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Libertine's Kiss

(Rakes and Rogues of the Restoration #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  712 ratings  ·  115 reviews
In Libertine's Kiss, award winning author Judith James tells an epic tale of promises made and broken, and love lost and found. “Every once in a great while, there are books I love to the point of wanting everybody I know to go out and buy a copy. Libertine’s Kiss is one of those rare books. This angsty historical is heartrendingly beautiful, featuring beautiful language a ...more
Paperback, 375 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Hqn (first published January 1st 2010)
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  712 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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SueBee★bring me an alpha!★

★★★★★! Libertine Kiss (stand-alone). Epic love story with a witty, flamboyant, charismatic, unreachable, beyond handsome playboy hero inspired by the legendary John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester.

“You are too winsome to resist, too innocent to keep, and far too delightful to easily let go”

Libertine’s Kiss is a stand-alone, book 1 in the English Restoration series. Each book has its own H/h, who will reappear in future books.

This is a Restoration period saga about William and Lizzy spanning 1645
3 to 3.5 stars. Huh. I sat on about 73% for a few days, wondering what else could happen in the story, because it seemed as if the H and h were finally making a go of it. But the kindle edition suddenly finished at about 75% and the 'rest' of the book was pretty much samplers from the other books in this trilogy. LOL. I would have finished this last week if I knew I was so near the end.

Well, an enjoyable but not totally satisfying read. I love this time period and setting, and would like to read
Emery Lee
May 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Having read more than a few Harlequin Historicals in my time, I thought I knew what to expect when I opened this book. I could not have been more mistaken! The sumptuous detail of the setting, the impeccable research on the historical characters, the poetry, and the sizzling eroticism took me completely by surprise.

The main protagonist in LIBERTINE'S KISS, William De Veres, is closely modeled after the real life John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. Courtier, playwright, and poet, he was one of the f
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this book.

On one hand, I LOVED Lizzie and William. They are really great characters, especially William. I could almost see them in my mind. I think William's wild "sexecapades" bothered some readers, but I give Judith James a lot of credit for writing William to be the rake that he was. It would be just unnatural if all of a sudden William promised to be faithful. Sometimes our hearts already know what we want, but our minds don't. Then you end up saying things you
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Sue for the recommendation.
I'll attempt a real review when I'm not on a plane, flying halfway across the country.
Mary B.
Excellent read. A solid 4 stars. I got completely immersed, and it kept my rapt attention from beginning to end. It was the kind of book I read every free moment I could.

Firstly, I would like to say that Broken Wing by this author is one of my top favorite romance novels. And this book definitely had some of the things I love about Judith James' books - an eloquent and flowing writing style, and her ability to convey very deep emotions through the use of dialogue and the description of physical
While not my favorite time to read in romance history this was a good book. Elizabeth and William met as children and quickly became good friends. Elizabeth knew that there were issues as William's home, but never knew the truth until years later. As he goes off to school, he promises Lizzy that he will be back for her. But as Lizzy is eventually married off to a horrible man, she soon looses hope that she will ever see her friend again. But one night a wounded man stumbles to her door and it is ...more
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
5 Stars!
"You are too winsome to resist, too innocent to keep, and far too delightful to easily let go"
Sarah Z
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. Such a perfect blend of romance and history. I was torn between 4 and 5 stars and am deciding to round up for now. The book has a few issues (what book doesn't really?), but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It felt fresh to me. I was getting tired of the same old, boring plot lines. Although, there is sort of the ugly duckling becoming a swam trope, but it's one of my faves! And the characters.. they truly leapt off the page. William and Lizzie are such memorable leads and William is especial ...more
Jun 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever read a book that affected you so deeply, when another book by the same author comes out you are afraid to read it? You’re afraid that the book couldn’t possibly come close to the previous book?

This was the case with Judith James’s Libertine’s Kiss. I was so blown away when I read Broken Wing, I was almost afraid to read Libertine’s Kiss. After just holding it for a number of days though I figured I’d better start reading
Word – I loved it, absolutely loved it. The book starts out wi
Ashlyn Macnamara
May 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
In twenty-first century terms, William de Veres would probably be labeled an alcoholic and a sex addict. Fortunately for him, he inhabits the seventeenth century where he is known to Charles II's court as a libertine. In Libertine's Kiss, Judith James has turned him into a romance hero.

And damn, if she doesn't make it work.

Deep inside, William is actually a romantic, idealistic man, but he hides it beneath a veneer of cynicism. He shows his true self to only one person, Elizabeth Walters. As chi
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I reviewed this novel for my blog

I truly thought that Judith James could not write a better book than her "BROKEN WING" one, but I was so wrong. This is one of those books, that you CAN NOT put down and then do something else. A reader is compelled to finish it in one heart renching swoop...unless this particular reader is so darn lucky to have her husband point to a TV screen and catch an IFC movie with Johnny Depp as he plays "THE LIBERTINE" ([...])! So, I p
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by C.M. Lessard for Romance Novel News

Friends from childhood, Puritan Elizabeth Walters, and William de Veres, a cavalier and notorious libertine are now on opposite sides of the English Civil War.

After years of separation, an injured William shows up on Elizabeth’s doorstep but he does not recognize her. She treats his wounds and they engage in an unforgettable night of passion. In the morning he leaves - without asking her name.

Because of William’s allegiance to the exiled King Ch
2.5 stars. I am not a fan of Judith James writing style. I don't see the wonderful prose that many other readers see. The dialogue between her characters does not seem authentic. It seems rushed and forced. Maybe I could have bypassed her writing style if the heroine was as fascinating as the hero, but he out shined her by a mile. It's too bad that the heroine wasn't worthy of the match with the hero because his personality was fascinating. The book is worth the read for the hero alone. He remin ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just fantastic. Rich in historical details, with an intelligent heroine and a charming but tormented hero. The supporting characters (who include King Charles II and others in the Restoration court) are well-written, too. I got very invested in the love story and had a hard time putting the book down.

This one is definitely going on my "best of" list for books read in 2017.
Mar 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Broken Wing by Judith James was one of my favorite reads in 2010. When I saw Libertine’s Kiss on Netgalley I was ecstatic! Broken Wing was an intense, emotional read and I was eager to try something else by Ms. James. While Libertine’s Kiss is not quite up to Broken Wing’s intensity, it still tackles serious subjects and delivers a satisfyingly sensual tale.

William and Elizabeth shared a brief but intense friendship as youngsters before William was shipped off to school, promising to return. Yea
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review also appears on my blog at http://www.thegoldenruleof666.blogspo...

Libertine's Kiss was not what I expected it to be. But in a good way. It was a pleasant surprise.

The story idea itself is interesting to me. I find a lot of Regency and Medieval romances, but the Restoration period is less covered within the genre. So, this book already had a unique point to get me interested. Then, though it doesn't mention it in the summary, we have a "best-friends to lovers" story, which I absolute
Jul 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a very sensual story involving two people trying to turn fantasy into reality. Ever since they were children, Elizabeth Walters and William de Veres have lived their lives fighting battles and slaying dragons, some real and some imaginary. With her Puritanical upbringing, Elizabeth was set to always be a victim. From those who condemned her religious beliefs to an abusive husband, she was persecuted. The only person to teach her strength was William de Veres. As children he told her fair ...more
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
On the eve of civil war in England, young William De Veres meets a neighboring girl, Elizabeth Walters.
War separates them. Elizabeth is forced to marry a puritan she doesn't want. Years later they meet again
but William doesn't recognize her. More years pass when Williams comes across her at the court of Charles I vainly trying to petition for her lands back. This time he recognizes her at once and they take off where they left off except --- molested by a childhood tutor, William has carried his
Aly is so frigging bored
I loved this book! It was very well written, had engaging characters and the history was, most of it anyway, accurate. Judith James is a wonderful author and I can't wait for the next book she writes :)

"I will start by telling you this. I have always known you, even when I didn't, and I am going to know you forever. I have always been with you, and I have always kept you with me, even when I tried to forget I will not go away, even if you send me, and I will see you again even if you say n
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves a real rake's obsession with his childhood sweetheart, falling hard for her later
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luella Osborne
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Widow of the English Civil War, living isolated in the countryside, Elizabeth Walters finds the course of her life altered when she assists handsome Cavalier and enemy-of-the-state, William de Veres. Discovering him wounded and broken on her doorstep, she tends to his injuries and offers his comfort, going as far as to share his bed, consequences be damned! She recognises William as the childhood friend she one loved; although it breaks her heart when he fails to recognise her.

For housin
Regan Walker
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-reads
Another Amazing Historical Romance from James!

I have become a huge fan of Judith James whose romances show careful attention to historical details, a wit and originality in dialog--and always promise an enthralling tale. I just don't get the low reviews. I can't see them at all. James is a psychologist (among her other occupations from the past) and her characters are complex, the men have troubled pasts and the women are made strong by difficult circumstances. Generally the women save the men a
Caroline The HEA Lover
Jun 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
(This was originally posted on Book Lovers,Inc)

This books is set during a period of history that I didn’t know much about, the Civil War and the Restoration. I started reading Libertine’s Kiss and I just couldn’t stop. I am now fascinated by this period and by the reign of Charles II. I think Judith James’ writing might have something to do with that *wink*. I love her style! I already loved Broken Wing (My review here) but now after reading Libertine’s Kiss she’s on my Auto-buy list!

The hero Wi
May 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Set in England during turbulent times - from Cromwell's bloody reign through the return of King Charles II - Libertine's Kiss captures the political uncertainty and violence of the period and places each romantic lead firmly in different camps.

The story begins with William de Veres, a loyal subject of Charles Stuart, who has entered England to raise funds for the Stuart's return. With the royal funds practically depleted, de Veres has to resort to highway robbery and other dangerous methods. As
I love love love love this book!

I think the best way to describe it is "what if the Earl of Rochester was a bit more functional and met the right woman?' As someone fond of Rochester's hilarious poetry, Restoration-era settings, screwed-up protagonists and epic loves, I was all set with this novel.

Elizabeth and William were once childhood best friends, before life and English Civil War separated them for good. Now, it's years later and he is a dissolute poet and a secret agent for the soon-to-b
Victoria Vane
May 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Having read more than a few Harlequin Historicals in my time, I thought I knew what to expect when I opened this book. I could not have been more mistaken! The sumptuous detail of the setting, the impeccable research on the historical characters, the poetry, and the sizzling eroticism took me completely by surprise.

The main protagonist in LIBERTINE'S KISS, William De Veres, is closely modeled after the real life John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. Courtier, playwright, and poet, he was one of the f
Barb in Maryland
It was nice to read a historical romance set in England that wasn't set during the Regency. James did a very good job with her Restoration court setting. The Cromwells are gone and King Charles II now sits on the throne. Known by some as the Merry Monarch, his court is a font of licentious behavior and William de Veres, Lord Rivers, is its poet laureate and leading libertine.
And to this court comes Elizabeth Walters, hoping to have her lands restored to her. Our Elizabeth is also the childhood s
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For a historical romance I thought it was quite good. The characters were well defined and as usual opposites attracted.

I did like the poetry in the book. My favorite was this short poem; "Without thy light what light remains in me? Thou art my life; my way, my light's in thee. I live, I move, and by thy beams I see."

The book is loosely based on John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, Court poet to King Charles II.
All the flower-y poetry was going right over my head so I feel like I'm missing things.
I usually like the funny, laid back heroes but this one was cynical-funny so that got a little old after a while.
I got half-way but I'm not gonna go back to it cuz I wasn't enjoying the storyline much.
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Judith James, is an avid reader and history buff who grew up in Montreal Quebec. She is also a bit of an adventure junkie and has travelled, worked and lived many places, including the Arctic and several of the places she writes about. Variously employed as a trail guide, horse trainer, and clinical psychologist, she's had the opportunity to live out many of her dreams. She’s even found the perfec ...more

Other books in the series

Rakes and Rogues of the Restoration (3 books)
  • Soldier of Fortune (Rakes and Rogues of the Restoration, #2 )
  • The Highwayman (Rakes and Rogues of the Restoration, #3)
“He spoke to her, though, if only through his verse. One night in the banqueting hall, just before a ball, he responded to requests for a verse by raising his glass high. Though he spoke to them all his eyes were on her.

"Tis not that I am weary grown
Of being yours, and yours alone,
But with what face can I incline
To damn you to be only mine?"

She walked out before she heard the rest.”
“He groaned and leaned his forehead against hers, “You drive me mad, Elizabeth. I dream I am holding you every night. I wake in a sweat, aching and disappointed. Dreams of you have replaced my nightmares, but they leave me empty and restless and my body on fire. I can't even remember why we argued. I don't care how things went wrong.” 2 likes
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