, every girl's dream, especially the insecure ones!
6 - It's a Susan Elizabeth Phillips book! This should have been numero uno, but I couldn't stop thinking about Heath, and I am too lazy to go back and change the order now! I love everything this woman does!
7 - Dean Robilliard makes a big splash in this book, and thank goodness for that!! *fans herself vigorously* He can call me babydoll any day of the week!
8 - The witty and sassy banter between these two is so enjoyable and downright fun to read/listen to. SEP always does this well, and this one does not disappoint.
9 - Just go out and read the book if you haven't yet, in which case - shame on you! If you have, think about re-reading it again, and pronto!(less)
**spoiler alert** Wow! That is all I can say for the moment, WOW! I didn’t have much hope for the final book in the Banning Sisters trilogy, seeing as...more**spoiler alert** Wow! That is all I can say for the moment, WOW! I didn’t have much hope for the final book in the Banning Sisters trilogy, seeing as I liked the first, but didn’t find it utterly remarkable, and I found so much to nit-pick about the second, but in this series, Karen Robards saved the best for last!
Lady Elizabeth Banning is a fiery redhead who loves to set the beau monde on its ear. Having already jilted two fiancées, and trying to quietly end a third engagement and failing miserably, runs into what she thinks is a house-breaker. Instead of fearing the man, she enlists his help to ‘clean up’ the situation. Not knowing that Neil Severin is no burglar, but an assassin come to kill her beloved brother-in-law, lest he be killed himself, Beth is grateful for his help. Upon meeting Beth, Neil’s first thoughts are about killing her, to make sure there are no witnesses, however he is so entranced by her, he is unable to do so. Decided to kidnap her for his purposes a few days later, Neil is waiting for her in the park she frequents when she is kidnapped before he’s had a chance to! Tracking her down to a castle whose purposes at present is to sell women into prostitution, Neil attempts to rescue her. Beth, not knowing if she will be rescued, decides to enlist several other women to try and save themselves. They are successful, but only with Neil’s helping them escape, and much to his dismay, helping all the women to reach safety. Meanwhile, half of England is looking for Neil, and he is caught and heavily chained, only being spared his life thanks to Beth speaking up. In league with her new friends, Beth frees Neil to escape, and he insists she come along, she thinks because of a head injury, but really it’s because he wants to continue with his plan of drawing Beth’s brother-in-law, the duke out so he can kill him. Along the way, the truth of it comes out, and Beth, who is terrified of marriage, decides the safest thing to do would be to marry and attempt a resolution for everyone. Being married to her does help Neil’s case, as her brothers-in-law are wary to do, but agree. There is only one assassin left who wants to kill Neil, but as Neil reveals he is also a Marquess, everyone feels safe in the knowledge that Neil and the assassin will not move in the same social circles, especially since they fake Neil-as-the-angel-of-death-assassin’s own death.
I don’t even know what to say, I’m so happy I stuck with the series, because I loved it! I loved both Neil and Beth, I loved the story line, I loved the secondary characters, this is what I wanted from the first two! First, the characters! Beth is my kind of girl! I’ll admit, in the first two in the series, I was not a fan, she was a little too immature. But as a young lady, she’s probably very much like I would be if I were to be dropped in that era. Described as a hardcore flirt, who is known for jilting fiancées, she’s determined not to settle, and does not want a tyrant of a husband ruling her life. She knows the difference between right and wrong, but is not afraid to blur the lines a bit to get what she wants and do what should be done. Beth is a bright and vivacious woman, and it’s almost as if what you tell her is the proper thing to do, she’s itching to do the opposite, and is not afraid of society’s opinions of her, at least not too much. And if Beth is bright, then Neil is the opposite, he is the dark soul. Believing he is not good enough for Beth, he can’t help but want her anyway. She’s let him know that everyone is deserving of a second chance, and he begins to believe her, which is hard for him to do after years of living life literally day by day, hour by hour, minute by precious minute. The hard life as an assassin, and the hatred and grief that fueled his career has taken a toll on his soul, leaving him feeling damned. That Beth has cried for him, rescued him and married him to save his life leaves him a little shaky. But when Beth is shot, and Neil begs for Beth’s life from a God he felt had left him, I nearly cried! They are perfect for each other! Neil is tolerant and even amused by Beth’s antics, and Beth truly sees him as the man he is, not the job he did.
The other thing I really loved about this book is the story line. I haven’t come across anything else like it, and I think it’s well done. I like that there’s a slow buildup between the two main characters, and it’s not instant attraction. I love that besides Beth’s antics, there are no major rules broken. I don’t mind a few rules broken, but the major rule breakers, and lots of them, such as in second book in the series, take me out of the era, I read historicals to be in the era, not taken out.
Let me tell you, the secondary characters in this one are great! The girls Beth befriends in Trelawny Castle and escape with are a riot! I love that they fought to escape and worked together. Granted they needed Neil’s help, and he gave it only because of Beth, but they held fast together, and eventually became women Neil and Beth placed under their wings, but giving them employment and helping them find respectable positions. Mary, the mosquito as Neil calls her, is my favorite, she has such tenacity! A favorite character of mine throughout the series is the great Aunt Augusta, a no nonsense woman who is not afraid to share her opinions, and share them often. She’s not an affectionate aunt, but it’s obvious from her concern and constant lecturing of her nieces that she cares what becomes of them, and makes things easier for them in society.
This is definitely a keeper, one to read again and again! If you like the traditional regency era romances, with strong characters and a great story line, don’t hesitate! (less)
Of course I read this as a kid, and loved it. Re-reading it as an adult, I've decided I had great taste as a kid! I recently read a review where the r...moreOf course I read this as a kid, and loved it. Re-reading it as an adult, I've decided I had great taste as a kid! I recently read a review where the reader bashed the book for condoning anarchary in kids and pointing out allowing strangers in the house is horrific and calling out the mother for leaving her kids alone all day, and for a split second I thought, ya know, she's got a point, then I snapped out of it and came back to myself! The great thing about Dr. Seuss is his stories are exactly what kids dream of doing, and as adults reading them, we are reminded of how that freedom of imagination felt, when we didn't worry about work, car troubles, bills that are due, and the biggest concern is getting away with mischief! Perhaps the reviewer I mentioned early was the fish as a child, a strict disciplinarian!(less)