new_user's Reviews > The Forbidden Rose

The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne
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's review
May 09, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: cool-spies, historical
Read from February 21 to 24, 2011

Sherry Thomas fans will like The Forbidden Rose. Probably. Succinct like Thomas, Joanna Bourne's prose nonetheless sings with flare, marrying original metaphors for timeless ideas (e.g. "she was a battlefield of possibilities") and a quintessentially French understatement perfect for a French setting and a French heroine. +1000 pts. for a unique setting and research.

William Doyle and Marguerite de Fleurignac meet in Revolutionary France. Aptly, principle drives Doyle and Marguerite and, in the service of those principles, supreme pragmatism. He, a spy, she, a resistance leader.

I want to carve Marguerite et Doyle into a tree. They may be my favorite couple yet: self-deprecating, competent, and selfless Marguerite and sly, devilish and frank Doyle, who pushes just enough, rough and brawny in a society of aesthetes-- and only unassuming to the undiscerning eye. So undramatic and earthy, he is the everyman and the ideal at the same time, the alpha without the overbearing. I loved his -believable and frank- point of view. I could go on about Marguerite too, so big-hearted and independent.

Let's not forget Adrian. I can't wait for The Black Hawk . Rose can be read as a standalone, but Adrian's point of view here should definitely precede Hawk. Fans will meet his future love interest here too.

Readers enjoying historical romance and weary of ballrooms will enjoy that Marguerite and Doyle's dilemmas actually, you know, matter. Revolutionary-era spies, lacking COMSATs, PCs and voice recorders, carried out intelligence grunt work more often than assassination, but Rose excites as the heroes look over their shoulders for tails or exchange passwords-- vintage spy chic. Bourne invests equal effort in her setting, suspense and spy elements, but as she says, she doesn't write romantic suspense, so the action/conflict always comes back to Marguerite and Doyle.

All told, Bourne's sophomore effort, with bold voice and superb atmosphere, impresses more than her debut, The Spymaster's Lady . She's pared her narrative to the core, made this more pointed, that more powerful. She still writes sexual tension better than full-on love scenes, but that is enough. @.@ I thought I was done with historical romance besides Sherry Thomas, but I think I have another favorite author! I'll wait between books, however, since some plot elements repeat themselves, like the road romance.
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Reading Progress

6.0% "Ah, missed my spies!" 4 comments
31.0% ""She bent toward his mouth. He stretched upward to her, to meet her. It was as if she attached a string to a mountain and it came to her when she pulled." Dang, she's good." 3 comments
58.0% "Aw, Adrian! I'm so glad the next book is his!" 3 comments
87.0% ""I will feel strange for a time. Being in love with you is shedding the skin of my soul, as a snake sheds its skin. I feel tender and naked. I would rather not love, in fact, but I have no choice in the matter."" 5 comments
100.0% "Dreamy sigh. LOL."
06/28/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda Have you read the Pink Carnation series yet by Lauren Willig? Spies and romance galore!!

message 2: by new_user (last edited Feb 21, 2011 11:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

new_user LOL. I have not, but I've heard about it. :D I think that one's meant to be a little more lighthearted though, no?

message 3: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda Yes-but it's still loads of fun & it's the series that is helping me break thru my "I don't read romance" block. The last one(a christmas one)was all romance and I loved every moment!! lol

new_user LOL! The thing I like about Bourne's books is that they're like a historical version of the Bourne movies with romance. Fabuloso! Plus, that understated Frenchness and sense of tragedy. Love it.

message 5: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda I may have to check one out-I love historical fiction:D

new_user I'm curious to know what you'll think. ;)

message 7: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda At least this cover is not as "bad" as the 1st in the series OMG

message 8: by new_user (last edited Feb 21, 2011 12:59PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

new_user LOL! Indeed! Look at the manly manchest!

message 9: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda Hairy men just scare me-I had a hairy room-mate & I was relieved he never went around the house w/out a shirt. i asked his girlfriend how she handled it & she said it took some getting used to lol

new_user LOL! I'd rather some hair than no hair. That's a little too much like me, LOL!

message 11: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda My room-mate was like a bath mat out of control(and not a nice one you'd want to put you clean feet on after a shower but the one at Animal House! lol)

new_user Yikes! LOL.

Wicked Incognito Now I loved that Maggie was disappointed that Doyle didn't have a disfiguring scar. lol.

new_user Me too! So realistic. But I've gotten used to it there! Now you're somebody else! LOL.

Quinn "Sherry Thomas fans will like The Forbidden Rose."


message 16: by AH (new) - added it

AH Sounds very interesting. Must look into this book.
Great review, NU!

message 17: by Catherine (new)

Catherine This one sounds really good, NU! I'm also glad hear that Adrian is finally getting a story.

new_user Quinn, I have a strong feeling you would like it (I hope I'm not wrong, LOL).

AH, I know you read historical romance is probably not your preferred genre, but I feel like this can appeal to a wider romance audience, especially if you're coming from PNR/UF where there's action.

I am really looking forward to Adrian's story (I was about to say Catherine's story, LOL!) I found myself falling in love with a thief/killer. o.O I will look forward to your thoughts on this one.

Michelle I thought the same thing about this book re: Sherry Thomas. I love being validated!

new_user It's a great feeling, isn't it? Love Bourne and Thomas. I'm glad I found them. Now where can I find more? LOL.

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