Question: If a heroine was raised in the Ozarks by her kin, in a teeny tiny town perched on the side of a mountain, where no one came in from away, an...moreQuestion: If a heroine was raised in the Ozarks by her kin, in a teeny tiny town perched on the side of a mountain, where no one came in from away, and no one left, folks jumped over a rock to celebrate a weddin', they say words like "caint" and are so intermarried they caint right remember what clan they started out from, and the clans decide that the widder Althea caint rightly keep her hunting dogs and her farm to herself so they hold a kangaroo court to decide who she should marry, if you are raised like that, in a time like that, in a community like that, would it even occur to you to say "I won't do it?"
That was my problem with this book. I kept asking myself that question. And the answer, I kept thinking, was "NOPE".
Not even gonna rate this -- I sat on my patio in the sun and skimmed this one, plowing through just find out what happened. Great idea, right? Except...moreNot even gonna rate this -- I sat on my patio in the sun and skimmed this one, plowing through just find out what happened. Great idea, right? Except now I can't remember it. Reserving the rating for the inevitable re-read. :)(less)
A sticky wicket in a romance novel, to be sure. There are readers who won't touch this subject with a barge pole, while to others it doesn't...moreAdultery.
A sticky wicket in a romance novel, to be sure. There are readers who won't touch this subject with a barge pole, while to others it doesn't matter in the slightest. Somewhere in the middle are those who will read it, but insist that it be treated with some sensitivity. The author then treads a fine line - how sympathetic to portray the H/h? How UNsympathetic to cast the (wronged) spouse? Any HEA is never truly that - no one escapes unscathed when this happens.
Heaven Forbids is an love story of epic proportion, the type that makes you hear swelling soundtracks and picture that beach scene in "From Here to Eternity". It is full of desperation and longing, heartbreak and healing. As a matter of fact, it is fairly old-skool in terms of the writing and the scope of the story.
Kathryn and Hugh virtually fall in love at first sight, when neither of them knows the other's identity. Of course, the compelling stranger Kathryn cannot forget is none other than her niece's betrothed. Kathryn is sent as a companion for Sarah as she travels to live with her new husband. She knows from the outset that she cannot have Hugh. He is equally as aware of Kathryn; and even more cognizant of his duty to his wife and his clan.
The expression "they fought their feelings" is trite, but that is exactly what they do. They try desperately to keep their relationship as that between the Laird and his wife's companion, but they cannot. They are drawn to each other as moth to flame. It is dark, it is painful, and it is desperate.
There is no villain in this triangle, no shrewish wife or scheming mistress. Sarah is basically a non-entity (much as happens in real life, I'm afraid). She simply doesn't factor into the equation, other than for the fact that she holds the position of Hugh's Lady. The H/h are not bad people. They do not commence their affair in a trivial way, nor do they seek excuse for their actions. They are anguished by their choice but in the end the pain they suffer by not being together is greater than the pain they would cause by acting on their feelings.
For those looking for a traditional villain in their romance there is one here (other than the folks in the love triangle). Set in Scotland around the time of the Jacobite rebellion, there is also war, madness and tragedy, just to round things out. Nothing gratuitous, everything has its place in the narrative and it all falls together just as it should.
As I said at the outset, when you write a story where the lovers are also adulterous, the HEA can't be full of sunshine and flowers. It needs to be realistic and not insult the reader. The best ones are bittersweet, as happiness gained at another's expense should never be treated lightly.
A super-angsty, old-skoolish read with a noble Hero and a strong heroine. If you can handle the adultery, Heaven Forbids is more than worth the time to read. Ms. Ranney has done a superb job.
I frigging LOVED this book. I'm sorry, I can't think of any other way to put it.
I was trolling my kindle for something to read the other night when I...moreI frigging LOVED this book. I'm sorry, I can't think of any other way to put it.
I was trolling my kindle for something to read the other night when I happened upon the title. As I remembered exactly nothing about the book (other than that I really liked it) I figured what the heck and re-read it.
Now I'm gonna gush.
I love Christine Merrill's writing. An author of some wit, her books are infused with a sense of it, both in the prose and in her characterizations. Not all authors have this, and when I find one who does, I glom their backlist like RIGHT. NOW.
It doesn't hurt, of course, that The Inconvenient Duchess has one of my favourite plots ever - a marriage contrived by a scheming relative bringing together the stuffed-shirt Hero and an upstart heroine. This Hero stomps about yelling at the staff and slamming doors, just the way I like 'em. He isn't so much of a boor that he doesn't recognize what a jackass he is, and this is his saving grace. The heroine is another favourite type of mine, the ruined/poor/spinster with a temper.
I laughed out loud at some parts, grinned to myself at others, and thoroughly enjoyed every second of reading it.
One of my favourite quotes from the book is here:
"I know that you must have certain...needs," she almost whispered the word. "If you might wish to visit your mistress...I would not blame you for it."
He choked on his tea. "There are a few things we need to make clear, lady wife. Firstly, I do not wish you to discuss such things at all, but, if you must, you will not do so over the breakfast table. Secondly, if and when I seek to visit my "mistress" I will not ask, or for that matter, need your permission to do so. Thirdly, you should not even know of such things, and if you do, I'll thank you to keep the information to yourself. The last thing I want to do is discuss "my needs" with my wife." The last seemed to him so ridiculous a statement that he was momentarily struck dumb. No wonder, with an attitude like that, he'd sought to avoid the married state for so long.
A couple of things kept this from being a 5 star - perhaps it was a little rushed, but that might be due more to the fact that this is a Harlequin Historical than any other. In any event, it's going on my "favourites" shelf, and is a perfect feel-good regency keeper.
And I'm off to glom Christine Merrill's backlist. :) (less)
It was not at all like the duke's valet to stare at a man's apparatus with such squinty-eyed concentration. This made His Grace all the more uncomfortable, if that were possible.
How do you NOT have to keep reading a book when it begins like that?
A unique (and hilarious) premise, witty prose and clever dialogue that engages the reader throughout, a sigh-worthy Hero and a strong heroine, again written with humour and charm, are enough to have me recommending this first book by Miranda Davis to every one of my Goodreads friends.
I haven't done this since I read Scandal by Carolyn Jewel.
The Duke's Tattoo begins with a case of mistaken identity. Or should I say, mistaken drugging, abduction and tattooing of nether parts. The Mayfair Stallion, as the new Duke comes to be known, embarks on a quest to find the perpetrators of the heinous assault upon his person. Once he does, he falls in love with his tormentor. Their story is absolutely delicious.
A couple of minor points niggle, but not enough to bring down my rating. The Big Mis goes on a bit too long, but as it begins with a chapter titled "In which there is an unfortunate case of "he said, she heard", I was charmed in spite of myself.
The romance itself was not as steamy as I might have expected but this in no way detracts from the book. In fact, it probably gives Ms. Davis' novel a broader appeal. :) I mention this only in case folks who now exactly how steamy I like things would look for that here.
My GR friend Catherine has a way of recommending books to me in a way that makes me laugh out loud every time she does it. I'm sharing it with you all here because The Duke's Tattoo definitely merits it: