It seems silly to say that a book can affect you on a profound level. well I definitely believe in this power that a good book has. Jane Eyre is one oIt seems silly to say that a book can affect you on a profound level. well I definitely believe in this power that a good book has. Jane Eyre is one of them. I cannot say that this was an easy book to read. But it was a book that I was very enriched by reading. Romance is a genre that is looked down on by many "sophisticated readers." Perhaps they would look down on Jane Eyre, but would probably get some eyebrows raised at them. Well Jane Eyre is the archetype for the romance novel. After having read thousands of them, I know a romance novel when I see it, and Jane Eyre does qualify. But it is much more than this. It's a story for the person who wonders why they keep trying to do the right thing, and persevering in life, instead of just taking what they want when they want it. If Jane Eyre had been that sort of person, she would not have gotten her happy ending. Instead, Jane walked away from the thing she wanted most in the world. She almost died doing what she felt in her heart was right. Had the story ended there, I probably would have detested this book. But it doesn't. We see Jane continue to grow and act as the phenomenal person that she was. Although often downtrodden, she is no meek mouse. She has a fighting spirit that keeps her going when others would have laid down and died. But despite being a fighter, she is not a user and abuser. It's hard at times for the difference to be clearly delineated. Well there is no question about Jane's level of strength and intregrity. Although it is made clear several times in this novel, that Jane is no beauty, her soul makes her a beautiful character. Beautiful in a more profound way.
There are moments when you feel, how can one person suffer so? But taking the journey, you realize that all Jane's suffering had a purpose. It refined her into a woman who could look beneath and love what others could never love or understand. It made her the woman who could love and heal Rochester.
At the same time, Rochester was made for Jane Eyre. He had searched his life for a woman like her, and made quite a few mistakes along the way. And out of love, he was able to let her go when he wanted to keep her. But she came back to him, when he needed her most.
Rochester is the hero that formed the archetype for many of my favorites: tortured, scarred, dark, enigmatic, all of those things. Best of all, loving little, plain, ordinary Jane with a fundamental intensity that pours out of the pages of this book into my heart as a reader. Despite his lack of perfection, I could not love him more.
Ah, how maudlin I sound. I can't help it. This book moved me to tears. Yet I smiled at the same time. I enjoyed the conversations between Rochester and Jane. There was a heat there, a passion. Yet this book is clean enough to read in Sunday school. That is grand romance. The journey so well expressed, that no sex scenes are needed. It's all there.
This novel is also inspirational. Not preachy, in my opinion, but for a believer, one can definitely find spiritual messages in this book. About perseverance, about not wearying about doing good. About the profoundness of God's love. It's all there, but in a narrative that expertly showcases it, not preaching it.
I feel I am failing to write the review I want to write for this book. The words do fail me. All I can say is that this book will always be a favorite of mine because of the way it touched my heart and challenged me.
This my favorite in the Seven Brides series. For some reason I just adored Jefferson, although he was grumpy and hard to get along with. He was so hotThis my favorite in the Seven Brides series. For some reason I just adored Jefferson, although he was grumpy and hard to get along with. He was so hot to me. I like heroes who have injuries or are missing limbs, scarred, etc. He is missing an arm from the War Between The States. Jeff is quite bitter because he fought for the losing side in the war, and self-conscious about his missing arm. But boy he is so sexy that missing an arm is not a detraction (it's an added bonus for me). Violet is from the North and she is strongly anti-Southern because of her family having ties to the abolitionist movement and also due to losing a family member in the War, so there's already tension, but there was some serious chemistry and attraction between them. This drove the book and made it very enjoyable. I could read another 300 pages about Jeff because I just loved him as a hero. I liked that Violet could handle him despite him being very alpha and grumpy at that. It was also good because Jeff was stuck trying to help Violet watch his troublemaking nieces. From what I remember, the family calls them the "Terrible twins." It was pretty funny watching some of their antics, which tended to throw this unlikely couple together. Definitely a keeper in all ways. I like that they show up in later books, and in Fern, Violet makes a comment that she's been pregnant for most of their marriage (Jeff is pretty virile, as you can guess.) ...more
Married by Morning was such a delightful book. It fully exceeded my high expectations. The sparks between Leo Hathaway, Lord Ramsay, and Catherine MarMarried by Morning was such a delightful book. It fully exceeded my high expectations. The sparks between Leo Hathaway, Lord Ramsay, and Catherine Marks in the prior Hathaway books promised good tension and a fun read, but Ms. Kleypas managed to draw on deep wells of emotion and passion in writing this story, that made it even fuller than I expected.
I had the feeling that Catherine would prove to be fairly tortured for a Kleypas heroine, and it turned out I was right. She had some deeply buried issues, related to her abandonment by her father to the dubious care of her grandmother and aunt, and the heinous future they had planned for her. I was quite surprised at the terrible fate that Catherine barely avoided, and glad that her brother, Harry Rutledge, came to her rescue in time. But, his saving her wasn't soon enough for her to avoid the deep emotional trauma of what she suffered. Since that point, she has buried herself within the prim disguise of a spinster governess, although she isn't that much older than her charges, the younger Hathaway sisters, Poppy and Beatrix.
Leo Hathway was her Achilles' Heel, almost from the beginning. A strong, vital man who made her feel things she didn't want to feel. He represented what she thought she despised, but Leo proves to be the man for her. They trade insults freely, but underneath is a sizzling attraction that is more than obvious to the Hathaways.
I simply adored Leo in this book. He was the consummate hero in pursuit, in all the best ways. He is determined to woo Catherine and give her exactly what she needs: love, understanding, protection, and companionship. Because he realizes that she's the one woman for him, even though he vowed not to fall in love again after losing Laura. Catherine brings him to life, making him want her more than is prudent and convenient. And, in true form for him, he barely skirts society's rules chasing his reluctant heroine. I could see why Catherine was hesitant to accept Leo's proposal, with her past and what she suffered--even though I hoped she'd say yes to his proposal. Although Leo was frustrated that she continued to hold herself back, he didn't give up. I really admired him for that. I think Catherine needed a man who really focused on her, wooing her powerfully.
Leo was a dark horse in this series, although it shouldn't have been a surprise at how well he turned out as a hero. He went from the darkest depths of despair after the loss of his first love, turning into a dissolute rake bent on self-destruction. His sojourn in France gives him the time and space he needs to heal his broken heart and shattered soul. When he comes back, he's still a bit of a rake, completely irreverent and wicked in the things he says, but he finds a sense of purpose in taking care of his properties as Lord Ramsay, and occasionally doing architectural commissions, spending time with his family. When Ms. Marks shows up as the governess for his younger, unmarried sisters, he wonders why they hired such a buttoned-up, bitter hag. Yet, he finds himself unwittingly attracted to her. In fact, she becomes an obsession he cannot deny himself. When he finds out that he must marry to keep Ramsay house, he isn't eager to find a bride at first. But soon, his heart tells him that only one bride will do, Miss Marks. And Leo moves mountains and does the sweetest little things to prove his love. It made me sigh to see such a good woman who had been forsaken in many ways find a man who loved her so very much, and she loved in return.
This was a simple book, but rich in content. It has the characteristic, beautiful writing that makes Lisa Kleypas one of my favorite authors. It is very sensual, with the compelling attraction between Leo and Catherine. Stolen kisses that will melt your socks off, moments of intimacy full of passion, and a love that conquers both Leo and Catherine's reluctant hearts. I could not help but root for this couple. And of course, it's always lovely to catch up with the Hathaways, and their spouses. It feels like coming home. ...more
I loved this story. Yes it was short, but it was also sweet and very well done. I'm a sucker for the plain, aging spinster meets the rake storyline, aI loved this story. Yes it was short, but it was also sweet and very well done. I'm a sucker for the plain, aging spinster meets the rake storyline, and I think Ms. Stuart always does great with it. I don't know...Not too many writers do rakes as well as I like. But, Ms. Stuart, she definitely does. A rake is mad, bad, and dangerous to know. But the best part about a rakish hero is seeing him fall in love with the one woman who makes him want to give up his debauched, profligate ways. Hard to do in such a short format, but she managed here, in my opinion. I love her use of language, and how she built the tension so well for a short story. I'm not sure what to expect about the Heavenly Host, except they are far from heavenly. I can't say too much without spoiling the story, but it met any expectations I have for Anne Stuart's writing. I'm glad to see her writing more historicals, although I love her contemporaries too. What can I say? I love her writing, period. She writes a killer short story, says Danielle, with a happy smile on her face....more
This was an enjoyable, light, but not too light historical romance. Richard was a sweetie and so was Meriel. I liked their dynamic, how they ended upThis was an enjoyable, light, but not too light historical romance. Richard was a sweetie and so was Meriel. I liked their dynamic, how they ended up being drawn together and falling in love through their mutual concern for young Stephen. I don't care for deception between the H/h, so I wasn't predisposed to this book since Richard is pretending to be someone he's not. But it was handled very well.
Meriel has to overcome her trust issues, both of herself and Richard. She is still dealing with her father's betrayal, and how it rocked her whole mindset. She's a good person, and I like how she nurtured Stephen, and that she didn't let her heart stay hardened against Richard when she realized what a good man he was.
I still like The Lord Next Door more, because it has themes I prefer, but this was quite good, and it shows Gayle Callen's talent for writing a good historical romance. I liked the way she resolved what could have been a very difficult scenario with grace and in a way that brought a smile to my face. I recommend this book....more
I just love when I read a book by a new author, and their writing clicks with me. That is how I felt about The Earl and the Governess. I have had thisI just love when I read a book by a new author, and their writing clicks with me. That is how I felt about The Earl and the Governess. I have had this book on my shelf for a few months, since I get all the Harlequin Historicals. I loved the cover, so I knew I'd probably read it sooner. But, the storyline didn't really call out to me that much. I'm not a fan of the titled hero chasing a woman who is in dire straits, and manipulating that situation for his own prurient gains (unless an author can do it well). I needed an 'E' for my monthly challenge, and it shouted "Read Me!" So, I selected it, and I am glad I did.
As I read this story, I said to myself, this is good writing. Not reinventing the wheel, but telling a story of two people who meet and fall in love, and doing it very well. I found myself liking both characters very much. It's not always a given that I like the titled, handsome, monied hero. I find that it's a coin flip for me. I don't like people who have a huge sense of entitlement. I don't like heroes who think they can have any woman they want, and who will resort to underhanded methods to get her, unless the author can show me a man with those undesirable traits, and reveal to me that he has some good traits to balance it out.
I must say that William and I got off on the right foot from the beginning. He sees a woman in distress, not particularly well-dressed, passably pretty, but not a stunner, and he goes to help her. He's not just trying to get her into bed. He's genuinely concerned about her. That really softened me towards William. He's rich and important enough to ignore people that are beneath him, but he doesn't.
Surprisingly, even though William was working the angle of having Isabelle under his thumb as the governess to his ward, and he eventually wants to persuade her to be his mistress, he shows some qualms about it. Although they share a couple of passionate kisses, he doesn't automatically resort to hanky-panky with his ward in the same house. That would have felt very wrong to me. When her reputation gets ruined, he offers marriage, when he could have just paid her off. He shows respect, and a love for this woman, a love that is equal to his desire. That made me love him.
I really liked Isabelle too. She had a good head on her shoulders, but she also had a heart and emotions. The war between those aspects of her personality was well-written. She felt a connection to William from the beginning, but she was no fool. She was in dire straits, and she knew that her reputation was important. She knew that nothing lasting could come of her association with William. Her love and attraction to him slowly but surely wore away at her doubts, and it was an organic process.
I'm pretty iffy about the wallpaper-type historicals. I like to read historical romances that are written with the morals and the atmosphere that represent the times and makeup of people who lived back then. I get pretty frustrated when I read one that has modern people who are merely dressed up like historical people, and carry their modern ideas and mores into the story. This is not one of those, fortunately. Although Ms. Elliott doesn't hit the reader over the head with the Regency setting, it's very natural and obvious in this story. I found myself reading this book very fast, and enjoying it a lot. Seeing William and Isabelle's courtship play out was a lovely thing. When they consummate their relationship, it felt natural, although I wondered how things would work out for them long-term. But I knew their love was real, and that was important for me.
I would have given this book five stars, but the ending seemed a little drawn out to me, leaving me with an uncertain feelings as for how things would resolve. But eventually things get to where I wanted them to, and I was happy with the resolution in the end. Otherwise, I had no issues with this story. The Earl and the Governess was a very good book, and I'd recommend it to fans of Regency romance.
How does Ms. Johansen come up with these quirky characters and unusual story ideas? Gunner is something else. A daredevil who assumes risk as part ofHow does Ms. Johansen come up with these quirky characters and unusual story ideas? Gunner is something else. A daredevil who assumes risk as part of his job with the Clanad. He takes care of little Andrew, who went through a traumatic event that caused him to segment his personality, an action that could prove very dangerous for a powerful telepath like this boy. Part of his plan is to hire a nanny to help watch out for Andrew as they spend time at Andrew's mother's cottage with a man who could help in Andrew's therapy. Steven is a grown man who has an extremely low IQ and needs help being functional in society. Gunner believes that Andrew will gravitate towards Steven, and this will help him heal from his own mental trauma.
Quenby is a very conventional woman who has dedicated herself to caring for children as a highly trained nanny. She takes the job to care for Andrew, having no idea what kind of crazy scenario she will involve herself with. She falls in love with Andrew, and ends up falling in love with the risk-taker Gunner.
Gunner believes in the concept of fated mates, and knows that Quenby is his. He hits the ground running in his pursuit of Quenby, proving to be a tough man to resist for the lonely Quenby, who was betrayed in love once, and has kept herself from getting involved since then. Gunner loves everything about Quenby, and is determined to show her that they belong together. He believes he's a freak because of his psychic gifts, and has a savior complex, because he wasn't there to protect his family when they were massacred by the soldiers that invaded and absorbed his small native country. Since then, he's put himself at risk again and again on behalf of his adopted family, the Clanad, a group of psychic people who've settled in Sedikhan.
Quenby doesn't like Gunner's tendency to put himself in danger. She wants to protect him and keep him safe. She's cautious about their courtship, but definitely feels the strong attraction between them.
Star Light, Star Bright has Ms. Johansen's characteristic sensuality and compelling romance. The story of Andrew and Steven's healing process is poignant, as well as Gunner's issues with the loss of his family and his inadequacies about his psychic gifts. I found Gunner adorable. I could see why Quenby couldn't resist him. This was a good story, but I liked A Tough Man To Tame a little more, since the pace was a little faster in that book. But, it was great to read about Quenby and Gunner's courtship, since they show up as a happily married couple in A Tough Man to Tame. It's been great to get copies of Iris Johansen's oldies. Looking forward to reading more of them....more
Fear is the mind-killer indeed. Mr. Collins writes an effective short novel about that subject. His writing is evocative and distinctive. Definitely oFear is the mind-killer indeed. Mr. Collins writes an effective short novel about that subject. His writing is evocative and distinctive. Definitely one to check out.
Ironskin is a clever re-telling of Jane Eyre with a delicious heaping tablespoon of faerie thrown in. Since Jane Eyre is tied for my favorite book ofIronskin is a clever re-telling of Jane Eyre with a delicious heaping tablespoon of faerie thrown in. Since Jane Eyre is tied for my favorite book of all time, I definitely loved that about this book. I appreciated catching the references to the original novel and reading the author's original story with her own ideas based on this beloved classic. In other words, this is not a word for word redux of Jane Eyre. Instead it's a "what if?" sort of take on the novel by Charlotte Brontë.
I am captivated with the post-World War I period and the twenties, and it was a big plus that this book is set somewhere in that late 1910s-early 1920s period. Also, the infusion of faerie into the modern period that would seem incongruous but wasn't. The Gothic atmosphere is prominent, and the menacing allure of faerie magic. Don't look for friendly fey in this book. They are mean and vicious, and terribly insidious. The fey storyline turns out to be quite interesting and unsettling. Connolly taps into the essence of Post-War morals, the shunning of deep things and an enhanced superficiality. Shallow above substance. While the Great War is quite different in this book, the scars it left on society are similarly wounding to the survivors, and the society grabs onto the bright phony allure when so little of the Pre-War way of life is left behind.
Most of the characters are walking wounded, with some who seem blatantly unsympathetic. It takes a while to see where Connolly was going, which impacted my rating, honestly. Even until the end, I felt ambivalent, and the story was rather ambiguous. And yet, there was something impactful about this book. I think Connolly connected to the aesthetic in me. The appeal was in the dreamy and artful descriptions of the house and characters and the manner in which she revealed characters, with descriptions and body language telling much of who the characters were even before they open their mouths. Additionally, the characters' emotions were seething off the page. For this reader, that always speaks loudly when reading a novel. Jane, a tortured heroine who is drifting and surviving, because she has no other choice. When she finds a home with Mr. Rochart and his daughter Dorie, she fears it's an elusive dream, because of persistent feelings of inadequacy and a lack of self-worth. In this way she differs from Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre is ever-aware of her shortcomings, but her sense of self is so strong. She is a tiny ball of determination and powerful will. She refuses to settle for less than she deserves, even if that means denying herself the man she loves. This Jane has to grow into that, and while I wasn't happy with some of the choices she made, I was happy that she found the fighter within that was buried under a mountain of hurt. Mr. Rochart is more vague and lacks the vibrancy of Rochester. He's also not as abrasive as Rochester, which is an enduring part of this character's appeal to fans of the novel. But I think he's a better fit for this Jane. He's her Rochester in the end. Dorie had such an impact on me. The lonely, troubled child in need of love and care that Jane is able to connect with. She is one of those younger characters that inspires the mothering urge in me. Also Poule's character. I can't speak on her at length, since it would spoil what was a very novel part of this book.
While Ironskin was a good book, it just didn't satisfy me completely. There was a sense of inertia when I read. As though the story wanted to get someone but it wandered aimlessly in a series of ever-widening circles. I'm not sure if that effectively conveys how I felt as I read, but it's as close as I can articulate at this time. The aspects of this story that appealed to me are significant, which is why I would recommend reading it. I just wanted more momentum in this book. Ultimately, I did appreciate the underlying themes. It speaks on the power of substance and will over all that glitters. Also that our wounds and scars can make us stronger, because they are tangible evidence of the inner truth. That we are survivors, down deep. We must just find that core of strength to prevail over our doubts and fears to grab hold of what we desire and need most in this life.
This is well-written and has an authentic feel for a Regency romance, but the male lead, Ned, isn't very likable for a significant portion of the bookThis is well-written and has an authentic feel for a Regency romance, but the male lead, Ned, isn't very likable for a significant portion of the book, and Phoebe's personality seemed too buried under governess reserve, so I didn't bond as much to either of them. For that reason, I would have to give this one a 3.5/5.0 star rating.
I enjoyed reading this book. I think the writing style probably wouldn't work for everyone, but it has a trad regency feel that I like in a regency roI enjoyed reading this book. I think the writing style probably wouldn't work for everyone, but it has a trad regency feel that I like in a regency romance.
Unfortunately, the title and blurb are a bit misleading. The hero, Ben, really isn't that much of a rake. He's illegitimate, and that has affected him so that he doesn't 'spread his seed' liberally. He has affairs, but he is discreet about it and careful to take precautions. Charlotte is a virgin, but she's not as young and naive as the title conveys. She's five and twenty, very intelligent, and tough-minded, and she holds her own.
I thought the chemistry between Ben and Charlotte was a big plus in this story. They do a lot of verbal sparring. Charlotte has been attracted to Ben since they first met, but she doesn't want to be. Ben feels the same way, much to her surprise. She had determined that she would stay a spinster and devote her life to educating young women. She had no desire to marry. And Ben isn't a marrying man anyway. The last thing she'd do is be any man's mistress. If you're like me and you hate the whole mistress angle, don't worry. Actually, Ben doesn't hold any dishonorable intentions seriously. He knows better. He actually turns out to be quite honorable. For many reasons, I just didn't see him as a rake, which is a good thing for me.
There is a bit of suspense, but it's not the major part of the storyline. However, there were things that occurred in the previous books that were discussed and alluded to that left me in the dark regarding the suspense angle. Not enough to frustrate me or spoil the read though. I'm not real big on suspense being too prominent in a romance book, so I was happy that the focus is on the sparring/chase/advance/retreat between Ben and Charlotte. There are some passionate kisses and a well-done love scene, and the author shows very clearly that they are both crazy about each other. I believe the author did a good job in keeping this story period. There was enough sexual tension to make this a lively romance, but the characters acted as people of their times in how they conducted themselves (very important for this reader).
I think that the narrative relies a bit too heavily on internal dialogue, and less on actual conversation and action, and that would be a negative for some readers. I would have liked more of both, but overall, I thought this was a good read. I enjoyed it, and I had a smile on my face as I finished the epilogue, which was very sweet.
I've give this book a 3.75/5.0 stars because I thought it was good entertainment, and I really liked both Ben and Elizabeth. And I am a sucker for a good spinster/bachelor sparring and fighting their feelings for each other romance. I'd recommend it with reservations as expressed above....more
Two years after Lucy Trotter leaves the loveless but familiar confines of Brooding Cranesbill (the orphanage and school for underprivileged giSynopsis
Two years after Lucy Trotter leaves the loveless but familiar confines of Brooding Cranesbill (the orphanage and school for underprivileged girls where she was raised), and takes employment as the nanny to the aristocratic Sedley family, Lucy is accused of murdering Lord Sedley, mainly because she is poor and without family. Lady Sedley calls upon the national hero, Lord Adair to solve the crime and prove that Lucy is the murderess, along with finding a set of family jewels that disappeared around the same time. Lucy is mesmerized by the unearthly beauty of Lord Adair, however, she knows that if she doesn't give him a helping hand solving the murder, there's a real chance she will end up hanging for a crime she didn't commit, while the real culprit walks away a free person. Lord Adair has his hands full solving a crime in a house full of strange characters, including a ghost, an animal obsessed male heir, and an amorous valet having an affair with the lady of the house.
Anya Wylde has written another novel chock full of puns and slapstick humor that will make even the most hardened reader chuckle. Her heroine, Lucy is very lovable, because of her indomitable spirit and her atypical view of the world. Every character in this book is weird, which makes the distinguished recurring character of Lord Adair feel almost normal. The mystery was well done, and actually was a complete surprise to me.
While I enjoyed this book, I didn't find it as hilariously funny as her previous books. Sometimes, it even felt like Wylde was trying too hard to get laughs. There were a few odd moments that seemed so random; it was hard to be convinced they were being played for laughs. For some reason, the writing feels less cohesive. The story, while a shorter length novel, tends to meander a bit, prompting me to wonder when it would get to the climax.
It was a very pleasant surprise to see the character of Lord Adair again. His presence in previous books has endeared this reader and no doubt all of Wylde's other readers. I would have liked to see more chemistry between him and Lucy, although I am not sure this novel is meant to be a romance. It seems as though Lucy's attraction to him was one-sided, despite Lucy being highly endearing. This seemed like a missed romantic opportunity for Lord Adair's lonely character.
Lucy will appeal to readers who love characters like Bronte's Jane Eyre. She is a strong-minded, vibrant, unique and indefatigable young woman who deserves a happy ending, and no doubt readers will root for her. Her poor treatment by the family and servants alike inspired pathos in me as I read, and her antics made me laugh.
Overall, Murder at Rudhall Manor is a good book. The humor is quirky and entertaining, and the touch of the supernatural, teamed with a mystery that the readers have to work to solve, makes for a diverting read overall. A more cohesive storyline and a plot with greater momentum would have made this a close to flawless book. But even with its flaws, this was a fun read.