This book is a storyline about two people who end up starting a marriage under less than ideal circumstances. Arabella is pregnant by a man who lied t...moreThis book is a storyline about two people who end up starting a marriage under less than ideal circumstances. Arabella is pregnant by a man who lied to her, used her, and abandoned her. Leaving her pregnant. She tracks him down to find he has died, and gains an audience with his younger brother. Elliot has fought to find his own path instead of living in his brother's shadow. And he's done a spectacular job. While Rafe lived a dissolute, selfish life, Elliot sought a productive one, full of physical activity and meaning. When a bedraggled, plain young woman comes to his home and claims to be pregnant by his brother, he knows it's upon his honor to do the right thing and marry her, even she did not demand this of him. He is determined to do right by her, and in the process cultivate a decent marriage, raising his brother's child as his own. Haha, the great plans we make! Soon, both Arabella and Elliott realize a comfortable marriage is not enough for either of them.
What I liked:
* I found Elliott to be a good hero, but also quite realistic. I liked that he was troubled by the fact that his wife wasn't carrying his own child, and insecure enough to resent the fact that his brother's child might inherit his title. It was only to be expected, since he's a normal human being, not a saint. I couldn't blame him. We don't always have the most unselfish feelings about things, and I would expect no less of him to struggle with this, in light of the fact that he had never been close to his brother, nor had his brother treated him well as an adult, despite his overtures. In the end, he realizes how much he cares for the child Arabella has, more than he even though possible. I liked how he was there for Arabella, despite his misgivings. I liked that he never even considered betraying his marriage vows, despite the fact that Arabella wasn't his chosen bride. Elliott was a very admirable man and I liked him a lot as a hero. * Arabella came a long way in this book. I could understand her insecurities, uncertainties and misgivings. Going from an overbearing, unloving father, being mistreated by a man who pretended to love her only to get laid, and then dealing with the guilt of a pregnancy out of wedlock and a marriage to that man's brother in order to give her child a family. She had to come to realize she was worthy of love, and that she had the right to demand more. She bloomed beautifully with some security of a good marriage, and that's a good thing. * I liked the development of love between Arabella and Elliott. It made sense that they had to work through a lot of the issues they faced to find love. I could see their feelings change to something more over time in the way they treated and interacted with each other.
What could have been better:
* I felt a bit emotionally detached from this story. I would have liked more of a sizzle in the story, and I'm not talking loving scenes. The love scenes actually were nicely sensuous, but I didn't feel as drawn into this story overall as I would hope. I merely felt an affection for the characters, not a strong pull towards them.
This was a good romance novel. I liked the handling of the theme of the heroine carrying another man's child, specifically the hero's brother. The fact that Arabella had been intimate and taken advantage of by Elliott's brother wasn't minimized as an issue, but neither was it handled in such a way where I felt like I couldn't get past that to believe in them as a couple. Instead, I felt as though Rafe (the dead brother)'s actions might have resulted in something good in the end, two people finding true love together. At least something worthwhile came out of his selfishness, other than his child. Overall, I was satisfied with this story.(less)
Sweet and evocative. This book took me back to the 1930s. Roxie was fierce and kind, and Luke made me want to hug him tight. Recommended to readers wh...moreSweet and evocative. This book took me back to the 1930s. Roxie was fierce and kind, and Luke made me want to hug him tight. Recommended to readers who enjoy sweet (lightly sensual) historical romance.
Pamela Clare has lived up to the high standards she set for herself with the first two books in the MacKinnon's Rangers series with Defiant. Connor se...morePamela Clare has lived up to the high standards she set for herself with the first two books in the MacKinnon's Rangers series with Defiant. Connor seemed immature and lacked the intensity of Iain and Morgan to me in the prior books, but he has definitely come into his own. If anything, Connor carries a more weighty burden due to his guilt over his actions in the aftermath of Morgan's abduction by the French. This burden has made his soft edges iron-hard and razor sharp, but it has not blunted the integrity that is such an intrinsic aspect of the MacKinnons. Readers who love Scottish heroes will adore Connor, although many of them have already read this book and don't need me to tell them that. Connor is delicious. While I don't really care for ladies' men, Connor's way with women is part of the texture that makes him the hero he is. I feel that his character grows and evolves even over this book, and things he thought didn't matter to him become readily apparent as his love for Sarah grows. This is a book for die-hard romance fans, as the reader is treated to a intimate view of Connor and Sarah falling deeply in love even though that seems impossible when this book begins. Their relationship is both sweet and very steamy, and that balance is very hard to achieve without sacrificing something. Ms. Clare definitely hit on both cylinders with this book.
Sarah was a very appealing heroine. My heart was won over by her sweetness and courage and her integrity. It was painful to read about how her family betrayed and turned their backs on her by not trusting and believing in the person she was, even in light of the terrible scandal that unfolded. Especially from people who supposed to be believing Christians. They showed little of who Christ is and stands for in the way they treated their daughter. It was interesting that the one family member who stood by her and truly loved her was Wentworth. Now many will say awful things about the man, but even at his worst, I still find him to be a fascinating and magnetic character. And since I do like bad boys, I can honestly say I have crush on him. His behavior went both to new heights and depths in this book, but ultimately, he won my allegiance in how he showed true love for Sarah. I cannot wait to read his story, so I hope that it comes to fruition and soon! But I know I was talking about Sarah, so let me get back to her. Sarah is also a complex character. She is a noblewoman, but deep down, her heart is very heart-to-earth and genuine. Her love of music touched me because I can identity with that joy of music, although my own musical talent is much more limited. While she experiences some terrible events in this journey to the New World, I believe it was her destiny to come here so she could be the person she was intended to be. England was way too small for her. She is a powerful, brave and capable woman. She was born to be Connor MacKinnon's woman. No doubt about it.
Ms. Clare shows impeccable research and a sense of the period in this novel. She doesn't tiptoe around the savagery and the violence that was an integral part of this period in colonial history. Her portrayal of people shows a lot of depth. There are no stereotypes in this novel. The natives have the same potential to be noble and honorable as the whites. Both show equal potential for acts of brutality. For a lifelong student and a fan of history, books like this bring home that reading about these events provides a safe distance that those who lived back then did not have the luxury to experience. This draws me into the story and makes me feel things as I read. Not always positive, but very impacting, making for an unforgettable reading experience.
While Defiant is an excellent read, it's not a book to gobble down. So much happens and the small details are crucial and should not be rushed through. As an avid reader, there is a tendency to read with an eye towards finishing a book and moving onto the next one of the pile. Pamela Clare is an author that you don't want to do that with. You want to sit and savor her writing. I was glad that I took the time to do that with Defiant. This series is a fantastic example of the high quality of writing available in the writing genre. I definitely recommend it to readers who want a larger-than-life historical adventure rife with passion and incredible detail.
--------------------- If you're already a Pamela Clare fan, or interested in learning more about her and her books, be sure to stop by our Pamela Clare Fan Group here on Goodreads! (less)
Allie’s Moon is a love story with two lonely people who carry heavy weights on their hearts from the past. Althea Ford had been told for most of her l...moreAllie’s Moon is a love story with two lonely people who carry heavy weights on their hearts from the past. Althea Ford had been told for most of her life that she was responsible for her mother’s death. She focused her existence on making amends for her lapse by taking care of her father through his long illness, and her sister who has emotional problems and ‘fits’. She sees no other life for herself other than the narrow, lonely one she inhabits.
For the past two years, Jeff Hicks has drowned his past anguish in whiskey, becoming a homeless alcoholic, when he was once sheriff. He doesn’t think of the future, only the present. When he’s arrested for stealing an egg, his friend Will, who took over as sheriff, arranges for Jeff to work on Althea’s farm for a month, doing odd jobs that she needs a handyman for. Jeff doesn’t want to spend a month in jail, so he agrees to working on Althea’s farm.
The best part of this story was how these two sad people find peace and solace in each other. It was good to see Jeff stop drinking and heal from the pain of knowing he killed a boy. Even though it was in self-defense, he could never forgive himself. Although not as much time was spent on dealing with Jeff’s alcoholism, I believe Ms. Harrington made an effort for that to be realistic. Allie, as he starts to call Althea, gives him a reason to get through the day, purpose, and joy in anticipating every moment with her. In essence, she is a very good and positive substitute for alcohol, giving him the succor he needed, and helping him get his life back on track. That made his ability to kick his alcohol dependence so smoothly feel more realistic for me. Allie felt as though she deserved nothing more than to be a dogsbody to her sister to pay her penance for her mother’s suicide. But Ben sees the sweet, beautiful, loving woman she is under all her starch and propriety, and he wishes he was good enough for her, wanting to share the heart he thought was dead and incapable of feeling with her. At first glance, Allie does feel that the downtrodden, dirty alcoholic had something about him that draws her eye. When she sees the man he is after he gets cleaned up and finds purpose and peace working on her farm, it doesn’t take very long for her to become attracted to and to fall in love with Jeff. She realizes that he is an honorable, gentle, loving man, and wishes that he could be her happy ending, although she can’t see a future outside of her duty to her sister.
The worst part of this book was Allie’s horrible sister. She was such a mean, self-absorbed, evil person. She treated her sister terribly, manipulating and taking advantage of the kind woman that Allie was. I think the depths of her ugliness kept this from being a higher rated book for me. Olivia’s antics were too much for me, I think. I didn’t feel fully satisfied with the book after what she put Jeff and Allie through before it was over. I feel like she worked them over a little too easily, even though Jeff was onto her early on in the book. (view spoiler)[ The fact that she was willing to let a man hang for something he was innocent of put a bad taste in my mouth (hide spoiler)]. I do regret that this was enough to knock this book from five stars to four, but it just affected my enjoyment too much.
Overall, I really did enjoy this book. I read it in one day, which says a lot. Allie and Jeff are two characters that I wanted to find peace and happiness. They both deserved to be loved. I appreciate that Ms. Harrington gave us characters who had a lot of anguish and issues to deal with, giving them a happy ending together. Those are my favorite kinds of romance stories. I haven’t been reading many western romances lately, which is a shame, since they are favorites of mine. This is my third book that I’ve read by her, and I can say that Alexis Harrington is one to reach for when a western romance fan wants a emotional read. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold. But this revenge will catch the predator in his own trap.
When I pick up an Anne Stuart book, I know going in that...moreRevenge is a Dish Best Served Cold. But this revenge will catch the predator in his own trap.
When I pick up an Anne Stuart book, I know going in that this it is not going to be a 'sweet' love story. That doesn't mean it won't be a good love story. But certainly not the hearts and flowers one might assume for romance.
I had heard that The Scorpion was something else, too much for some readers. I pondered if that would be the case for me. Let's face it. I love bad boy heroes. Too much, probably. Especially for my straight-laced self. Good thing that my book boyfriend tastes don't reflect my real life taste in the slightest. Because I'm not anywhere near as strong and fearless as a bad boy romance heroine like Miranda Rohan.
Usually when I read an Anne Stuart book, it's all about the hero. In this case, I found that Miranda more than holds her own, and she even steals the show. And that was no easy task, since The Scorpion has a jaw-dropping appeal for me, even in all his dastardliness. I say, good on you to Ms. Stuart for that. It's no secret that I love Anne Stuart's writing. And that isn't a casual thing for me to stay. Writers come and go, but she’s been my favorite for a long, long time, and for good reason. In this book, I have found that she has taken what I expect about her books, written something true and characteristic to her, and still managed to push the envelope, even surprising me. I respect that. I think authors should be true to themselves, their muse, and they should grow in their work. Ms. Stuart is up for that challenge. When you ask for a dangerous, ruthless, villainous hero, don't be shocked when you get one. Lucien de Malheur is a dangerous hero that you might even try to “give back” the day after Christmas.
I love revenge stories. Why? Because revenge is a passion that roots itself in a person's heart. It changes all their motives, turns a steadfast heart into a driven machine, working only to keep pumping rage and anguish through the system until the debt is repaid. Add revenge to a love story, and it's one potent cocktail for tension and drama. As I read, I wondered, can love change a black heart bent on destruction? In this case, I felt that the Scorpion blamed unfairly, and his method of avenging what he had lost had focused on an unfair target. But then, this guy is twisted, I mean from the ground up. And he knows it. He’s not going to reason things out the same way as a normal guy would. Not with a past that is as dark and tortured as his. That didn’t exactly get him out of jail with me, mind you. I didn't like what he had done to Miranda. I thought that it was over the line. Despite that, I liked that no excuses are made for his behavior. Despite what he suffered not all being his fault, he made some bad choices that furthered the blackening of his soul. Let’s face it, Lucien is not a "good" man. I doubt he'll ever truly be a moral man. Maybe with Miranda’s help. We’ll see. Does that mean that he is incapable of love? He thought himself inable to love. Imagine to his surprise that he falls in love with the unknowing instrument of his revenge.
I searched my heart and wondered what rhyme or reason would allow Miranda to be treated such a way and then fall in love with the man who'd engineered her mistreatment and ruination. How can that be fair by any stretch of the strange, twisted spiritual journey we call life? It came to me that she never had, never would have deserved that. But Lucien deserved to fall in love with Miranda. That is the 'sting in the scorpion's tail.' His actions coming back to bite him literally. It seems almost like divine justice to me. One then asks, but what about Miranda?
Miranda had a hard task set forth for her. She had one heck of a shrew to tame, and she surely did. She took this black-hearted fiend and turned him into a man in love. She drew lines in the sand, and dared him to cross them. And there was a scene that I knew was going to make or break this book for me. Like Miranda, I knew that if Lucien went along with his horribly nefarious plans, it was over for me. I mean, I can take a lot from a hero, but I have a few things I will not take, and this was one of them. My eyes were literally glued to the page. I thought, he won’t, will he? She won’t, will she? That was one of the moments when I knew that Miranda would be my favorite Anne Stuart heroine. Little Danielle would have tucked her tail between her legs and ran off to Scotland, anywhere to get away from the Scorpion. Not Miranda. She faced him head on, called his bluff, and laid her cards on the table. And she won that hand, won the World Poker Tournament. Lucien can think what he wants, but Miranda is the one who’s running things. He might be the Scorpion, but Miranda’s the Black Widow, and she’s got him wrapped up tight in her web. And that is divine justice.
Ms. Stuart has written yet another brilliant romance for this reader. She had me riveted and fascinated, savoring this dark, witty, sexy historical story that does have some elements that bring to mind a historical sex comedy, but with humor that is not crass or inane, but deeply, bitingly sardonic. This is the Battle Between the Sexes played out on the page, and no prisoners are taken. And she gave me a heroine that was up for the challenge. I loved her for that. I liked the secondary romance a lot, but I would have been just as happy to just see Miranda and Lucien play out their deadly game in living color.
Closing Thoughts: This book won’t appeal to all readers, even long-time Stuart fans. The Scorpion does some very heinous, beyond the pale deeds to get his revenge. But for those who long for justice, I can say that I felt he gets his just deserts. They merely come in a most unusual form than one might expect, in the arms of Miranda Rohan. He’s not going to come out of this relationship unchanged. And he lost something very vital in his ruthless bid for revenge, his heart. This reader loved this story, even for the parts that were rather uncomfortable. I did stay on the edge, guessing if true love would win, and I was greatly rewarded in the process. (less)
This book has a different storyline for a HP. Chellie is a poor little rich girl who's kept on a tight leash by her cruel, unloving father. She runs o...moreThis book has a different storyline for a HP. Chellie is a poor little rich girl who's kept on a tight leash by her cruel, unloving father. She runs off with a man who she thinks truly loves her, but only wants her money. He uses her and abandons her, and she ends up in the clutches of a prostitution ring run out of a seedy bar. For now, she's singing to pay her way, but it wouldn't be long before they were forcing her into prostitution. A blond stranger shows up at the bar and asks for a private dance. He convinces her to leave with him, that he'll give her a ride off the island and safe harbor on his boat, which she can pay for by cooking. But it turns out that Ash is not who he is pretending to be.
Chellie falls head over heels for Ash, even though she knows there's no future for them, since he appears to have a girlfriend, and her father has a far reach. Ash takes the job of finding wild socialite Michelle Greer, as his last mission for his security firm. He doesn't expect to fall head over heels for her. But, the truth threatens to tear them apart, especially with Chellie's weary heart after trusting the wrong man.
This was an entertaining read, although not a favorite by Ms. Craven.(less)
I was happy to find this on audio at the library, although I have a paper copy. It’s easier to squeeze in an audiobook sometimes, and I thought this w...moreI was happy to find this on audio at the library, although I have a paper copy. It’s easier to squeeze in an audiobook sometimes, and I thought this would be an enjoyable listen. I was right. The narrator drew me right into the story. I loved the manner in which Barbara Rosenblatt endowed these characters with a distinctive voice in the audiobook. They were real to me as I listened, and I was quite vocal in my reactions to this book. In other words, I was fully engaged!
At first I thought she made Amelia sound rather superior and stuffy at times, but I came to appreciate the irony she underlined her pompous-sounding narrative with. Amelia seems able to laugh at her own foibles, which is nice, although it doesn’t compromise her strong sense of self. Amelia is a very confident person and this comes through in the narration. She is also very set in her ways and used to being authoritative. It was really interesting seeing her meet her male counterpart, the singular Mr. Radcliff Emerson. While this isn’t a steamy book in the slightest, the sparks did fly. I loved the journey of seeing these two fall in love. I could predict that they would end up together, and this process was highly enjoyable. They met on an equal level, and while they clashed in some ways, it was in the way that makes for a very interesting life together full of good tension and mutual challenge. They will never be bored with each other.
My manner of listening to audiobooks can make things feel rather disjointed, because I can only dedicate an hour or two a night to listening or longer if I am doing something that I can devote my mind to while keeping on task. So it did take a while to see where the story was going. But this is one of those books where you enjoy the trip and don’t worry so much about the destination.
Peters endows this book with very rich atmosphere. I was on the trip to Egypt along with Amelia, Evelyn, Emerson and Walter. Most interesting is how we see Egypt through the eyes of an upper-class educated British female. While I would not in any way classify Amelia as a racist, she does have a gentle sense of superiority that comes through in her tone. I had to decide if that was offensive to me, and ultimately it wasn’t. It was realistic, honestly. I can’t expect a 19th century person to view things through the same 21st century multiculturally-aware viewpoint that I have as a reader. Although risky to compromise some degree of likability with Amelia, it turned out to be a wise artistic decision on Peters' part. While that superiority is there, it is mingled with a sense of awe, respect, and love for Egypt that encompasses its people, even if their ways and culture may strike her as peculiar and lacking to her British sensibilities.
Even though the story is through Amelia’s point of view, I felt I gained a very complex vantage point of its characters. Yes, Amelia tinges their descriptions with her personal views, I still felt like the characters had a realism that went above and beyond her perceptions. Of course, my favorite character other than Amelia was Emerson. What can I say? I love grumpy heroes. Yes, he is a bit of a sexist. I think it’s too much to call him misogynistic, although he can be rather unkind in his descriptions of women. He spoke to me of a man who was quite inexperienced and somewhat awkward with women and tended to mask these feelings of insecurity by projecting his negative opinions on women based on his limited experience with them. That’s why I was glad that Amelia met him head on. A strong, confident woman like her was the only kind of women that he could fall in love with, and the only kind of woman who would put up with him. I also enjoyed Evelyn and Walter. They were a bit more typical for a historical novel, but their characters were very appealing. Evelyn is a sweetheart, and Walter was a genuinely nice man. Evelyn’s journey spoke a little bit about the status of women in 19th century society, and I loved how Amelia raged about the situation and the actions and choices the more conventional-thinking Evelyn was forced into making. Their friendship was another powerful aspect of this book. I can see these women being friends until their dying day.
My favorite scene in the book was when (view spoiler)[Emerson saves Amelia from the snake. It was very romantic to me. You could see very clearly how much Emerson cared for her, even though he was completely inept in expressing it verbally. Of course, I also enjoyed his proposal near the end. Peters understands how to write romantic tension! (hide spoiler)]. While not a romance, the romance was very satisfying. And we get two for the price of one with Evelyn, Amelia’s companion, and Walter, Emerson’s younger brother. And while I didn’t care for him at all, Lucas was also an interesting character and a good foil for the Emersons. The secondary characters don’t quite get as much point of view, but we gain knowledge of them through Amelia’s vivid descriptions.
If there was one aspect that felt a little weaker to me, it was the mystery component and its resolution. It was a bit predictable. I had figured out most of it earlier on, although I almost talked myself out of it. Maybe that was a good twist that I was forced to reevaluate my thought processes and still end up surprised that they were right, with one part I didn’t suspect. The mummy aspect could have been cheesy, but surprisingly it wasn’t. I would say that readers shouldn’t go looking for a hard mystery here, but more of a travelogue, light mystery with romance set in a very vivid historical landscape of late Victorian Egypt. With that expectation, this book is very enjoyable. The characters make this book shine, and I loved the ironic and British-flavored humor. I am glad that I was able to listen to it, and I can see myself doing a reread and continuing the series. This is a very solid 4.5 star read. I recommend it to fans of Victorian set-historical fiction and lighter mystery with a nice dose of romance. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Another example of how romantic fiction is not fluff. This book was deep as the ocean. I loved how this book brought together two people who had been...moreAnother example of how romantic fiction is not fluff. This book was deep as the ocean. I loved how this book brought together two people who had been hurt or damaged by life, and helped them to find peace and love.
The Rake is an excellent portrayal of a person suffering from alcoholism. And coming from a family where both side has members who were alcoholics, I can testify to this. Reggie reminded me of a few of my uncles. They could have been better men had they not been under the influence of the drug that started as something they indulged in for fun, but became their lives and helped to destroy their lives.
The great thing about this book is that it was so well written that I couldn't turn away because I had seen too much of that behavior. Instead, I wanted to read more about Reggie's journey to sobriety.
Alyx also has issues. She is odd-eyed, meaning her eyes are different colors. She is also tall and buxom. In her mind, she is unattractive. And she heard a man that she adored dismiss her, so she ran off and gave herself to the first man who asked. Of course, he didn't want her for more than one night. Lesson learned, she retires to the country and gets a job as the steward to an absentee landlord.
This turns out to be the recently inherited property of Reginald, who is running away from London to try to get his life under control. This is how these two souls meet and find a love that helps them both to heal and gives them a hopeful future.
It's been a while since I read this one, but it is destined to always have a space on my keeper shelf. For the beauty of the storytelling, the compelling and realistic hero and heroine, and for the excellent handling of the tough subject of alcoholism.(less)
An oldy but goodie. It definitely tries and succeeds and telling a love story that is not cookie cutter with characters who are typical. Recommended i...moreAn oldy but goodie. It definitely tries and succeeds and telling a love story that is not cookie cutter with characters who are typical. Recommended if you like cross-cultural romances. I really enjoyed this older romance. It's a Victorian (takes place in 1899-1900) and also a western, at least for the last part of the book. It's got an across the pond romance (my phrase for a romance between an English person and an American). The heroine is half Blackfoot Native American and half Irish, and she is a doctor. The hero is a British baron. There are some issues that have to be dealt with because of what happened to the heroine when she was in Paris getting some post-doctoral training.
I really enjoyed the way the relationship developed between Ellen and Jordan, and the evolution of the characters. Jordan seems really stuffy and priggish initially, but you realize that it is training that he has undergone as the heir to a Barony and the head of the family. I enjoyed seeing a heroine who is a professional and a career woman.
It's got some funny moments and some angsty moments. It's also got good love scenes, perhaps a little tame by today's standards but I liked them.
I recommend this one if you can get a hold of it. Unfortunately it's part of a series. The first book is Outcast, about Ellen's dad Gabriel and her stepmother, Olivia, who is a doctor as well. The second book is about Ellen's identical twin, Katy and her newspaperman hero Jonah.
Ross Cannon is yet another of Lisa Kleypas wonderful heroes. He is so honorable and dignified. He has this intelligence and way about him that inspire...moreRoss Cannon is yet another of Lisa Kleypas wonderful heroes. He is so honorable and dignified. He has this intelligence and way about him that inspires respect in others. He reminds me of how I think King Arthur must have been. He was mostly celibate for eight years after his wife dies. That's why the way he falls for Sophia is so wonderful. She becomes his obsession and sets his heart on fire. And he does everything to keep her happy and to show his love for her. Sigh. I liked Sophia, and I thought she was a good heroine, but this book is mainly a favorite because of Ross. What a man! I also liked Nick Gentry, who is sort of the villain of this book, but turns out to be a very interesting character that we will see much more of (wink). If you like an older, mature, but intense hero who will steal your heart along with his heroine, you have to read this book.(less)
Well. I wrote a review, but it never got posted. Let's try this again.
This is a romance book, but it is also a book about choices and sacrifice. At le...moreWell. I wrote a review, but it never got posted. Let's try this again.
This is a romance book, but it is also a book about choices and sacrifice. At least three of the characters in this book had to make choices and sacrifices that destroyed their reputations and their credibility to achieve a goal. As this book begins, I saw Charlotte on the crux of changing her life irrevocably. And it only gets more hairy. I asked myself why it bothered me that she was going to do what she did. Should I have worried so much about that. Reputation is important, but is it that important to me that I truly regretted what Charlotte did, even knowing why. I was involved in this story, but not necessarily in a good way at some places. I guess that's makes a book successful for me. When I read this book, I wasn't just marking time. I was feeling a lot, and suffering along with Charlotte. She showed courage, and that courage translated to me as I read. I don't look at fiction books as a guide for behavior, but I do believe that almost every book I read has some gem that I can ponder and let it help me in some way. That might sound strange to most people, but not to me. It is rarely a literal thing. Most often, it is an encouragement in my own walk of life. From this book, I took the idea that I had to take advantage of the adversity I face to let it build me up instead of tearing me down. That courage is not being unafraid or uncertain. Courage is doing in the face of that fear. And the fears are many in life. If we let one fear overtake us, we will fall beneath so many. It's a domino effect. The reasons don't have to translate directly to my life. But deep down, that human experience always does.
As far as the romance, I felt the potency of it. Charlotte and Dand, both seemingly hardened to such a thing, found love together. A common goal brought them into each other's sphere, and love found its way into both of their hearts. I like to think that a mutual respect was the foundation to that love. When others around them saw little but the facade they projected, they looked deeper and saw the whys and not the whats. Considering the path that their lives had been forced into by circumstance, that was a rewarding thing in this book.
Overall, although I didn't like some of the aspects of this story (It has me wincing emotionally in parts), I loved the romance between Charlotte and Dand, and I loved their characters, and their willingness to sacrifice so much for doing the right thing. That's the core of this book, and that's what calls to me as a reader. So I count this as a well-written, enjoyable read.(less)
This is one of my absolute favorites by Anne Stuart. I loved the relationship between Izzy and Luke. Plus it's one of her western romances (I'm a big,...moreThis is one of my absolute favorites by Anne Stuart. I loved the relationship between Izzy and Luke. Plus it's one of her western romances (I'm a big, huge fan of westerns, whether it's historical or contemporary). The combination is magic in this book. Izzy ran off from home as a young woman, running from her feelings for Luke and her family's expectations, and her fears that she could never live up to them. Now she is back to claim her heritage, and to hide from an ex who happens to have some criminal intentions for her, but has to put up with Luke to do it. Luke has suppressed feelings for this girl who is nominally his stepsister for a long time, and doesn't think much of her flighty ways. He doesn't want her to get her hands on an inheritance he doesn't think she deserves. Also he has trouble keeping his hands off her.
This book has the wonderful dialogue and back and forth between the hero and heroine that makes Anne Stuart's category romances sizzle for me. Readers who are a little afraid of her dangerous heroes in the mainstream books would like this one. Luke is a good guy. Very down to earth, hardworking, if a little sarcastic. He's also very sexy and masculine, and knows just how to deal with Izzy, in all the right ways. Izzy is one of those girls who 'did it' but didn't really see what the fuss is about. Well, Luke is the guy to show her exactly what she was missing. He's also irresistible to me because it's pretty clear how desperately in love with Izzy he's been for years, but didn't feel it was right to seduce her or claim her for his own. He's also pretty angry that she ran away from home where she was safe, and got herself in some trouble. Let's just say if you like Alpha heroes who aren't over the top, I think you'd like Luke. Although the love scenes are not explicit, they are fiery to me, because of the well-described attraction and emotional connection between Luke and Izzy.
Anyone who knows me, knows how much I adore Anne Stuart. To me, this is one of her best books. Give it a read.(less)
This is a dark romance novel, but is excellent all the same. It starts with Ghislaine, the heroine, trying to kill Nicholas, the hero. From that point...moreThis is a dark romance novel, but is excellent all the same. It starts with Ghislaine, the heroine, trying to kill Nicholas, the hero. From that point on, you cannot put the book down. This book has wounded, anguished characters who are brought together out of hatred, but find love and fulfillment together. I am a sucker for romances where a person is wounded and damaged, but manage to find a love that heals and fulfills them. Nicholas is definitely a rake, but he is a three-dimensional character who compels you to understand and appreciate him. Gilly is also flawed, but her struggles have made her a stronger person. The passion is sizzling, and yet the core of it is a true love. This book is a must read if you want a romance that will touch you on many levels and want a meaty read that will captivate you so much you can't put it down.(less)