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
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
With Scoundrel, Ms. Archer takes us adventure-loving romantics on a splendid journey around the Aegean Sea on the hunt for mystical treasure. ReadersWith Scoundrel, Ms. Archer takes us adventure-loving romantics on a splendid journey around the Aegean Sea on the hunt for mystical treasure. Readers who enjoy Indiana Jones will get a kick out of this book, with its very real magic and a dash of steampunk-like adventure.
London is an admirable heroine. Despite the way she was raised, she wants to live her life, and have something grand to contribute. It took a lot of courage for her to break free from her family's expectations and restrictions, to realize that she was essentially orphaning herself. I loved that she was three-dimensional. She is both beautiful and intelligent. She is womanly and strong. What she isn't good at, she strives to improve. While loving a man like Bennett was a huge risk, she took the chance.
Bennett isn't my favorite type of hero. While I love a dangerous and edgy hero, I just don't have a taste for womanizers. I did like that though Bennett doesn't have a problem with loving and leaving women, he really does respect women and cherish them in his somewhat shallow way. When London comes into his life, he learns what saying "I love you" truly means. She doesn't force him to change. Instead, his love for her changes his feelings about his life with one woman in it. I liked how courageous Bennett was and his exploits help to make this book incredibly fun and exciting.
The romance between Bennett and London was good, but it's hard to me to get excited about a supposedly dead end/finite relationship in which sex is the main component. With that expectation that nothing would come of their time together except some good sex and companionship, I felt kind of sad for Bennett and London. What I did like was that each time they came together, it got harder for Bennett to hang onto his beliefs about love and forever afters.
I liked the secondary love story between Athena and Kallas. They challenged each other in pivotal ways and forced each other to reevaluate their own preconceived notions.
I like this world of magic where each culture has objects that are vital to them. There are a few 'wow' scenes in this book that I ate up. Let me say that if you are a Greek Mythology geek, you will too.
This book has some interesting things to say about Imperialism, the belief that one nation should forcibly ensure their superiority over others. I can't get behind that, even if I do have my share of patriotism simmering within. I could understand how Bennett and London and some of the other English Blades must have felt.
All in all, a very good book. While Bennett isn't my favorite hero in this series so far, I did like him. He was fun and exciting. He knows how to kick butt and he showed how much he did love London in the end.
Looking forward to the next two books, Rebel and Stranger, particularly my geeky darling, Catullus!...more
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 thatRevenge 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. ...more
I don't even know what to say! I loved this book so much. I savored it, stretching it out, not wanting it toDo What Thou Wilt, But Don't Fall in Love!
I don't even know what to say! I loved this book so much. I savored it, stretching it out, not wanting it to end. I was completely immersed in this book. I was no longer in Texas, modern day. I was in France in the 1700s.
I don't know how Ms. Anne Stuart does it. She can take the most objectionable type of hero, and make me fall in love with him. Let me say, I am a devout Christian. I can't even imagine even pretending to worship the devil, or to hold orgies in which one does things that are unspeakable, just because you can. That should have turned me off of Lord Rohan. But, with Ms. Stuart's incredible writing skill, it wasn't even an issue for me. I am very glad that she didn't dwell on those aspects, although they were there in the background. This is a book about a rakehell who was the leader of festivities along the lines of the real Hellfire Club, so that aspect had to be present. But, I didn't have to see him doing any of that. I was fine that I didn't. Now, he definitely did some fornication (even after he met Elinor). I was okay with that, because that was who he was, before he fell in love. Once, he had Elinor in his heart, that was over for him, even if he didn't want to admit it to himself for her. And I was gratified that he didn't allow anything to go on there that wasn't between consensual adults.
No question about it, Elinor and Rohan are one of my favorite couples now. Anne Stuart-wise, and period. There was something so delectable about their interactions, the by-play between them. Even though Francis was sixteen years older than Elinor (old enough to be her father, and he was quite active at that age, in his own words), Elinor was able to hold her own with him. Elinor had some serious pluck. I love a heroine who is strong, and no question about Elinor's strength. She is no Xena, and she didn't have to be, in order to captivate Rohan, and to make me love her. She is true to herself, forthright, and brave (in ways I can't even fathom). Francis was a very bad boy, but he had a core of him that was good and decent. He did things for Elinor that he really had no reason to do. He showed her love even before he knew what the word meant. How could I not love him for that? The sexual tension in this story was off the charts, and the love scenes aren't even until near the end. That's talent to me. I felt the sizzle through every conversation, the exchange of glances, the way Rohan pursued and Elinor fled. It was magic on the page.
Yes, I know. It's clear that I love Anne Stuart so much, that some may doubt my objectivity. But, I will say it if I don't think a book by a favorite author is my favorite. But, with Ruthless, there is no question that this one is a stellar read. I wish that Ms. Stuart released books every year. When she doesn't have books out, I mourn the dearth, and I pine for her books. I have especially longed for her historicals, because she writes them so well, with the dark aspects, the multi-faceted characters, the writing subtlety that conveys so much, the intensity that I crave in a romance story. I am happy to say that this book truly makes me happy. I am still replaying the scenes in my head. The skillfully nuanced courtship of Rohan and Elinor, and the powerful love story here. The sad, heartbreaking things in their pasts. I got choked up a few times. I was touched on such a deep level, I feel it right now as I write this review. I think that readers who enjoy meaty, intense, darker historicals with strong, vibrant characters will be very happy with Ruthless. I foresee myself rereading this book soon and often. Bravo, Ms. Stuart....more
This veteran historical romance novel-reader asks this question: Do we really need any more rake heroes? No! They make me yawn and roll my eyes. But wThis veteran historical romance novel-reader asks this question: Do we really need any more rake heroes? No! They make me yawn and roll my eyes. But wait! What about Adrian, Viscount Rohan? Okay, maybe we can have a few rake heroes, as long as they are masterfully brought to life as Ms. Anne Stuart did with Adrian.
Yes, yes, yes! I know you will wave a hand at me and say, "You like all her books, so your opinion isn't really valid." I guess if you feel that way, you should probably stop reading this review. But, if you want to hear me out, then keep reading.
Once again, I was in raptures. Adrian is a man who doesn't deserve a woman like Charlotte. He knows it, she knows it, we know it when we're reading this story. Heck, Ms. Stuart knew it. But, I wanted him to have Charlotte so bad. Usually when the hero is an arrogant dog, I want the heroine to take his heart and stomp on it into a mushy consistency that resembles a tomato dropped from the second story of a building. Yes, I am vindictive like that. With Reckless, I was reading feverishly, anxious to see how this predator would get his prey. Adrian was so bad, in a very good way. I loved the cat and mouse game he played, how he stalked Charlotte into the garden of no return (at least if you wanted to stay celibate). I love bad boys, but I usually love the bad boys who are physically dangerous, not the skirt-chasers. But this is one bad rake that I really loved.
Another reason that I wanted Adrian and Charlotte to get together so much was because Charlotte was so in love with him. I thought she should have this man she pined for so badly (but always in a dignified way). I didn't want her heart broken, or for her to be used and abandoned, but I wanted her to have a little happiness in her life. In the scenes where Charlotte's loneliness and feelings were so poignantly displayed by Ms. Stuart’s writing, I felt my heart clench. Charlotte didn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, but Adrian knew and so did her cousin Lina. She was the consummate wallflower, awash in her isolation, in a world of perfect budding beauties; her on the wrong side of thirty, six-foot tall, and freckled, and penniless to boot. Normally I want to give the heroines who chase after the rake a good slap on the back of their head to bring them to their senses. But, in this case, I wanted them to end up together. Even so, I liked the fact that in this book, Adrian pretty much did all the pursuing; it was just up to Charlotte to surrender, and boy did Adrian make that an easy thing to do.
Their scenes of intimacy were so sexy, and so beautiful. It’s hard to describe. You could think of it as sex scenes, but there was another level there. A connection that was forming between them that I oftentimes find missing with other books with this theme. Those stolen interludes were gratifying to me, even if I knew that their time together was illicit and might end badly.
I loved that this was just the beginning of their courtship. Adrian had to go through a sea change. It’s easy to say that the right sex partner will change a rake’s heart. I don’t believe that, and I never will. But, I could totally believe that Adrian’s time with Charlotte had changed him. Something clicked inside of him when it came to Charlotte. I wonder if she was there in his mind the whole time, but she was marked ‘off-limits’ for whatever reason; and when he saw her at the Heavenly Host Revel, he decided he was going to take what he truly wanted, and damn the consequences. Even though it was so wrong of him to seduce Charlotte, I ain’t mad at him.
Being a stubborn knucklehead, Adrian does some stupid things in his relationship with Charlotte, and they both know it. I loved how Charlotte wasn’t afraid to stand up to Adrian and tell him he was being stupid. She wasn’t like putty in his hands, well at least not all the time. That powerful attraction between them held sway, but not to the point of idiocy; and, as I always demand in a good romance, it was mutual. If Charlotte was a fool for love, so was Adrian.
The secondary romance was so good. I loved Lina and Simon together. I wanted to cry for Lina and for what she’d gone through in her marriage, and how it had sent her into a very disagreeable (at least for me) lifestyle. I can’t decide if I would have liked it better if she enjoyed it or not. If I don’t like promiscuous heroes (and I don’t), I definitely don’t like lascivious heroines. With any topic that is not to my taste, it has to be done well, and it was here. I loved and respected Lina, even if I didn’t like the choices she made. This character was in Anne Stuart’s hands, and I was sighing and hoping that she would get her HEA. I loved Simon too. I liked that he called Lina on her nonsense, and she did the same for him. She opened his heart to love, and he did the same for her. They had a powerful attraction that opened the door for something more. I could totally see this couple having a happy life together, because they had a connection that surpassed the superficiality of their disparate roles in society.
I can’t say there is anything I didn’t love about this story. I mean, the suspense part wasn’t that necessary to the romance (in my mind), although it tied into the story. I don’t read romance of this sort for suspense, so I was more fixated on the progression of Charlotte/Adrian and Lina/Simon’s romances than that aspect. I loved seeing Francis, now Marquess of Haverstoke, and Elinor, his Marchioness, again, who are Adrian’s parents. I like how Francis is now a stern father, and Elinor a loving, indulgent mother. It was kind of interesting seeing Adrian getting called on the hot seat in front of his father. Made me laugh!
Gosh, I adored this book. It was a rapturous romance, and with a theme I usually don’t like. I am just not into rakes. But, some authors can deliver a story of a rake and the good woman who turns him around so well, that I am in, hook, line and sinker. Anne Stuart is my favorite author of all time for a reason. I think I’d better shut up now. I may end just babbling incoherently about how happy I feel when I read one of Ms. Stuart’s books. She only gets better (which is quite a feat), in my humble opinion. This one definitely goes on my best of 2010 list. ...more
This was a pretty good book. I had some issues with some of the choices for execution that Ms. Shaw made, and I'll discuss those.
Russian Hero: Major pThis was a pretty good book. I had some issues with some of the choices for execution that Ms. Shaw made, and I'll discuss those.
Russian Hero: Major points there. However, I didn't like that his edgy, dangerousness was mainly due to his ruthless manner in which he would go through women. He was a serious womanizer who never got emotional with his bed-partners. His pursuit of Ella was pretty coldblooded, although there was serious sexual tension and attraction between them. I didn't like how he would think of her as nothing but a sex partner, and he said something pretty cruel to her, although it was in the heat of a moment in which he was grieving what he lost in his past. I have to say, I didn't really like him all that much. He was alright, and he came around. But not a favorite hero of mine. That's a shame, since I love my Russian heroes. I liked the depth that Ms. Shaw gave him, showing his point of view, and how he was tortured by the loss that he blamed on his own actions. I think it could have made him more sensitive to the heroine's needs. But, it didn't seem to do that.
Heroine who is unwilling to marry or make a commitment to a man: I liked this aspect, but Ella's actions seem to belie this. She had a father who was really cruel, cheating on her mother (who was physically frail and had a heart problem), and locking Ella up in a room that was known to be haunted. He squandered the family fortunes on gambling, booze, and women. In other words, the worst role model ever, definitely enough to make a girl sour on men. And yet, Ella fell for a man who had some of her father's traits (at least the cruel womanizer ones) really fast. She told herself that she was just going to have a no-strings sexual affair with him, but she showed emotional involvement very fast. Also, for a woman who prized her independence from a man, it didn't quite ring true that she would allow herself to become a man's mistress. She didn't like him using that term, but she allowed him to treat her as his mistress. I think she should have set more boundaries with him. Such as: not sleeping over, not allowing him to buy her clothes, and jewelry, and having more control over the time she spent with him. That would have rang more true with me, given her emotional scars.
So, I was not blown over by this book, although it had some really good steamy romance, emotional intensity, and was fast-moving. I just had trouble with some of the actions that the characters took, and I wasn't too fond of how things unfolded. One thing that frustrates me is when the heroine falls way too easily for the hero. Where's the conflict in that? I want to see the hero have to do some chasing, and dealing with his feelings for a woman he can't get out of his mind. It seemed as though all he had to do was kiss Ella, and she melted. I realize that the strong attraction is important to the storyline, but I'd like to see some backbone as the heroine fights the attraction. After all, we know the hero is fighting his feelings. Why not show the heroine doing more of the same? I would have preferred that Vadim had to spend more time actually wooing Ella, and showing his feelings evolve as he worked hard to get her. She seemed to be a fairly quick conquest. Too quick for me. It was almost as though her hormones got the best of her.
Overall, this was a good read. I'll probably keep it because of the Russian hero.
I enjoyed this book a lot. It was rich with depth and with characters that I was interested in reading about. Callie was tired of being trapped by socI enjoyed this book a lot. It was rich with depth and with characters that I was interested in reading about. Callie was tired of being trapped by society's expectations, and the box she'd been put into, and decided to claim some happiness for herself. I liked that Gabriel liked her for who she was. He was drawn to her, even though she didn't fit society's ideas of beauty. She became the one woman he couldn't resist, and it wasn't hard for me to believe that was the case as I read this story.
I think Ms. MacLean did a great job of writing this novel, that was recognizably full of honest and real emotions. Normally, I don't care for the Regency hoyden, who gallivants around town doing things that women just didn't do. But, this book wasn't quite like that. Callie was a woman of her times. But, she was a woman who was trying to claim some happiness for herself. She never felt anachronistic in her morals. She was just tired of trying to live up to others' expectations. So, despite this being a theme I'm far from fond of, I wasn't bothered by Callie's hijinks. I really liked and felt for Callie. Some readers complained about it constantly being repeated that she was plain and plump. I didn't really see that. I think that it was mentioned as much as necessary, especially considering that's the box that Callie had been put into. I felt for her, seeing how insensitive people were in their treatment of her. It felt authentic. Women are often treated in such a fashion, when they don't fit into the mode that society defines for them. If you're not married, don't have a man, or a boyfriend, then what's wrong with you? You must be flawed somehow. You have no purpose in life. Sadly, that's still the case.
This was a very sexy book. There are some pretty spicy scenes, and they are quite well-done. The chemistry between Gabriel and Callie felt authentic. I could see why they were attracted to each other, and why they fell for each other. Those love scenes really kept me on the edge as I read.
I liked Gabriel a lot. Although he was a rake, he showed himself to be fairly admirable in his behavior. There were some lines that he knew he shouldn't be crossing with Callie, but the way this book was written, you could see that he couldn't resist his feelings for Callie. I didn't find Gabriel especially tortured. But, I don't guess all heroes have to be. He did have some baggage with his mother running off and leaving him, and you could see how that affected him, making him afraid to give his heart to a woman. But, with Callie, it was natural for him. He couldn't hold that back from her.
I liked Nick, Benedick, and Juliana a lot. I hope that Ms. McLean writes stories for them as well.
Reading Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake was a very pleasant experience. It wasn't a particularly dark romance (which is my favorite), but it was nuanced and had an intensity between Callie and Gabriel that made it a fairly compelling read. I think Ms. MacLean is a very good writer, and it's clear she makes an effort to write a high quality historical romance that manages to entertain but also has an underlying message. She treats important elements of historical romance with respect, but writes a story that is fun, sensual, and engaging, and she earned my respect for doing so. She's definitely going on my to-read list....more
After I read a short story by Ms. Merrill, I knew she'd be an author I wanted to read more of. And Miss Winthorpe's Engagement has validated that deciAfter I read a short story by Ms. Merrill, I knew she'd be an author I wanted to read more of. And Miss Winthorpe's Engagement has validated that decision.
I appreciate the bluestocking/spinster theme very much, and as a booklover, how could I not adore Penelope? All she wants is to enjoy her spinsterhood and indulge her love of books, and as a considerable heiress, she has plenty of funds to do so. Unfortunately, her brother has decided that she spends too much money on books, when she has plenty of them already. When he puts his foot down, stating that she will do as he says regarding her finances and how she spends her time, unless she has a husband to control them for her, what's a girl to do?
Being an intelligent person who is tired of being under her less intelligent brother's thumb, she decides she's going to find herself a husband. Serendipitously, Adam, Duke of Bellston, is about to end his life, so he can save the dukedom from ruination at his lately unfortunate hands. Fate decrees that he throw himself in front of Penelope's carriage. And Fate has determined that he won't die, but fall right into Penelope's husband-needing hands. Penelope realizes that he's the answer to her prayers. She continues to ply him with brandy as they elope to Gretna Green. They marry, and Adam wakes up the next morning to a blinding headache, and being told by Penelope's servant Jem, that he is married to Penelope, who is an enormous heiress, even though she's a tradesman's daughter. Although at first, Adam is shocked that he's now married far beneath him, and to a bluestocking, his honor decrees that he cannot just forget he married her and tear up the document they both signed to that effect. They make a deal to stay married, and Penelope will give him the money he needs to save his estate from ruin, and he'll let her go about her way, and leave her to her books. But they both realize that their comfortable marriage turns out to be have much more meaning for them both.
This book was so very good. It was entertaining and readable, but also filled with hidden depths of emotion. Penelope had retreated to her books to save herself from the hurt that a disastrous Season had brought her. She had never desired to feel a man's touch or to be the object of a man's desire and love. But Adam awakens that part of her, much to her pain, but ultimate pleasure. Adam is a brilliant politician, but pretty good at making messes of his personal life. He has to live with regrets about what his reckless actions wrought on his family home, his friendship, and his brother. And Adam finds himself falling deeply in love with his wife, and coming to admire and respect her for who she is.
The chemistry between Penelope and Adam was well done, building steadily to an intense fire that made their love scenes very good reading. And the emotional honesty between them really adds to the fulfillment of reading this book. Penelope has to find her way in Adam's treacherous world, where friends are more like frenemies, and a friend's wife is trying to get her claws back into Penelope's husband. Adam made a huge mistake, but the way this book is written, you can't hold it against him. He's suffered for it, and his remorse is very obvious. And he's more than willing to face the music, but can't stand the thought of losing the wife he's come to love very deeply. Although it's a bit hypocritical in light of what he did in the past, I thought his jealousy over his wife and how it spurred him on to make his marriage with Penelope real, rather endearing. It was a real pleasure to see this match of expedience turn into one that is full of love and devotion.
This book is a real gem. I am very glad that I did get the chance to read it, and I can't wait to read more from this talented author....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
It was nice to finally read this signature romance by a historical romance great. I quite enjoyed it. Initially, I was a bit worried, because BrandonIt was nice to finally read this signature romance by a historical romance great. I quite enjoyed it. Initially, I was a bit worried, because Brandon came off as an arrogant, self-absorbed jerk. However, he really redeemed himself, showing a profound selflessness and dedication for his young wife. Yes, he did rape her. If you don't like rape in a romance, then you won't like this book, and I would not judge you. We all have our personal tastes and comfort zones. Rape is a plot device I can tolerate, depending on the execution. My issues with Brandon were due to his blase' reaction to raping a young woman. He was willing to gloss over his action, and to keep her as his mistress since the stallion had already gotten into the barn, so to speak. He didn't apologize to her. But, we come to see that over the course of this story, Brandon does acknowledge his wrongdoing to Heather, and takes measures to do better by her in the future. He's not perfect, but he was a good man and he really did show his love for Heather as this story progressed. In fact, some of his gentleness towards Heather reminded me of a Julie Garwood hero, particularly in the scene when Heather's water has broken and he's trying to get her changed. He was exasperated with her reasoning about him turning his back while she changed, and cleaning up the water from the floor, but he remained gentle and kind with her. So, yes he did redeem himself. He showed her a lot of patience and understanding about the 'big secret' she was hiding.
Brandon is in some ways a stalkerific hero. He's very possessive, obsessed with, and jealous about Heather. He doesn't want any man near her, and was about to go crazy when the men were fawning over her at the ball they held. I found it interesting that he didn't really get too angry at his brother Jeff, even though Jeff was flirting really heavily with Heather. But, I think his love for his brother made it clear to him that this was no real threat.
The things I loved about this story: *The love bond that grows between Heather and Brandon becomes very profound and beautiful. They showed their love physically in many scenes, and most of them are non-sexual. With gentle touches and caresses, and how thoughtful they were to each other's wellbeing and needs. I loved that most of this book doesn't involve love scenes, because we get to see the relationship between Heather and Brandon develop in a good way, and to reset the tone of their first meeting in this story. I would recommend this book to a reader who wants a good romance book showing a couple who is married. When the love scenes occur later on in the book, they are the more vague, pretty language type, if that's not your thing. *The beautifully descriptive and atmospheric writing. Ms. Woodiwiss was a very talented writer. Her writing is gorgeous and elegant. It invokes a period feel that I really immersed myself in. I felt like I was there during many of the scenes due to her vivid writing. *The familial and friendly interactions between the characters. Jeff is quite the character. He is funny and insightful. I liked the humor in this story. *Very good adventure moments and a decent mystery. The murders that occur in this book were surprisingly dark, although they all occur off-screen. *Heather is a great character. She was such a sweet, kind, gentle, innocent heroine. But she isn't one of those heroines who made my eyes roll or got on my nerves. She is timid, but strong in some ways. Nowadays, it seems as though romance fans have made authors afraid to write heroines like her. But I quite enjoyed her. She reminds me of some of Julie Garwood's loveable heroines, although she doesn't show the sustained bizarre logic that they show ( which cracks me up). This girl was a real sweetie for me. Things I wasn't Crazy About: *Slavery is a huge issue for this reader. I respect that some readers aren't particularly bothered by romance novels set in slavery times, but I don't care for them. I hate the idea of slavery, even if it is true that some slave-owners were kind to, and often thought of their slaves as family-members. I think Ms. Woodiwiss wanted to have a story set in the American South, but wasn't too comfortable with the connotations of slavery. She seemed to shy away from showing the ugly aspects of slavery in the interactions of Brandon with his slaves. She never even called them slaves, referring to them as servants. I won't presume to tell an author how to write, but I didn't really care for the soft-shoeing here. I'd rather she called a spade a spade, and showed Brandon as a more kindly slaveowner. That would have been more realistic for me. The Disneyland depiction of the slave plantation is a bit insulting for me as a reader. As I said, this is my personal issue. I don't judge other readers who have no quarrel with it. Having said that, this was a book set in the slavery times that didn't bother me as much as some did (soft-shoeing may have served a role in this). *I wasn't sure if I liked the almost caricature-like depiction of some of the Black characters. I almost felt as though Ms. Woodiwiss watched Gone With the Wind, and wrote Hatti based on Mammy from Gone With the Wind. The other Black characters had almost no personality. They were shadow-figures who fetched, cleaned, and carried. It made me wince, more than a few times. *Physical beauty=good, External ugliness=bad. I didn't really like that underlying theme here. The villain was a very ugly man, and his heart was ugly. He could have easily been really gorgeous and evil. Louisa, Brandon's scheming ex-fiance was showed as a lacking contrast to Heather, not just in poor character, but because she was large-framed, and in her thirties, and not sexually innocent like Heather. Young and firm-fleshed isn't necessarily always better than mature and buxom. A woman's value isn't necessarily in her virginity or lack of sexual experience. Louisa was very promiscuous, and she wasn't a nice person, and I didn't like her, but I don't think she should have been rejected based on her getting older. Not that Woodiwiss was saying this, but there were contrasts drawn between the two that relied heavily on physical appearance. It made me uncomfortable.
I can honestly say that I really liked this story. It took forever to read (small print, and length), but it was very readable. I loved Brandon and Heather as a couple, despite their inauspicious start. If you would like to read classic, well-done, old-School romance, this is a good place to start. Recommended if you don't mind slavery in your romances....more
It's amazing how the arrogant hero becomes the besotted husband in Lynne Graham's books. After seeing Lysander's selfish playboy ways in the other booIt's amazing how the arrogant hero becomes the besotted husband in Lynne Graham's books. After seeing Lysander's selfish playboy ways in the other books in this series, I was prepared to dislike Lysander. I actually ended up liking him more than his two friends. At the beginning of this book, he's definitely a womanizing type, bringing his current bed-warmer, a snooty Russian model, to the hearing of Ophelia's grandmother's will. However, one look at natural, down-to-earth Ophelia's beauty, and the Russian model is history.
Lysander originally came for one thing, to gain possession of Ophelia's home. It belonged to his mother, but Ophelia's grandmother refused to sell it to the Metaxis family out of bitterness, since Lysander's father left Ophelia's mother at the altar. In her will, she stipulated that half of the property would belong to Ophelia and Lysander, but only if they married. If not, the property would be so tied it up, it would take five years for Lysander to be able to buy it. Of course, Lysander is not happy about this development, but having a sexy wife like Ophelia that he can keep in the country sweetens the deal.
Ophelia has no desire to be married to a sleazy womanizer like Lysander Metaxis, no matter how much money he has. She just wants the right to her family home, and if not that, the walled garden that has been her own baby to nurture. And she also wants to find out where her half-sister Molly was taken after her grandmother took her in on her mother's death. The only way to get those things is to marry Lysander.
It turns out her grandmother double-crosses both of them, and the media finds out about his marriage, and Lysander feels that all bets are off. He will at least have his sexy bride in his bed, until they can safely dissolve this marriage.
I would say that Lysander falls pretty heavy and fast. He will do just about anything to keep Ophelia happy. He has fears of commitment due to his real father and mother and the sordid life he led before he was adopted by the Metaxis. But, Ophelia soon finds her way in his heart, even if he's afraid to confess it. Ophelia has her doubts that Lysander truly loves her, especially when she finds out his mother is sick, and believes he's acting like he's happily married on her account. Lysander's gestures are great, but Ophelia needs the words too. Never fear. This is Harlequin, and Lynne Graham, so there is a deliriously happy ending for all.
This was a quick, sexy, entertaining read. Fans of Lynne Graham should enjoy it very much, because it showcases all her strengths as a writer....more
This was a delightful read. Just what I needed, to get immersed into an escapist story that kept my eyes glued to the page. I think that Josie and WesThis was a delightful read. Just what I needed, to get immersed into an escapist story that kept my eyes glued to the page. I think that Josie and Westman are such a great couple. I love how Westman's determination to be a better, more sober man is juxtaposed with Josie's impish desire to be free and do what she wants.
Normally, I'm not a big fan of the hoydenish historical heroine, but Galen does it very well with Josie. Her desire to be a free woman is very understandable and I respected her for it. I liked how she was out and out propositioning Westman in the desire to take a lover with no strings attached. Yes, I hear the record scratching for all the folks who know me. But it really did work for this book. I could see that Josie wasn't anachronistic. She understood, although somewhat naively, that her choices weren't the typical. But after a being in a family where her scary mother holds her on a very tight leash and dealing with the double standards for females, she is determined to live her own life and make her own decisions. She has never gotten over her childish wish to be a pirate like her grandfather.
Westman seems like a good partner, despite the fact that their families are sworn enemies and he's avoiding his old rakish ways, and he's arrogant, bossy and domineering like other men. She's drawn to him in ways that don't quite make sense at first. But as this story unfolds, Josie realizes that there is no way she can keep her heart unattached, and she really doesn't want an uninvolved (other than sexually) lover.
I think Westman is a super sweetie. I really felt respect for him that he had faced how ugly his actions were before he shipped off to India. He wanted to be a better man and make amends. He desired Josie, but in his mind, she was just the kind of woman he'd loved to get involved with when he was a conscienceless rake. However, Josie is different. She's ready to meet him as an equal. She might be inexperienced in comparison, but she's a passionate woman and the only woman for him.
The love scenes are very steamy and well-written. Josie and Westman have great chemistry and you could see that love wasn't far behind. The ending was very romantic. Westmore's gesture turned me into a buttery puddle on the floor. I really needed a strong romance story this weekend, and this fit the bill. I loved how even though their family issues weren't fully resolved, they made a united stand as a couple who were deeply in love, together and fully committed to each other.
I love the camaraderie between Josie and her cousins. They are all different foils for each other, and great partners in crime. If you haven't checked out this older series, you should if you like fun, sexy, exciting, adventurous historicals with heroines and heroes who are perfect for each other, but don't find out until you do about that.
The adventure aspect is a crucial part of this story, and I liked how Galen intersperses letters and correspondence from the history of their grandparents. I still have a fascination with pirates and while this is past the golden age of piracy, it fits well in this story through Josie and Westman's familial heritage as grandchildren of pirates.
There really is much to love about this book. I'm being more picky about giving five star ratings, but this is very close. It was the right book at the right time. Looking forward to continuing this series!
This was a classy, emotional romance. I really liked Drake and Grace as a couple. The idea of lonely people who drift through life, and find each otheThis was a classy, emotional romance. I really liked Drake and Grace as a couple. The idea of lonely people who drift through life, and find each other, two pieces of a heart coming together always makes me feel mushy and sentimental in the best way. That's the ultimate kind of romance to me. Add on top of that, a hard, lethal man who melts only for one person, the woman he loves... Yup, I go into instant sighing mode. Despite the fact that this could have been rather cheesy in theory, this book is not cheesy in the slightest. At least, not to me. I love the dangerous hero who will do anything for his woman. And Drake definitely embodies that.
Lisa Marie Rice has an elegant, smooth writing style that makes for a quick, involving read. The love scenes are just right, although I could have done without the 'c' word for the woman's anatomy. I can understand that from the perspective of a rough man like Drake that he would use terms like that and the 'f' word for the sex act, so I was able to deal with it. I could see that his feelings for Grace were so deep, multi-layered and real. He never viewed her as a disposable sex object, which is a huge turnoff for me in a hero. He was just a rough guy who grew up in the worse circumstances, and to whom gentleness and love were foreign, until she came into his life, and everything changed. I'm not an erotic romance person, but I felt right in my comfort zone with the love scenes in this book ('c' word aside). The scenes show a sensuality teamed with an emotional connection that progressed the story nicely. Nothing too crude, kinky, or off-putting for me.
The action and suspense elements won over this exacting action/adventure fan. I knew I was going to like Drake from early on. This man knows how to handle himself. He might have bodyguards, and he is wise to do so, but he is lethal all by himself. Anyone who comes after him and his woman has a serious death wish, and there was no question about that. The strong, silent, lethal hero is my favorite type, and I will add Drake to my list. I also liked the way that sweet, gentle Grace handled herself in some dangerous circumstances, keeping her cool and showing a lot of resourcefulness. She proves that she can handle being in Drake's world.
I really enjoyed this book. The scenes of emotional and physical intimacy were perfectly rendered. Drake is the larger than life kind of hero that you do have to suspend disbelief to read (because he just makes normal men just fade in comparison), but that's the fun of it. Grace is a woman that you know is more than worthy of his love, who gives back even more than she takes, even from a man who would hand her the world on a platter. I can see them living happily ever after, more deeply in love each year of their long lives together. I love reading romance books that are like action movies with very good and extensive romance elements. That's the perfect combination for me. The adrenaline rush from both the danger and the swoonworthy romance. And this book definitely delivers that. I can see why this is such a well-liked book. I'd recommend it, even if you aren't into erotic romance. It gets the Danielle seal of approval, if that means anything to you....more
This was a decent read. It was not appreciably that much steamier than a few of the mainstream historical romances I've read. I admit I am pretty boreThis was a decent read. It was not appreciably that much steamier than a few of the mainstream historical romances I've read. I admit I am pretty bored with the oversexed rake, and I think that Anne Stuart did them a lot better in her Rohan series.
What I liked: *I found myself really liking and respecting Miranda. She was a good person. I like that she is honest about her needs as a person, and she is also generous and giving to take care of her family, even when they have been so ungrateful and cruel to her. She has a lot of heart and integrity, and she did endear herself to me for those reasons. *I liked Ethan's proposal at the end. That really did show his feelings for Miranda. I hope he is truly able to stay faithful to her. She deserves a husband who adores and cherishes her and sets her on fire in the bedroom.
My Overall Thoughts: Regency romance lacks a lot of tension and punch for me, and the tortured elements of Ethan and Miranda's characters didn't really come to life for me. The love scenes were good, but not especially steamy for an erotic read. I'm not asking for kinky, mind you, but I thought that they would be more descriptive than they were. Having said that, this is not a bad read. I can see many readers enjoying it a lot. Especially readers who love the Regency setting, with the Marriage Mart, and the jaded rake hero. As I said above, rakes leave me cold, unless they are done really well. Ethan didn't really inspire me to overcome my dislike of the rake storyline, so I can't really endorse this book wholesale. I think the thing that makes it shine is Miranda. She made the book more worthwhile to read, and Jess Michaels writes smoothly enough to make this book a pleasant few hours' read.