Katie(babs)'s Reviews > The Black Hawk

The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
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Oct 16, 11

Read from October 14 to 16, 2011

The Black Hawk is one of my most anticipated reads this year because the hero, Hawker, aka Adrian Hawkhurst, former thief, master pickpocket from the rookies of St. Giles, Head of the British Intelligence Service in 1818 Post-Napoleonic War England, has made a lasting impression based on the past three books from Joanna Bourne. The one before this, The Forbidden Rose, was a prequel set during the French Revolution, which featured Hawker as a thirteen year old grubby street boy, but one who becomes a spy for England during the French Revolution and then during the Napoleonic Wars. In The Forbidden Rose, Adrian meets his ultimate adversary. She is Justine DeCabrillac, a thirteen year old orphan girl who works for a Madame of a French brothel, but no longer as a whore. At eleven, Justine was forced into prostitution by a man her parents’ trusted (Justine’s parents were killed). Justine escaped and did what she had to do survive in order to protect her four year old sister, Severine. Justine then meets up with Adrian and his mentor, Doyle (This is all explained in The Forbidden Rose, which you must read before The Black Hawk so you can understand who Justine and Adrian are). Justine eventually becomes a French Spy who goes by the Owl.

The Black Hawk begins twenty-five years after Adrian and Justine first meet. France and England are no longer enemies, all through there’s still mistrust on both sides. Justine has come to London and opened her own shop. She’s attacked and stabbed with a poisoned knife. The only one she can trust is Hawker. She passes out in a bloody heap on Adrian’s front steps and he takes her in and cares for her. Justine may be dying and that’s where Adrian thinks back through the decades about his relationship with this daunting and incredible woman he loves.

The story goes back and forth over the years from 1794 France leading up to 1818 London. The moment Adrian meets Justine, he’s smitten. Even though they’re adversaries who eventually become enemies because of their countries, these two help each other out when they’re undercover. Sometimes they don’t see each other for months and even years. Their relationship is a difficult one because they never know if they'll be betrayed or killed. Adrian is so loyal to Justine, it will make your chest clench. Justine is a bit more standoffish because of the cards dealt to her in life. She trusts no one, but allows Adrian into her heart. It’s a very momentous occasion for both of them when Justine asks Adrian to make love to her. Justine is afraid of intimacy because of how she was raped and abused at such a young age. Adrian realizes this and gives Justine back her innocence through his loving touch. From that moment on they become lovers that spans almost three decades. The moment these two are intimate, they don’t stray from one another. They never take another lover, even when they’re separated from one another for long periods of time.

Adrian is so easy to like. He’s adorable, yet intelligent and sneaky. His devotion for Justine is relentless and unbreakable. He’s not afraid to tell Justine how he feels about her. When he and Justine are alone, he wears his heart on his sleeve. His love is enough for the both of them and he never asks her for anything in return. Justine is so stubborn and won’t give an inch because she’s constantly looking over her shoulder, waiting for someone to take her down. Adrian is the only one who can help her get past the horrors she has endured.

The Black Hawk revolves about two mature people both in the mid to late thirties. Adrian and Justine are old before their time. By the time they’re barely in their teens, they’ve seen so many disturbing acts, including those placed on innocent children. Watching these two drift away from one another and then come together again is incredibly emotional.

Joanna’s writing is atmospheric in regards to the setting. You can practically hear Justine’s French accent every time she speaks, especially when she calls Adrian ‘Awker, not Hakwer. There are a few twists and turns, and how Joanna unveils things, including the person trying to kill Justine makes for a great suspenseful thriller. Joanna’s writing is crisp and rich, full of poetically written dialogue and descriptions that has me aching for more.

When a hero like Adrian admits, “there is no one else for me. Never has been,” about his Justine, you’ll become a pile of swoonage in your seat.

I’m in total awe of Joanna Bourne. It doesn’t get any better than this. Adrian and Justine’s journey toward their HEA is one that almost brought me to tears. This is a book I want to have babies with. The Black Hawk is of the best books I read this year by one of the best authors of historical romance of this century.
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Reading Progress

10/15/2011 page 200
60.0% "Hawker, take me! His love for the Owl is endless and all consuming! Swoon."

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Anna (Bobs Her Hair) Love your review! It sounds like a special story. Can't wait to read it. :)


message 2: by Ruth (new) - added it

Ruth Great review. Can't wait to read this one.


Amar Great review and I couldn't agree more with every word esp. with "you'll become a pile of swoonage in your seat'...exactly!


Katie(babs) Amar wrote: "Great review and I couldn't agree more with every word esp. with "you'll become a pile of swoonage in your seat'...exactly!"

swoonage :) This book is full of it.


Kara-karina I'm signing under every word here. Pure poetry.


Alison I read this book, purely on your recommendation, and I was not disappointed. One of my all time favorites- I loved it!


Katie(babs) Alison wrote: "I read this book, purely on your recommendation, and I was not disappointed. One of my all time favorites- I loved it!"

Really? Glad I can recommend great books that people will buy. I have loved every single one of Bourne's book and this was too good for words. How can you not adore a hero who loves a woman for almost 30 years without expecting anything in return! And he never strayed and had sex with any other woman! Swoon.


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