Carrie's Reviews > Beau Crusoe

Beau Crusoe by Carla Kelly
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's review
Jun 10, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: category-romance, historical, humorous, kindle, read-2011, ptsd, beta-hero
Read on June 09, 2011

Beau Crusoe surprised me by being a serious look at PTSD. James had been shipwrecked on a deserted island for 5 years after being set adrift in a lifeboat with four other men after their ship sank. As the book progresses, the story of what happened to James and the other men is slowly revealed. We do know fairly early on that James is a troubled man, with several idiosyncrasies due to his trauma. There is humor in the book, as well as gentleness, but the book is not a lighthearted historical romance. Susannah makes a wonderful counterpoint to James, and has quiet strength without seeming too perfect.

Carla Kelly's writing is excellent. Her characters have depth and humor, and feel fully formed. I think the pacing of the story falters a little toward the end, perhaps dragging out the final resolution a little longer than need be. The only other quibble I have with the book is Lady Audley. Her part later in the book could have been removed, and with very little rewriting, we could have had the same outcome without her. She is the only cardboard character in the book, and there is little explanation for her actions.
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Reading Progress

50.0% "Very good so far, but surprisingly serious underlying story dealing with "Beau's" recovering from what is essentially PTSD."
06/10/2013 marked as: currently-reading
06/10/2013 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Audrey Carla Kelly rocks! I have this one from the library and will be reading it soon, too. :)

Laura (Kyahgirl) I remember reading this and being surprised at the depth and quality of her handling of the PTSD. I expect that quality from Carla Kelly because her books are always that good, but it surprised me to find it in a Harlequin line of books that sometimes has authors who aren't anywhere near as good. Kelly is a historian first and foremost and that always shines through. I'm a huge fangirl of this author as you might be able to tell LOL.

message 3: by Carrie (last edited Jun 10, 2011 10:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carrie James was such a nuanced character, and Kelly is a master at showing and not telling. Take James' attachment to the crab picture, for example. The reader is shown his attachment in small ways. And there are many other examples in the book. I think in terms of character depth, this is the best I've read of hers so far. I have to admit to being disappointed that she's switched to writing LDS historical romance. Church-goer though I am, nspirational romances aren't my cuppa. I hope she at least occasionally write mainstream romances for the rest of us who enjoy her writing.

Laura (Kyahgirl) I know, I'm a bit disappointed too. But, I guess to be fair, I'd have to check out one of her new ones. For whatever reason, the inspirational romances I've read have left me cold even though I love to be inspired and uplifted and all that :-)

message 5: by Carrie (last edited Jun 10, 2011 12:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carrie I enjoy books written from a religious worldview, even if the worldview isn't mine, but I'm not crazy about "inspirational" books. I've read a few decent ones, but overall I avoid them because too many have a point they are trying the make. If the point the author wants to make is obvious, then you lose me right there. ;-)

But there are great books written from within religious traditions that I've loved. Like Rumer Godden's In This House of Brede. C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien were both influenced by their faith, as was Dorothy Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries). They weren't writing to proselytize, they wrote about the human condition and things like suffering, honor, good, evil, etc. (I'm talking about their fiction only, of course.)

Laura (Kyahgirl) Yes, I see what you're saying.

Oh Carrie, you just made my day by mentioning a book that really influenced me...did you know I wanted to be a nun for YEARS after I read In This House of Brede!?!

I loved that story.

Carrie It's an amazing book, isn't it? I read it twice bout ten years ago and loved it. I wasn't Catholic (conservative Protestant, actually) but I was absolutely fascinated with the descriptions of cloister life. For the first time I my life I understood why people would separate themselves from the world to concentrate on praise and prayer. it might be interesting to add that 5 years ago my husband and I started attending a local Catholic church and are now members. I've always wondered if the book helped soften my heart toward the RCC. ;-) I think it did. I think it helped me see the whole "religious life" as deep and meaningful...and difficult, instead of bewildering.

Kathleen Fine review, Carrie. In fact, everyone who commented here is spot on with their regards for Carla Kelly. I know it intellectually, and have loved all her books, but I could not enjoy this one. It creeped me out too much.

Kathleen And by the way, I would add Lois McMaster Bujold to the list of authors who sneak spiritual messages in without sounding preachy. Love her!

Carrie Thanks Kathleen! And I love Bujold!

Kathleen Yes, I know you do. Your reviews got me started on the Vorkosigan series. Read them all now. :-)

Carrie Kathleen wrote: "Yes, I know you do. Your reviews got me started on the Vorkosigan series. Read them all now. :-)"

Well you're ahead of me now! I haven't read one in a while. Maybe next!

message 13: by Kathleen (last edited Jun 10, 2013 08:34PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kathleen I liked them all. Memory, where Simon Illyan almost dies from a malfunctioning memory chip, is one of her finest.

Carrie Kathleen wrote: "I liked them all. Memory, where Simon Illyan almost dies from a malfunctioning memory chip, is one of her finest."

Definitely have to get back to that series!!

Kathleen Yup!

message 16: by Christy (new)

Christy Carrie, Memory was one of my absolute favorites of that so-wonderful series. All of them were good, but a few went beyond into something truly extraordinary. For me, Barryar and Memory were those books.

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