**spoiler alert** Legendary rapes aside, this book is over-the-top. Long before I reached the end, I was feeling like I was watching a marathon showin**spoiler alert** Legendary rapes aside, this book is over-the-top. Long before I reached the end, I was feeling like I was watching a marathon showing of "Perils of Pauline" serial movie shorts and kept hearing the Indiana Jones theme music in my head...
Our intrepid heroine, Catherine, is a bit of a hoyden. The book opens in her English countryside home where one suitor has just saved her from being compromised by another suitor with a sword fight in her bedroom. She is unashamedly nude when her elderly governess comes into the room...
From there, she survives a kidnapping, inprisonment and near starvation, beatings, broken ribs, punctured lung, carrying a dead baby for 2 months before miscarrying, shipwreck, a duel with knives (in which she is one of the duelists), 4 lovers (including the exiled future king of France), and 3 husbands.
At the age of 12, she shot her mother's horse and then her mother (so she wouldn't suffer after being impaled by a hay baling fork). The amazing weapon had 2 bullets! Keep in mind that when that event took place in 1792 (which you don't know until near the end of the book when a year is given in describing a scene), pistols had to be manually loaded with gun powder and a ball of lead. There were no six-shooters! Maybe she reloaded the gun herself.
Much later, when our hero was shot (not once, but twice - in the back and in the chest), Catherine performs surgery with a crochet hook to remove the bullet from his chest.
Then she wields another weapon to shoot her husband (our hero's brother) to save the hero's life. BTW, her husband is also her brother (of course, she didn't know that when she married him).
And speaking of our hero, Sean. He survives the aforementioned bullets, castration of one of his testicles (along with torture of every imaginable description while imprisoned by Catherine's father), and poison-tipped rapiers. Throughout the story, he has 7 or 8 lovers, including a vindictive mistress with whom he started a carnal relationship when he was 14 and she was 12.
This amazing couple moves from crisis to crisis with very few moments of bliss until the very last chapter.
Despite all the incredulous plot twists, what really made me crazy were the time warp situations...
- The aforementioned double-shot pistol lightweight enough to be handled by a 12-yr-old girl.
- Marines who dress in camouflage to take a smuggling ship (there were Royal Marines back then, but camouflage such as that described didn't happen for another 110 years).
- A young well-bred woman, the daughter of an English viscount, heiress to her mother's french title as countess, and getting ready for a ball includes wearing eye shadow, rouge (blusher), and NAIL POLISH!
- A country doctor who runs a clinic where Catherine takes care of the billing (huh?).
- A traditional Christmas celebration, complete with Christmas tree (which wasn't introduced in England until Charlotte of Hanover married George III in the early 1800's). At the time, Christmas was a bacchanalian party similar to our Cinco de Mayo or St. Patrick's Day or a simple feast.
- A bachelor party for Catherine's husband #2. The event takes place in Paris, well known for it's decadence, but I think stag parties are a 20th century custom
- A wedding at Notre Dame that included 12 bridesmaids in matching gowns (another 20th century custom) and a bride in white (an idea introduced by Queen Victoria several decades later).
I do have to say that after all is said and done, it is a page-turner. You fervently hope the h/h will get their HEA, but with so many plot elements that are usually taboo in the romance genre, you're never quite sure until the end. Is it worth the $20 it will cost on eBay? Sure. If I'd pay that much for an Ellora's Cave title, I'd pay that much for Stormfire. ...more
I love this book! I must have read this classic 4-5 times when I was a girl and reread it last year with my 10-year-old daughter.
While we were at B&NI love this book! I must have read this classic 4-5 times when I was a girl and reread it last year with my 10-year-old daughter.
While we were at B&N staring at the classic reissues they do, I was explaining to my darling daughter that these were the 'trashy novels' of their day. Her eyes got wide, the chin fell... she couldn't fathom that the popular fiction of our time could someday be "classics."
The timeless story of the four March sisters is epic and no matter how many movies they make about this wonderful story, they all pale by comparison to the written tale....more
This book follows the classic Diana Palmer formula: older man who loudly protests marriage, coming-of-age virgin he has known and desired for years, sThis book follows the classic Diana Palmer formula: older man who loudly protests marriage, coming-of-age virgin he has known and desired for years, she distrusts his advances/seduction, neither will admit they love each other, he admits he loves her and she agrees to marry him.
But as with every Palmer story, there are differences and nuances... In this story, he was guardian over her finances and her step-cousin. There was quite a rivalry going between the hero, Matt, and his younger brother, Hal. Hal interferes and almost submarines the new relationship between Matt and Catherine. Unlike many Palmer heroes, Matt is not verbally abusive toward Catherine.
There is a fun moment at the end when Catherine finally meets the 'other woman' that Matt has been seeing. Very different from the cat fight I was expecting...
All in all, a good afternoon's read and worthy of the reissue it was given 11 years after it was first published. The image above is from that reissue. The original is a lavender-bordered Silhouette Romance with a couple (what else?) on the cover. ...more
This book is a re-issue of two Soldiers of Fortune stories by Diana Palmer.
The first, Mercenary's Woman, is the story of Eb Scott and Sally Johnson. IThis book is a re-issue of two Soldiers of Fortune stories by Diana Palmer.
The first, Mercenary's Woman, is the story of Eb Scott and Sally Johnson. It lacks the emotional angst of most Palmer books and the conflict that arises is quickly resolved. Not surprising considering it was originally released as a vanilla Silhouette Romance.
Having said all that, it's an important story because it links the Soldiers of Fortune series with the Long, Tall Texans series and introduces characters that will have stories of their own, including Cy Parks (Winter Soldier, which is the other book in this 2-story anthology), Micah Steele (The Last Mercenary), Cord Romero (Desperado), and Rodrigo Ramirez (Fearless, which will be released in June 2008).
The second story, Winter Soldier was initially released as a Silhouette Desire story about Cy Parks and Lisa Monroe. Of the two, it is a better story, with more angst and suspense.