Yes, Marie Sexton is my BFF, and yes, I beta'd this book, but I still love it and it's still going on this list.
What's not to love here? Alternate uniYes, Marie Sexton is my BFF, and yes, I beta'd this book, but I still love it and it's still going on this list.
What's not to love here? Alternate universe western setting: check. Cowboys: check. Subtle, spooky ghost native spirits: check. Reversing roles against trope: check. Understated and yet smoking hot BDSM: check. Emotional journeys, hidden secrets, self-empowerment, and oh yeah, a love story.
I did not in any way expect the artistry I found in this book. It is sophisticated without being complicated, and it has no artifice because it does nI did not in any way expect the artistry I found in this book. It is sophisticated without being complicated, and it has no artifice because it does not need it. The sex is almost sweet, and yet it is there, subtle and understated. The book is dark as well, and Thorne pushes her characters to the limits.
The writing in this book is extraordinary. Honestly, I was completely blown away. Voice, pacing, tone, character, setting--everything is here.
And I was incredibly humbled by this book because I think it was the Snow White retelling that I wanted to write in Sweet Son, but then my damn dirty muse went mucking about, and we got something else. Not that it's bad. But I read this and sighed because I really wished I'd written it....more
Okay, I caved and bought this, but now I'm really annoyed. This is totally paying $3 per chapter. Currently there are 8 installments. You do the math.Okay, I caved and bought this, but now I'm really annoyed. This is totally paying $3 per chapter. Currently there are 8 installments. You do the math. (The first is $2. Bargain!)
It's a good story, and I'd love to read it, but in no way is it worth $24. And I'm not even sure it's finished yet. Their other works look good too, but holy crap. Worst pricing ever.
Pass. Don't read this series, unless you're independently wealthy. And if you are, please buy me the rest of the installments so I can finish the freaking thing. >:(...more
This book is sweet and charming. Set in early American history, it's not your usual m/m setting, which makes it all the more fun because the period feThis book is sweet and charming. Set in early American history, it's not your usual m/m setting, which makes it all the more fun because the period feels accurate, as do the characters. The plot is not complex, but neither is it overly grim or unnecessarily harsh. Classic melodrama which a deft hand for keeping the same melodrama in check. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this and recommend it happily....more
This book was a great read, and I'd happily read another by this author. Suspense and romance mixed together well, with the romance being a deliciouslThis book was a great read, and I'd happily read another by this author. Suspense and romance mixed together well, with the romance being a deliciously complicated snarl of trust, desire, and longing both for a partner and for acceptance of self. ...more
I'm deliberately writing this review while I am still bathing in post-coital glow of finishing. Which is to say, I'm babbling like a giddy fool quiteI'm deliberately writing this review while I am still bathing in post-coital glow of finishing. Which is to say, I'm babbling like a giddy fool quite deliberately.
I want to express, too, how unlikely it was I would ever pick this book up at all. I stopped reading het romances a long, long time ago. I just can't find heroines I like. They are wet, they are...well, best left unsaid. And the HEROES. I cannot, cannot abide the "you must sit here whilst I go slay dragons." There was the tiniest bit of that here, but not really. It was done in a way that didn't make my allergic reaction--which is acute--flare up.
I'm surprised and yet not to find this is a fifteen year plus old romance. How I missed this I don't know; this was back in the day when I read everything under the sun in romance. I think the covers put me off. Even this one is ridiculous. Hair the wrong color, she looks nothing like Jess, and the flavor is completely ridiculous. Soft pastels. Honestly? Nothing at all of the actual flavor is in that cover. But this is indeed back from the golden age, or my golden age. My god, but the 1990s was a glut of a feast.
This book. THIS BOOK. It's like Heyer with sex. Real sex. A heroine buying naughty watches and baring her breasts to get herself seduced--and staying in character. CHARACTER. Holy fuck. Character up the goddamn wazoo and back again. Jess, Dain--even dear stupid Bertie.
But I think best is her narrative voice. OMNISCIENT, and in a romance, and it's REAL omniscient, and it works. It works like nothing I've ever seen. Just a dash to keep us in that "once upon a time." So essential to that prologue, prattling off the horrors of a little boy that lesser women would have schmaltzed into a gooey slop. No, she breaks our hearts like eggs in a skill to rival Julia Child, down to the 'oops, dear, mind yourself' as she casts aside any stray bits of shell. She buys and sells us in that prologue--PROLOGUE. A PROLOGUE THAT IS ESSENTIAL. I want to marry her. I want to do obscene things for her. My god, Ms. Chase. My GODDESS.
And this is how she goes, on and on and on for a deliciously long time--for what is a "short historical." I forgot that what is longer than god's left arm in epub is just a tease in trad romance. Oh, the days. THE DAYS. I miss the 1990s.
Let's not forget the plot. Every goddamn convention is trotted out and then crucified on itself. Utterly destroyed. The sizzling first meet--lust for both parties, and it's he who breaks and she rises. Wounded hero--who never simpers. NEVER. The stolen kisses--in the rain, drenched, no syrup allowed. The ruination--without the stoic shit. And THEN--well, I can't say. It will spoil. And you need to experience him. But she just walks in, in a RED DRESS, and she does it. And it was set up! Mentioned! Just like the icon, and the bit with Beaumont. Just tossed in like dross, and then they are fucking LYNCHPINS. Even how Dain dealt with V. I forget his name. Even Dominick--again, trope, trope, but NOT.
It is because of books like this that I fell in love with romance. It is for skill and mastery like this that I stopped writing dirge and moaning prattle and tried writing better. It is books like this that saved my soul when I was as broken as Dain, teaching me not what that fucking idiot Susan Quilliam thinks, on what to look for in a lover, but how to save myself. On how every ending can be happy.
And how story can be fun and uplifting and exhilarating--and light and fun and happy. How not all great stories must be literary greats--and how "trashy romances" can be better than any canonized dreck. This. THIS is the sort of story that I sold my soul for and gave up sleep for, because reading books like this was more restorative than unconsciousness. The same goes for money that could have bought nourishing food. One can live on ramen if one has romances.
Now here Ms Chase has done the impossible. She stopped me slashing within two pages of meeting Jess. I no longer wanted to imagine Dain with a man. I wanted him to have Jess, because that was right. I wish there were a way to show how radical this is. Only my fellow slashers, I suspect, will understand.
Brava, Ms. Chase. Brava, brava, BRAVA. And oh, god bless you, but I don't even have to cry encore. This is my first of yours. And you, you deliciously wicked and wonderful woman, have a backlist. I look forward to having my slasher's goggles ripped off again and again and again.