Tell me... if you knew that you had lost memories of a longish portion of your life, and a stranger came up to you and claimed to know you, wouldn't yTell me... if you knew that you had lost memories of a longish portion of your life, and a stranger came up to you and claimed to know you, wouldn't you at least give them a hearing instead of writing them off as deranged? And say something like, "sorry, I had an accident and lost my memory, so I don't remember you"? Apparently it's only me, because this isn't the first time I've seen a character with amnesia apparently forget they had amnesia.
This book was also interesting for showing the inversion of Willa's law, which states: "A Harlequin Presents hero's claim that he would never rape the heroine is directly correlated with the chances of him actually raping her." Here we have a hero who flat out tells her he wants to rape her (!) but then doesn't. Phew?
There's also kids. Lots and lots of kids. Wait, only two, really? It seemed like twelve.
Still, it's a fun read if you go for amnesia and heroes who act badly because they're just so darn tormented with love....more
(Disclosure: the author and I are online friends. I feel embarrassed about giving 5 stars to a friend, but all I can say is, I don't always. He earned(Disclosure: the author and I are online friends. I feel embarrassed about giving 5 stars to a friend, but all I can say is, I don't always. He earned this.
Reviewed from an e-arc provided by netgalley.)
This takes all the unwritten rules about BDSM romance and says, "Fuck that, I'm going to be about real people." Real people, who don't always have their kinks tidily arranged by age, size, wealth or social status, or always express them in a proscribed way. And it tells a story about two of those people falling in love, and experiencing an opposites-attract romance that grows to be just right for them, and it does it without preaching or screaming the agenda. I admired it and got totally lost in it....more
3 1/2 stars. This is a collection of horror stories that's also a portrait of a long term, loving, secret r(reviewed from e-arc provided by NetGalley)
3 1/2 stars. This is a collection of horror stories that's also a portrait of a long term, loving, secret relationship. Inspired by classic horror tales, folklore, and Holmes and Watson, it tells the story of ghost-hunter Simon Feximal and his chronicler Robert Caldwell, who has been carefully editing their relationship out of his tales for decades. But as he has learned from his life with Simon, whose skin literally give a voice to ghosts, "stories must be told."
There are plenty of chills and suspense here, but I think I most enjoyed seeing the characters age together; they have to deal with the realities of life in the Victorian Era, as well as its supernatural aspects. Simon is so powerful, both physically and magically, yet even he is vulnerable because of his love for another man. The ending of the story during World War I is bittersweet and poignant, as Robert dreams of a place where "two aging gentleman may share a house in peace, without prying eyes and the threat of shame in a country that makes a fetish of death and a crime of love."...more
I used to be more of a mystery fan, so I came to romance with an automatic suspicion about any character(reviewed from an e-arc provided by NetGalley)
I used to be more of a mystery fan, so I came to romance with an automatic suspicion about any character who's disappeared and is assumed dead. So it was no surprise to learn that Lily, the dead sister of the hero of The Secret Heart, was only mostly dead. Actually, she ran away from home, married a Turk, and has been laboriously making her way back to England since his murder -- carrying a most valuable item with her. But after being welcomed home by her Machiavellian father, she discovers that the life of being used and manipulated she ran away from hasn't changed at all. And the newest person trying to use her is her own adolescent hero, former travel writer John Tacitus Ware.
This story was all about the couple, for me. I barely understood most of the plot, to be honest -- my fault, most likely, because historical politics make my eyes glaze over. But I enjoyed the romance and the character arcs very much.
John is a particularly complex version of the starchy hero -- less stuffy and proper then he is simply clueless. He's not very experienced with women, and his attempts to get information out of Lily, while also dealing with an overwhelming attraction to her, blow up in his face; he falls apart magnificently. I love a good romantic betrayal, and John's betrayal of Lily is really juicy, perhaps especially because he's a generally honorable man being so dishonorable, and because he has no idea how seriously his actions will affect her.
Lily is the bad girl heroine you have to love. She's matured since she ran away, and is able to see how terrible it was to make her family suffer as she did. But she will never stop fighting on her own behalf, which makes her ruthless in the best possible way. Several times during the book I had to cheer for her.
Even if you're good with politics, I think the plot is the weak point of the book. The titular pearl is given more symbolic weight than it really deserves, since it's basically a mcguffin. I also thought that Lily's father was weirdly inefficient for an evil genius. There were many times in the book where Lily/the pearl seemed vulnerable to attack, yet that was rarely taken advantage of. But I enjoyed the characters so much, I think the story is well worth reading just for them. There's also some valuable exposition, more than the usual sequel bait, involving a returning character who will be the hero of the fourth book.
Note: this is closely linked to the first book in the trilogy, and loosely to the second. Although it can be read as a stand alone, I'd recommend reading The Secret Heart first....more
Like many fans of the "Maiden Lane" series, I've been curious about a story for Lady Phoebe Batten, a young woman who's been progressively losing herLike many fans of the "Maiden Lane" series, I've been curious about a story for Lady Phoebe Batten, a young woman who's been progressively losing her sight over the course of the previous books in the series, and one for Captain James Trevillion, who started out as sort of the Sheriff of Nottingham to the previous heroes and then became an ally. Their pairing is a fairly obvious choice for romance -- vulnerable heroine with protective hero. (Who also has his own vulnerability, because of a leg injury.)
In some ways this was better than I expected. In my memory, Phoebe was a fairly meek, dependent person. But perhaps getting older, or losing more of her vision, or being stuck with a full-time bodyguard, or a combination of the three, have made her start to rebel against her sheltered life:
"I know [my brother] cares for me. I know he worries for me. But in doing so, he's constrained me utterly. Even before this attack Maximus wouldn't let me go to parties or fairs or anywhere he deemed dangerous. I'm afraid after this that he'll pack me in cotton wool and set me at the back of the cupboard for safekeeping. I... I just don't know if I can live like this."
Later she tells her brother, "I deserve to run and trip and fall without having my every move plotted and planned... and tied down so that I never, ever risk living."
Unfortunately, Phoebe still comes across as helpless for much of the book. Perhaps this is realistic: she hasn't been allowed to learn any tools for taking care of herself. But she wanted more for herself and I'd have liked to see her really get it. ...more
3 stars because it has some good points (I liked the honesty of the heroine's pov) but when the hero is nasty all through the book, and the heroine do3 stars because it has some good points (I liked the honesty of the heroine's pov) but when the hero is nasty all through the book, and the heroine does the "tender finger" thing to silence the apology I've been waiting for for the whole damn book, I kind of want to bite it off. ...more