Holy cow! I had high expectations for this book based on the reviews, and they were totally exceeded.
This book isn't terribly steamy by the standards...moreHoly cow! I had high expectations for this book based on the reviews, and they were totally exceeded.
This book isn't terribly steamy by the standards of many romance novels, but it is probably the sexiest and most seductive I have read. If you like books with young, innocent heroines and dangerous older men, this is amongst the best the genre has to offer. I can imagine myself rereading this book many times in years to come! (less)
This book is so much better than the cover and plot summary led me to believe. I have been taking an indefinite hiatus from historical novels for the...moreThis book is so much better than the cover and plot summary led me to believe. I have been taking an indefinite hiatus from historical novels for the better part of this year because I became very burned out on them, especially Regencies. I have a feeling when I read many historical romances that the characters are not really in the past- they are modern actors wearing old fashioned costumes for a play. I also really, really hate the historical fiction trope of women being "ruined" after losing their virginity, which may be historically accurate but is also disgusting. I really have no interest in reading books where characters of either gender are shamed for their sexual behavior.
One thing that I miss in historicals, however, especially older historicals or those by authors like Kinsale that have been doing this for a long time and really know their game, is the epic sweep of the stories. A quality historical romance will make you feel like you are witnessing moments in history where the world changed. The setting to this story is lush, beautiful and completely unique. Unlike books where the setting is merely window dressing, the Renaissance court intrigues are essential in driving the plot and explaining the characters motivations. They are people of the past informed by geography, religion, ancient feuds and blood ties.
This book is also amazing and unique to me because Elena started the story out as a powerless teenager and was able to use her sexual power to gain political power and strength in other areas of her life. I don't think I have ever read a book with sex scenes like these. They are nothing terribly kinky, but unlike many books where the heroine ends up protected in a bedroom as a housewife Elena is really able to take charge. I love that she is able to dominate instead of being subdued, and to turn the tables and become a Queen rather than a captive.
Four stars rather than five because the book really does drag at the end, and could have been 100 pages shorter in my opinion. This would still make it much longer than a standard romance novel. I haven't even mentioned how amazingly sexy Allegretto is, so I will let it go without being said. He was an amazing character and I will probably read the other book in the series on the strength of how amazing he was alone!(less)
This book isn't super great, but I couldn't bear to give it a low grade. It has a strange, dreamlike quality that is very different from most modern r...moreThis book isn't super great, but I couldn't bear to give it a low grade. It has a strange, dreamlike quality that is very different from most modern romance novels. (less)
I loved that this book was very sweet and funny. It was not very steamy, but the characters were great, and there was no lame subplot clogging things...moreI loved that this book was very sweet and funny. It was not very steamy, but the characters were great, and there was no lame subplot clogging things up. (less)
This book was very sweet and very cute, and made me LOL more than a few times, especially about the name Terrence Fish.
I actually enjoyed the beginni...moreThis book was very sweet and very cute, and made me LOL more than a few times, especially about the name Terrence Fish.
I actually enjoyed the beginning of the book when they were wandering around the countryside stuck in their underwear having misadventures than I did the second act. The parts with the naughty book were especially hilarious- I nearly fell out of my chair when the author's note said that it was a real work from the period. Once Tarquin's amnesia cleared up,however, I didn't think that he was nearly as much fun, and the country house part portion of the book was much more of a standard regency, although a very well done one.
Also, I feel that only in Romancelandia where every man is big hearted knight on a white horse would a man like Tarquin have married Celia. In the real world, I kept getting a sinking feeling that a man who was sexually attracted to a young powerless girl all alone in the world who owned nothing but her underwear... man, I feel like Celia lucked out that she is a character in a romance novel. Being his Mistress is probably the best case scenario for the real world. I have no idea why it is easy for me to suspend disbelief for things like "a whole bunch of vampires live in Caldwell NY" but "a rich handsome person would want to marry a poor average looking person" is a bridge to far for me in many cases. That probably says more about me than the book though. (less)