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Posts Tagged ‘Strong Heroine’

(Sons of Sin, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A REPUTATION AT RISK

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.

The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins . . .

♥♥♥♥♥♥

THIS IS HISTORICAL ROMANCE AT ITS BEST!

WHAT A DUKE DARES is the third book in the marvellous ‘Sons of Sin’ series and, once again, Anna Campbell delivers an emotive, romantic and passionate love story.

How I imagine Cam….

When Camden (Cam) Rothermere, heir to a dukedom, proposes to his childhood friend, Penelope Thorne, he can’t believe his ears when she turns him down. Even his declaration that he esteems and admires her and enjoys her company does nothing to persuade her to change her mind. She refuses to marry for anything but love. Cam has seen first-hand the devastating effect love had on his parents:

“As a result of love, my father descended into cruelty and obsession and my mother became a byword for promiscuity.”

and it has no place in his life now or ever.

How I imagine Pen

Penelope (Pen) Thorne has loved her childhood friend, Camden Rothermere for as long as she can remember and, when he proposes, it should be the happiest day of her life…a girlish fantasy come true. The reality is very different because she knows that Cam can never give her the one thing she desires…his heart. If he truly loved her, she’d even be willing to curb her impulsive and headstrong ways to become the wife he needs…someone dignified and above reproach…someone to help him restore respectability to the scandal-ridden Rothermere name.

So they go their separate ways.

In the intervening nine years, Cam is now the powerful Duke of Sedgemoor, renowned for his cold demeanour, self-assurance and his iron control, devoting his life to restoring the family’s good name. Pen had fled England to travel the continent with her eccentric aunt and Cam was well aware of all her amorous intrigues over the years.

When he receives an urgent summons from his friend, Pen’s brother, Peter, Cam travels to Calais to find his friend with very little time to live and fearful for his sister’s safety. Cam is honour bound to fulfil the dying Peter’s request that Cam find her and bring her home to England.

Ms Campbell took me on an enthralling and emotional roller-coaster of a journey before Cam and Pen finally attain their hard-earned Happy Ever After. I enjoyed every moment…the antagonism and the simmering sexual tension; the temptation and the heady passion; the stark danger and the anguish; the scandal and the poignant emotions, the betrayal and the heartbreak; the tenderness and the enduring love.

I enjoyed the secondary romance between Pen’s brother, Harry and Sophie, the sister of Cam’s enemy, James Fairbrother, Marquess of Leath. Their sweet, tender romance forms a contrast to the hot, passionate one between Cam and Pen. It also precipitates events that cause Cam to finally admit his love for Pen.

The Marquess of Leath obviously loves his sister very much which was a point in his favour and, once he and Cam had settled their differences, I liked him even more. I look forward to reading his story in the next book in the series.

Jonas and Sidonie (Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed) and Richard and Genevieve (A Rake’s Midnight Kiss) all make an appearance and I love the banter between Cam, Richard and Jonas.

Call me a sentimental old fool but I love a good Epilogue and Ms Campbell made me go all misty-eyed when Cam gives Pen her special Christmas present.

Some Memorable Moments

“What in heaven’s name brought you to choose this hovel?”

One slender hand brushed her tumble of hair back from her face. To his dismay, he saw she was shaking.

“Try the weather.” Her tone was sharper than his sword. “I know you could barge through an avalanche without creasing your neckcloth, but we lesser mortals must seek shelter when snow blocks the roads.”

♥♥♥

For a second that extended into eternity, they regarded one another. He should leave. He had no right to absorb every glorious, forbidden detail and imprint it on his mind to remember forever.

♥♥♥

He’d burned to wrench his wife from her chair and muss her neat perfection. Then fling her across the polished table and do things likely to make the butler resign.

♥♥♥

“ Anyway, you know that even if you were off your head with opium or inclined to slobber into your dinner, chits would still line up for the duchess’s coronet.”

♥♥♥

THIS IS CLASSIC ANNA CAMPBELL – COMPELLING, EMOTIVE, ROMANTIC AND SENSUAL!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT!

 

My sincere thanks to Anna Campbell for sending me a complimentary copy of this book  in return for an honest review.

The Sons of Sin series so far (click the covers for more details):

Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed (Sons of Sin, #1) by Anna Campbell A Rake's Midnight Kiss (Sons of Sin, #2) by Anna Campbell What a Duke Dares (Sons of Sin, #3) by Anna Campbell

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(Mad Passions, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor……

Lady Margaret Cassidy left a life of nobility behind in Ireland, forsaking her grieving homeland to aid war-ravaged men in England. Still, she never expected a cruel turn of fate to lock her into an unwanted betrothal with one of her English patients—much less one as broken and dangerous as Viscount Powers.

Wrecked by his tragic past, Powers’ opiate-addled sanity hangs precariously in the balance, leaving him poised to destroy anyone who dares to utter the names of the wife and child he still so deeply mourns. So when he is forced to marry Margaret in exchange for freedom, he is shocked by the desire to earn her trust, her body, and—most alarming of all—her heart….

♥♥♥♥♥♥

**5 Dark, Compelling Stars**

Each time I read a Maire Claremont book, I find myself totally immersed in the compelling world she creates and her fascinating, flawed characters.

How I imagine James…

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“You’ve forsaken yourself and the man I know you to be.”

In Lady in Red, James was a secondary character just begging to have his own story. He was crude, dripped sarcasm and was addicted to opium. I knew his story was going to be an emotionally powerful one and I wasn’t disappointed.

Ms Claremont writes with such depth that I shared all James’s emotions as if they were my own. I felt his gut-wrenching pain at the loss of his wife and daughter…

His heart split, and grief spilled from him in wave after unrelenting, punishing wave.

and experienced the harrowing effects of his drug addiction…

Unease gripped his gut. He’d never experienced anything like this and was heading out into the wilds, no compass, no map, and no provisions.

At times, the realism was almost unbearable but it was what kept me turning the pages because I longed to see this broken man find himself again.

How I imagine Margaret…

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Everything about this world had taught her how important it was to take the correct path, to live rightly, and to never allow one’s self to be ruled by emotion.

James needs a special kind of heroine and Margaret is just what he needs… calm, unafraid and determined.

That careful gaze probed him without mercy . Pushing against his barriers, determined to breach him.

Margaret has had her share of pain as she watched the suffering caused by the famine in Ireland and the devastating emotional affect it had on her parents and her brother. She has built a thick armour around her heart because the only way to help those who need her, is to remain emotionally detached.

It was such a heart-rending, poignant, dramatic and passionate journey for these two, but ultimately seeing James finally emerging from the darkness and learning how to love again and Margaret opening her heart to him was so rewarding.

That oh so glorious smile of hers lit up the ballroom in a way that candles simply could not. It lit up his soul.

I didn’t know what to think about the Earl of Carlyle, James’s father. At first, it seemed that the only reason he wanted Margaret to help James might be because he was the Earl’s only son and heir and the line was in danger of dying out. It soon became clear that he genuinely loved James and would do anything to help him. There had been discord between them over the years because of the tragic events of the past but it was wonderful to see them finally reconciled. That scene really brought a tear to my eye.

Once again, Ms Claremont pushes the boundaries of traditional historical romance with this compelling and intensely emotional story. A must read!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read April 2014

The Mad Passions series (click on the book cover for more details):

The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1) by Maire Claremont Lady in Red (Mad Passions, #2) by Maire Claremont A Lady Undone (Mad Passions, #2.5) by Maire Claremont The Dark Affair (Mad Passions, #3) by Maire Claremont

 

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(Mad Passions, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor…

Lady Mary Darrel should be the envy of London. Instead, all society believes her dead. For Mary holds a secret so dangerous, her father chose to keep her locked away…and have a grave made for her near her mother’s. Driven to the edge of desperation, Mary manages to escape the asylum, only to find that her fate yet again rests in the hands of a man…

Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, longs for some way to escape the torment of his father’s crimes. In Mary’s warrior spirit and haunted gaze—which so mirrors his own—he finally sees his path to redemption. He will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even as she seeks revenge. But will the passion they discover in each other be enough to save them from their demons?

(Although this is the second book in the series, it can be read as a standalone)

♥♥♥♥♥♥

**5 Spellbinding Stars**

I was totally gripped by this intense, angsty and dramatic story.  Once again, Máire Claremont explores the darker side of Victorian London with graphic realism. 

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Mary left such a deep impression on me in The Dark Lady. She had selflessly protected her friend, Eva, from the worst of the horrors of the asylum and, when the two of them escaped, Mary’s fate was left in the balance.  I was desperate to know what happened to her.

Condemned to the asylum by her own father, Mary suffered unspeakable abuse during those three years incarcerated in that hellish place. But, somehow, she retained the strength and will to survive and make her escape, determined never to return.

Edward has demons of his own to conquer. He has never been able to escape the guilt he feels because he did nothing to save a young woman from his evil father’s clutches. He is desperately looking for some sort of purpose to his life and his greatest fear is becoming just like his father.

Sharing Edward and Mary’s story is a powerful and emotional journey.  Ms Claremont writes with such depth that I shared every moment of that journey until they finally discover that only their love can truly set them free.

Her very presence held him with a force that knocked the air out of his lungs.

 ♥♥♥

She stood in the same  spot for several moments, gasping. His very presence had changed how her body felt. She no longer felt battered or afraid. She felt strong and alive. How had he done that?

♥♥♥

“No matter what you do, no matter what you say, I shall always be in awe of your perfect vulnerability, your perfect imperfect soul.”

♥♥♥

“I am still among the ashes. I have not yet flown.”

He lowered his head toward her in careful, slow stages. “But you will.”

♥♥♥

Tears stung Mary’s eyes and she eased toward his naked body, burrowing close. As he curved his arm about her, tucking her to his chest, she did feel safe. Safer than she had felt in her lifetime.

♥♥♥

“Together then. We shall be whole.”

“Yes,” she said with an assurance it never could be gainsaid. “You are my other half as I am yours.”

♥♥♥

I love Edward’s friend, Viscount Powers…so sarcastic, dark and enigmatic and so full of pain. I just know his story is going to be just as compelling and I can’t wait to delve into The Dark Affair.

Ms Claremont doesn’t shy away from scenes that are often harrowing and brutal but I was riveted to the pages desperate to know what happened.

If you enjoy a dark, intense romance with an original and suspenseful plot and unforgettable characters, then you will definitely enjoy LADY IN RED.

REVIEW RATING:  5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read April 2014

 

The Mad Passions series (click on the book cover for more details):

The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1) Lady in Red (Mad Passions, #2) A Lady Undone (Mad Passions, #2.5) The Dark Affair (Mad Passions, #3)

 

 

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(Jaded Gentlemen, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

Like all the Jaded Gentlemen, Dr. Rowan West may have his secrets, but he’s done his best to forgive the ghosts of his past and move on with his life. Until the beautiful Miss Gayle Renshaw appears on his doorstep, jeopardizing his medical practice, his reputation, and, worst of all, his heart.

In her desperation to become a doctor, Gayle uses what she knows of Rowan’s fiancée’s mysterious death to blackmail him into taking her on as an apprentice. With his back against the wall, Rowan agrees, but quickly discovers that Gayle isn’t as heartless as she seems. Captivated by his tenacious and brilliant new student, Rowan finds himself surrendering to temptation, just as the enemies of the Jaded start to encroach. Now, with both their lives threatened, Rowan may be forced to give up the woman he loves to save her life…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is the third book in the brilliant Jaded Gentlemen series. Once again, Ms Bernard pens an enthralling, original and passionate love story and the world of Victorian medicine forms a fascinating and refreshingly different setting.

Rowan, with his inherent kindness and compassion, makes a great hero. He has an enquiring mind and, is willing to embrace new ideas in medicine whilst others are firmly entrenched in traditional thinking. He truly cares about his patients and treats them all with respect regardless of their social status. He even treats his staff more like family than employees.

“I strive for balance in my profession. And while some may see the populace as fodder for their laboratories, I refuse to ignore a person’s humanity so that I can feel secure and important.”

Gayle is an unconventional heroine. Although her desire to become a doctor flies in the face of Victorian convention, she is fiercely determined to succeed. Even when Rowan attempts to work her so hard that she would ‘quit after a fortnight of training and limp from the house with her baggage’, although exhausted, she refuses to be beaten and I couldn’t help but admire her resilience.

He’d pushed her harder than any apprentice had ever been pressed, and she’d simply borne it with a grace that often left him speechless.

I love how their romance grows through their love of medicine. It allows each of them to recognise their misconceptions about each other. At first, Rowan sees Gayle as nothing more than ‘a vicious little thing’ willing to destroy his reputation to achieve her aims but, as he comes to understand her, everything changes.

And there he was- inspired by her intense hope and wishing he could shield her from the worst to come and give her whatever she needed to make her dreams come true.

Gayle believes Rowan to be the ‘vile man’ who was responsible for her cousin Charlotte’s death and has no qualms about using a little blackmail to persuade him to take her on as his apprentice. As she watches him with his patients and his staff, she comes to see a very different man.

But the more I know of him, the more I wish to be near him. The way he respects his household staff and the way he spoke to his patients today – my father always said it was how a gentleman treats the common man that betrays the most about his character.

Some of the other Jaded Gentlemen make a welcome appearance and I loved the witty banter between Ashe and Michael. No wonder Gayle is charmed by them! The suspense sub-plot adds substance without overshadowing the romance and, although I didn’t find it difficult to guess the identity of the villain in this particular story, there is still the continuing mystery of who is ultimately threatening the Jaded.

Ms Bernard’s has such a beautiful writing style. It is romantic, sensual and emotional with lovely touches of humour. Here are some of my favourite moments.

He watched her ascend the stairs, as graceful as a duchess despite the awkward load she carried, and marvelled that anyone could be that beautiful and still make a man dedicated to healing consider poisoning her poached eggs in the morning.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

And there it was – that bright, fierce light in her eyes that made him want to kiss her senseless or just laugh and waltz her around the room. Her dreams were spinning out in her head, and he could almost see them, they were vibrant and powerful.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

She was pure innocence and pure passion – the duality of perception and reality collided and a new lesson was initiated, but Rowan knew that he was likely the student.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

“Just one last check for any glass slivers that may have strayed to your stockings.”
  “Oh!” His touch was efficient and feather soft, but the miasma of fire and delight that spread up her limbs to form a molten pool between her hips was intoxicating. Her knees turned to rubber, and she bit the inside of her cheek to stare at the ceiling as a thousand wicked thoughts nearly overcame her. The slay of warm fingers were telegraphing electric sweet storms all over her body, and she wasn’t sure she could survive another pass of his hands without betraying herself with a moan or a sigh.

ECSTASY WEARS EMERALDS is another wonderful addition to what is becoming a highly addictive series.


REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read March 2014

The JADED GENTLEMEN series (click the cover for more details):

Revenge Wears Rubies (Jaded Gentleman, #1) Seduction Wears Sapphires (Jaded Gentleman, #2) Ecstasy Wears Emeralds (Jaded Gentleman, #3) Passion Wears Pearls (Jaded Gentleman, #4) Obsession Wears Opals (Jaded Gentleman, #5) Desire Wears Diamonds (Jaded Gentleman, #6)

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(Wicked Widows, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

Even in London society—where everyone knows what you did last season—you never know who’s next in line to walk down the aisle, in Why Dukes Say I Do

TRUE LOVE IS OFTEN FOUND

With her whirlwind social life in London, Lady Isabella Wharton has little interest in the customs of the country. But when her godmother asks her to pay a visit to her bachelor grandson in Yorkshire, Isabella can’t refuse. It behooves her to please the old dowager, since she harbors one of Isabella’s most scandalous secrets. So off she goes to see the newly-titled—and notoriously rustic—Duke of Ormond…

WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT IT

Trevor Carey doesn’t care about what goes on behind ballroom doors. He is content with the simple life—and isn’t ashamed to admit it to a society flirt like Lady Isabella. But the country air brings out a different side of Isabella—one full of longing and passion. Can her sophistication be hiding a desire for love? When a blackmailer from the city arrives to threaten Isabella, Trevor will shield her from harm—even travel to London. Can the duke tackle the ton on Isabella’s behalf …and manage to keep her all to himself?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I enjoyed this book with its intriguing story (inspired by the movie I Know What You Did Last Summer), engaging characters, passion and romance.

WHY DUKES SAY I DO is the first book in Manda Collins’s new series, Wicked Widows, which centres around sisters, Isabella and Perdita and their friend, Georgina… all widows of abusive husbands. They share a terrible secret concerning the death of Perdita’s husband, the Duke of Ormonde, but find themselves blackmailed and threatened by someone who obviously knows that secret.

Trevor reminds me of Alec, the hero of Ms Collins’s How to Romance a Rake. He is honourable, a gentleman and treats everyone with kindness and civility. As one of his tenant’s remarks to Isabella – “a kinder, more dedicated master we could not have asked for.”  His care and concern for others is also seen in the importance he attaches to his duties as magistrate and how protective he is towards Isabella when he finds out about the threatening letters.

I understand his determination not to take up his role as the Duke of Ormonde. He holds no love for the Ormonde family who turned their back on his father who chose to marry for love rather than wealth.

He clearly loves his sisters but tends to be overprotective… a trait which I am sure is shared by a lot of older brothers. It is hard for him to accept that the seventeen year old Eleanor is now a young lady as Isabella points out.

“She isn’t so much older than Belinda,” he said defensively.
“There is a vast ocean of difference between thirteen and seventeen,” Isabella said. “And well you know it. You simply wish there were not. It won’t be long before she has beaux. I wouldn’t be surprised if she weren’t already smitten with some country swain.” He gulped down his brandy at the thought.
“You don’t think…” He glanced warily at Isabella.

I thought it was amusing that he was horrified by the fact that Eleanor may have a beau.

I admire Isabella…her strength, resilience and courage. She went through a soul-destroying, abusive marriage but has lost none of that indomitable spirit. Her selfless love for her sister and her need to ensure Perdita’s future happiness, above all else, made me like her even more.

Her interactions with Trevor’s sisters, Eleanor and Belinda, show the genuine affection she has for them. She also recognises how ill-equipped they are to take their place in society as the sisters of a duke and desperately need her guidance.

…there was something familiar about these two sisters, something that made Isabella want to shield them from the hurts and embarrassments that awaited them in the world outside their little village.

I particularly love the scene where Isabella loans Eleanor a gown …… Eleanor’s reactions and excitement are contagious.

I found the romance between Isabella and Trevor perfectly paced. They both start out with preconceived ideas about each other. Isabella has been preconditioned by the Dowager Duchess to expect some kind of stuffy, country yokel living a rustic existence while Trevor initially believes Isabella to be nothing more than a frivolous society lady. It is both amusing and delightful watching their preconceived notions slowly shattered allowing them to move from physical attraction to falling in love.

He’d expected Isabella to be incapable of conversing about anything but the latest on-dit, but she had proved knowledgeable on a variety of topics, including, to his great surprise, the glamorous world of crop rotation. She’d explained it away, saying that her father had been fond of agricultural talk despite making his home in London. She had, she said, absorbed the information over the course of many years listening to him drone on about it.

…to her surprise and admiration, Ormonde not only knew everyone’s names, but he also was able to ask after their siblings and parents and children and grandchildren and in some cases great-grandchildren, with an easy manner that indicated he had been doing so for years. He clearly cared for their welfare beyond just ensuring that they were able to produce a good crop yield. He cared about them as people.

The secondary characters add depth to the story. I was charmed by Trevor’s sisters, Eleanor and Belinda with their delightful banter and I love the humour Trevor’s friend and neighbour, Sir Lucien Blakemore, brings to the story:

“I took Lady Wharton and my sisters into York yesterday to go dress shopping.”
Blakemore blanched. 
“Ye gods, no wonder you’re livid. A shopping trip could make any man go mad.”

I like how Ms Collins intersperses social comments throughout the story and highlights the often harsh realities of being a woman during this era.

It wasn’t hard to figure out the identity of the person sending Isabella the threatening letters, but the action was still dramatic enough to keep me turning the pages. There is a cliff-hanger because the villainous mastermind behind the threats is still at large and the mystery surrounding his identity is set to continue throughout the series.

Overall this was an enjoyable start to Ms Collin’s new series with just the right amount of romance and mystery. I will definitely be reading the next book, Why Earls Fall in Love, which is Georgina’s story.

REVIEW  RATING: 4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read February 2014

The Wicked Widows series (click on covers for more details):

Why Dukes Say I Do (Wicked Widows, #1) Why Earls Fall in Love (Wicked Widows, #2) Why Lords Lose Their Hearts (Wicked Widows, #3)– 29 July 2014

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(Fiery Tales #3)

Genre: Erotic Historical Romance (17th century)

Official Blurb

Inspired by the tale of Cinderella, Lila DiPasqua weaves a steamy historical romance that offers a glass slipper, a dangerous deception, and an impoverished beauty determined to find her handsome prince…and make him pay.

Born into wealth, Sabine Laurent and her twin sister lived a life of luxury, their father’s prestigious theater frequented by royalty and aristocracy alike. And Sabine dreamed of her own prince charming—the devastatingly handsome Jules de Moutier.

That was before the loss of her sister and her family’s fall from grace—a disaster Sabine blames on the Moutier family. Now, with her father’s death, she’s inherited his sizable debt and the responsibility of caring for his spoiled long-time mistress and her two wastrel daughters. But with the help of Sabine’s eccentric friends—the balance of her father’s acting troupe—she plans to get very close to her old infatuation, seduce the rake—and make away with a fortune.

Resisting Jules’s skillful mouth and tantalizing touch is not as easy as Sabine supposed. And soon she must decide whether her desire for vengeance is greater than her desire for her one and only prince…
★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★

**5 Smouldering Stars**

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I loved A MIDNIGHT DANCE!  What a fiery, passionate cocktail from the doyenne of lush sensuality, Lila DiPasqua.

I like Sabine…intelligent, brave and fiercely loyal to her remaining family and her little group of theatrical friends.  I really felt her grief and pain for all she had lost…

Each day she went through the motions of living, unable to mourn her sister. Simply surviving, more dead than alive. She’d forgotten how to feel. She didn’t even want to.

I enjoyed seeing her outwit Jules who underestimated the resourcefulness and cunning of his ‘silver-eyed forest fairy” on more than one occasion.

Jules is desperate to restore his family honour, reclaim his life and take revenge on those responsible for stealing his birth right. You can sense the anger and bitterness he feels having to resort to privateering when he was once a respected officer in the King’s navy. I like how Ms DiPasqua develops Jules’s character from an arrogant noble who cares little for the lower classes and their suffering to a man who understands their grievances. He also has to come to terms with the hard truth about his father.

The chemistry between these two positively sizzles and I love Sabine’s attempts to convince Jules that she is experienced…

In as sultry a whisper as she could muster, she said, “I am well worth your time when I am . . . fully inspired.”

I like how Ms DiPasqua reveals how much alike Sabine and Jules are…both have lost a part of themselves because of the tragedy that had befallen their families and, through their mutual love, they help each other rediscover their true selves.

What can I say about the love scenes? HOLY SMOKE! HOT! HOT! HOT!  I felt sure my iPad was going to melt! But the scenes are not just about titillation, they also reveal so much of Sabine and Jules’s conflicting emotions and vulnerabilities:

A soft alarming emotion whispered through her. A voice told her this felt right. Panicked, she suddenly needed— wanted— the physical pain to distract and distance herself from the intimacy, from the tender feelings welling inside her.

The little fraud had awakened not only his body, with the stunning passion that burned between them— but also his spirit. She’d actually drawn out his former self, dissolving his anger and bitterness with her wit, her smiles.

The secondary characters add vibrancy and depth to the story. I love Sabine’s eccentric theatrical friends and the scene at the inn, where they put their theatrical skills to good use, was funny; her cousins, Gerard and Robert, whose concern for Sabine is so touching; Robert, Jules’s second-in-command, who isn’t afraid to speak his mind.

“M-May I be frank again, my lord?”
“Well, of course, Raymond,” he responded tightly. “There seems to be no stopping you tonight.”

The story is full of action, drama and intrigue with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing and a truly diabolical villain.

Filled with fascinating characters, sizzling love scenes, plot twists and a passionate romance, A MIDNIGHT DANCE is Lila DiPasqua at her best.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read November 2013

Fiery Tales series to date (click cover for more information):

Awakened by a Kiss (Fiery Tales, #1) The Princess in His Bed (Fiery Tales, #2) A Midnight Dance (Fiery Tales, #3) Undone (Fiery Tales, #4) The Duke's Match Girl - A Fiery Tale Novella (Fiery Tales, #4.5) -expected 1 December 2013

 

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(Mad Passions #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Official Blurb

The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor…

Lord Ian Blake has returned from India a broken man. Years ago, he pledged to Lady Eva Carin—his childhood companion and first love—that he would bring her husband back alive. His failure haunts him. But even his jaded soul can’t anticipate the shocking sight of beautiful, independent Eva confined in a madhouse.

Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked.

★✩★✩★✩★


**4.5 ENGROSSING STARS**

I do admire authors who are willing to go beyond the established boundaries of historical romance and Maire Claremont has done just that in her dark, intense, debut novel, THE DARK LADY.

MY THOUGHTS

Ms Claremont’s writing is both evocative…the chilling reality of conditions in the madhouse was so vivid that I felt that I was right there with Ian, experiencing everything he did as he entered that hellish place:

It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the gloom. And as his eyes adjusted, the scent assailed him. Lord, the smell of lye was far preferable to the wretched stench of unwashed human and raw fear permeating the stagnant indoor air.

and emotive…I found myself sharing all the doubts and fears that Eva felt…

“I don’t know myself anymore.” Her slender fingers curled as she lingered, looking out to the street below.
“How do I find myself again?”

I loved the complexity of Eva’s character as she struggles to overcome her laudanum addiction and her overwhelming feelings of grief and guilt, believing her irresponsible actions caused the death of her son, Adam. Her journey isn’t easy but she is stronger than she thinks. Ian is haunted by feelings of guilt over his friend’s death and harbors a terrible secret that makes him believe himself unworthy of Eva’s love. Not only do they have to face their own personal demons but also the malignant forces that are determined to destroy them.  I loved how Ian did everything to protect Eva and prove that she was sane.  These two truly deserved to find happiness.

There are memorable secondary characters:

Eva’s friend, Mary – who selflessly aids Eva to escape…I can’t wait to read her story in Lady in Red.

Ian’s Aunt Elizabeth – kind, perceptive and pragmatic

Ian’s friend, the Earl of Wyndham – a former spy who aides them and provides some much needed humour

Mrs Palmer who runs the madhouse -she repulsed me but, at the same time, intrigued me

Thomas , Eva’s brother-in-law – a creepy loner

The plot has plenty of heart-stopping action, as Ian and Eva keep one step ahead of the villains. The ending is both surprising and heart-warming…a truly hard-won Happy Ever After.

 If you are in the mood for something dark and intense with an original plotline, fascinating characters, suspense, romance and a heart-warming ending, I can definitely recommend this book.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Mad Passions series to date (click on cover or link for more details):

The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1) Lady in Red (Mad Passions, #2) A Lady Undone – 4 Feb 2014 The Dark Affair (Mad Passions, #3) – 4 March 2014

Read November 2013

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