It's as if they were made for each other. So perfectly imperfect, and yet. This book evoked so many feelings in me, all of which left me beholden to M...moreIt's as if they were made for each other. So perfectly imperfect, and yet. This book evoked so many feelings in me, all of which left me beholden to Ms. Callihan. The laughs, the amusing banter and first-rate sparring matches, the fear and uncertainty, the unparalleled UST, That Kiss, the heartaches, the steamy scenes, the tears, the pain, the falling in love and the fighting for love and the staying in love . . . they were all there for me to experience. So amazing.
Carrie, thank you for recommending me this gem. :D(less)
IT'S A MUST READ. I really don't want to say anything because I don't want to spoil it for you guys out there who haven't read this yet. Just. Wow. Wh...moreIT'S A MUST READ. I really don't want to say anything because I don't want to spoil it for you guys out there who haven't read this yet. Just. Wow. What an experience it will be for you. Tessa's writing is superb, and she's one of the best writers out there. The entire Spindle Cove series is just too amazing for words, so if you haven't yet, read A Night To Surrender and A Week To Be Wicked and I guarantee you'll fall in love with it just as you will for A Lady By Midnight. <3(less)
I was telling a friend, how much of an emotional wreck I was, while I was still in the middle of the reading this story. It was an intense journey. The writing is very engrossing, and once it's grabbed you and hooked you, it doesn't ever let you go. And why would anyone want to?
I was hanging on as if my life depended on it, even as my mind was confused and outraged, even when my heart was bleeding and breaking, and even more so when I felt all the good and the goodness, leaving me hopeful, feeling the love.
I'm still thinking about Murphy and Livvy, about how thankful I am they have each other. Our past, it molds us into the person we are now, but it doesn't define us. And Murphy, he is a very strong man for having survived his past, and he is made even stronger for confronting his demons and being brave enough to live a life worthy of love. And Livvy, who's given so, so much to him, loving him so ardently, wholeheartedly. She put her faith in this man, and was loved in return. All of the heartaches and the sorrow and the hurt and the pain, it led them precisely where they needed to be, and when they needed each other. It won't be perfect, struggles will always be present and they'd have to be brave and strong over and over again, but these two make me think of a happy future, one that won't ever be taken for granted, and that is what makes my heart sigh contentedly.
This book, I can just forever keep it close to my heart. I can't even form the words for a review. The Rake and the Reformer. I laughed, I cried, then...moreThis book, I can just forever keep it close to my heart. I can't even form the words for a review. The Rake and the Reformer. I laughed, I cried, then I laughed AND cried some more. So much love.
My heart is so full from reading about these two incredible individuals who defied their situations by not letting circumstances, actions, and reactions define who they are. I reveled in the respect, and the friendship, and all the familial and romantic love found in this story. I loved every moment and I'm so glad I read this jewel.
Robert Knight, the ninth duke of Hawkscliffe, is a man of integrity, power and honor; he is otherwise called the paragon duke. He is a responsible bro...moreRobert Knight, the ninth duke of Hawkscliffe, is a man of integrity, power and honor; he is otherwise called the paragon duke. He is a responsible brother, a competent duke, and an eloquent man. In other words, flawless. Miss Belinda Hamilton is a loving daughter, an intelligent beauty with a giving heart, a principled and dignified woman. It is important to remember who they were, to understand who they become, and to know who they truly are. Because when their lives converge, it is not through the glorious act of love, but of bitter revenge.
Granted, it is love that pushes them to exact revenge ... it is love that becomes their undoing. For him, it is his undeclared love for a certain married woman, a now-suspiciously-dead woman; and for her, it is really her love for her father, and for herself, that was key in her decision making, which lead her to this ... Good people, driven to revenge. Revenge and deception, concealments and charades. Both playing a dangerous game, both manipulating and being manipulated.
[It would do well to remember: false ploys lead to real heartbreaks. I find myself caring for these two people very much that I'm afraid for the moment reality sets in and their hearts get broken.]
"In this life, we make our choices and we pay the price." True words from Bel's father, but oh, if he only knew what price his daughter has to pay, what kind of sacrifices she has to make, and what kind of life fate has awarded her for all her troubles, he wouldn not be able to forgive himself. Maybe then he will choose money over books? Harsh reality over pride and principle. His ideals cannot did not really allow them in their situation to live a simple albeit comfortable, with food in their stomachs and shelter in their daily lives. In the end, his very choices only exposed Bel to jeopardy; left defenseless against the unwanted advances of a horrible, nasty man. It was she who had to suffer the most.
Because of what happened, she saw herself as "another sort of creature now, as lost and degraded as the prostitutes." This is the divide. As painful and traumatic as her experience was, it only proved that she is made of sterner stuff. That as wounded and hurt as she is, she will not break, she will not disintegrate. When she was finally able to pick herself up, she has decided. She will fight. Fight back and refuse fate to dictate her life. Anger as her propellant. Her body as ammunition. Her actions as retribution.
So Bel sought to have a protector, "someone to help her, take all her fears away." A protector she will need, for she has chosen to extract a delicious revenge ... to be the mistress of his worst enemy. Dolph Breckinridge is the man she blames for all her tribulations, for his obsessive pursuance of her, for his calculating and cruel attention. In choosing the man to use in her revenge against Dolph, she only cares that he would be able to give her two things for her to make it worth his while: he only had to be gentle with her and not too unpleasant, and be there for her to rescue her father and when she faced her rapist. And there he was, Hawkscliffe with his guilt, feeling honor-bound to find out what really happened to the woman he was supposed to marry, Lady Coldfell. Willing to do it, at whatever cost. Not so noble now. The man accused of harming the woman? No other than Dolph Breckinridge.
One mortal enemy. Together they concoct a scheme. Bel as bait to prove Dolph's guilt so that Hawk can avenge Lady Coldfell's death, and Hawk as Bel's protector, exploiting the fact that Dolph could never have her. Foolish people. Angry souls. Two months of pretending, of living together in Knight House, of giving protection, money, and of not being required to bed him.
My question then, was this: for how long will they each be able to keep up this charade? For Hawk is a gentle man, kind, and regardless of whether he wanted to or not, right from the very beginning his actions already betray him -- his care for Bel shines through. And what of our Bel? Trying to hard to forget her past, to fill the "fearless and hardened" courtesan role she thinks she now must personify - her heart just will not mislead her. Attraction is strong from the get-go, and their chemistry is sizzling. Every interaction is revealing. The more time spent together, the better they understand each other. He makes her feel safe, she makes him feel needed. She brings joy to his life, and he shows her tenderness. She opens his mind to other realities and he gives her assurance to be confident again. They take what they need from each other, and they give ... they give as best they can. The little gifts they share shows how much they have come to care for one another. To make each other happy is to be happy.
If only they could trust each other explicitly. If only holding on to their principles is easy. If only politics would not interfere, ambitions, and families and scandals and society. If only loving each other is enough so they can live happily.
The ultimate challenge if for them to live the lives they so desperately want and deserve, without losing sight of who they are in the process. What good is living life without your love? And yet, would you be able to live with your love knowing you have betrayed yourself? They are left with few choices. They have to know which life they are willing to give up in order to live the life they want. It was not easy, by God, it was anything but that. It was complicated and messy and heartbreaking, and it was soul crushing. To be broken again and again, to be shattered just as they have only healed ... it takes strength of character, resilience and fortitude. It takes love. For self. For others. Simple and utter devotion.
And love ... it is what they have. Theirs to take. Theirs to give. It was beautiful. And you know what? It was good.
3.5 stars. I flew through the first part of the story because I wanted to get over the whole Big Secret and Big Mis part. Suddenly found myself slowin...more3.5 stars. I flew through the first part of the story because I wanted to get over the whole Big Secret and Big Mis part. Suddenly found myself slowing down when I got to the better half of the story.(less)
I swear one day soon I will sit down and review each of these amazing stories I've just read. Right now just let me devour each and every one until I'...moreI swear one day soon I will sit down and review each of these amazing stories I've just read. Right now just let me devour each and every one until I'm done. :D
I keep going back to these two books, Ian's story and Mac's story. I don't know how anyone can resist the Mackenzies, I mean, seriously, where is your heart?
I know that I loved Ian's story, and that I was overcome with worry and sympathy for what he's suffered in the past, and that there was no way to contain all the hope and good feelings brought about by Beth's love, understanding, and acceptance of just who Ian is.
Even in Ian's story, I knew there was a compelling story behind Mac and Isabella's separation, and that there would be nothing that could stop me from reading their story immediately. :D
I have so many things to say about Cam, and Isabella, their past and their present situation. I can't say much right now, but I know there's a great many time when my heart was breaking for him or for both of them and still, there's Mac, managing to make me laugh out loud. Ugh. Tears are flowing, Mac, and still, I don't know how I end up laughing. I love you for that. You can bare your soul any time.(less)
I love this book. It didn't take me a long time to read it. For one, it is a relatively short book. I think it is only a hundred pages long. More impo...moreI love this book. It didn't take me a long time to read it. For one, it is a relatively short book. I think it is only a hundred pages long. More importantly though, it is due to the flow of the story. His words, his words are lyrical, flows easily; it has rhythm. His words are pure and simple, yet it is those words that take you deep into the heart of it.
If you look at the novel, you will find many aspects of the story you can focus on. Seeing as this is me, of course the main theme I took with me was that of love. Unrequited love, was it? No, it was much more than that, deeper than that. The protagonist [Hervé Joncour] falls hard for a Japanese concubine. They do not touch. They do not speak. Yet, something undeniable exists there. It is not without its complications though, as the girl is from a different country, a different culture, who belongs to someone else. Hervé, on the other hand, has a wife, Hélène. It is the interplay among these three characters that break my heart. How strong is their love for one another, how much courage will they display, how much sacrifice do they have to offer up, how long do they have to endure - all for this so called love? The last few chapters of the books truly captivate me. It is sensual. Oh, that letter given to him. How much passion can you gleam from it? How bold and firm and passionate, powerful and unmistakable? Only towards the end do you realize that, man, oh man. After that discovery, you go back and reread the whole thing and you see it in such a different light now.
Actually, I wanted to go back and reread this story right away. It is the kind of book that gets better every time you read it. You read it once, get a message from it; you read it again, and get somehing else altogether. Going back to his words, so simple and pure, you realize the depth of it, how he pieced it all together, how he picked these select words and combined them to affect the reader so, so much.
It is a strange grief. To die of nostalgia for something you will never live.(less)