This is my first time reading Sherry Thomas, and now I know why so many friends love her work. Thomas really excels here at writing psychologically co...moreThis is my first time reading Sherry Thomas, and now I know why so many friends love her work. Thomas really excels here at writing psychologically compelling romantic leads. These are fully-realized characters, not cardboard cutouts, and the author conveys the details of their painful past with acute sensitivity. However, this is fundamentally a book about a couple learning to rebuild trust, and Thomas manages to morph an unflinching portrait of the past into an incrementally more hopeful vision of the future--but first, she has to convince us that a future for this couple is even possible.
It's poignant, it's often lovely, and I'd recommend it highly to any historical romance readers.
If you like historical romance at all, give this one a try. This book has everything other books in the genre want to have: an engaging plot with s...more4.5
If you like historical romance at all, give this one a try. This book has everything other books in the genre want to have: an engaging plot with some surprises along the way, appealing characters, deftly-written dialogue, and delightful chemistry between the romantic leads. Plus, it's a spy novel, and not one of those that makes you wish you had just decided to park yourself on the couch and watch The Bourne Identity again.
This isn't to say that there weren't a few hiccups along the way. At one point in the middle, the heroine suddenly seems to lose a bunch of her physical and intellectual mojo, but I'll just write that off to the fact that she had a concussion. I also felt the hero's strength as a character had a tendency to eclipse the heroine's in the second half of the novel, which was unfortunate, since Annique is really a great character. As I mentioned in a status update, Joanna Bourne actually managed to write her as badass and charming at the same time, and that's tough to do.
Some of the plot points strained credibility as well, but that happens in spy novels, and here, it's easy to forgive simply because this book is a very, very fun read. Highly recommended for anyone who likes the genre but needs a break from corsets, the ton, and manufactured angst. This is chick lit, but it's chick lit with a big side of awesome. (less)
This novel is about an unrepentant rake who has a severe stroke resulting in aphasia. When his family, who interpret his confusion, anger, and lin...more4.5
This novel is about an unrepentant rake who has a severe stroke resulting in aphasia. When his family, who interpret his confusion, anger, and linguistic difficulties as a descent into madness, send him to a lunatic asylum, his only hope for recovery might lie with a Quaker woman who refuses to believe he's beyond hope.
A set-up like that could have gone horribly wrong, but it didn't. Kinsale's characterizations are superb, in part because she doesn't shy away from representing the emotional and the practical consequences of Christian's brain trauma--not to mention the consequences resulting from his burgeoning relationship with Maddy, whose moral, religious, and financial background has nothing in common with the Duke's.
This isn't a light Regency romance, though it has its humorous moments. This is high-stakes plotting, in which success requires a whole lot of social and financial maneuvering and failure means returning to an asylum. And throughout, it's easy to see why Christian's initial dependence on Maddy--his conviction that he can't live without her--blooms into a partnership based on respect and rapport, attachment and attraction. Eventually, he can live without her, but he doesn't want to.
This is not to say that the pair don't face their own sets of interpersonal obstacles; they do. And in this area, I think some reviewers are rather hard on Maddy. (view spoiler)[I would have been disappointed if Maddy had adjusted too quickly after being lied to by Christian's (well-meaning but manipulative) friends, after being branded a gold-digger taking advantage of a witless rich man, after wading through records of financial expenditures that seem extravagantly wasteful, after facing the possibility of expulsion from the Society of Friends. And hey, when your husband's former lover dumps an illegitimate daughter--one he didn't tell you about--at your doorstep while you're hosting a major event, I'm pretty sure a gigantic meltdown is in order. At least she made sure the baby was safely inside before she commenced with the melting. (hide spoiler)]
Not a story I'll soon forget, and future rereads are likely. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)