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Archive for the ‘Georgian’ Category

Veiled Passions

Author: Tracy MacNish

Copyright: 2008
Genre: Georgian Venice and London

Series: third in a series
Pages: 352 (but it felt like 500)

Sensuality: PG

Three years ago, Kieran Mullen was a carefree, confident beauty. One fateful night, everything changed, and she became solitary and aloof, reluctant to leave her London home even when her brother, Rogan, insists she accompany him on holiday to Venice. There, amid the wild revelries of Carnivale, Kieran is attacked by a masked villain and rescued by a charismatic stranger who offers her the one thing that might free her from her haunting past: revenge…Matteo de Gama is a study in contradiction – a gambler and a philosopher, a reckless libertine and a most unlikely saviour. When he pulls Kieran from a canal’s watery depths and learns her secrets, he resolves to help her exact justice. But soon he has another mission in mind – to release the unmistakable fire buried beneath her icy beauty, and teach her the bliss that comes with trusting in her own desires, and in their fierce, abiding love…

Content warnings: flashback to a horrific night

Grade: B-

Ramblings: This was a hard one to grade. The lovely prose made this a step above most of the pedestrian stuff offered on the historical romance aisle but other aspects of the writing bogged down the reading for me.

When I first started this, I thought I was really going to like it. It’s Georgian. Yay! Had a heroine with a past. Woo hoo! Revenge! Love! I can eat all that up and come back for seconds. ;-)

The author’s writing had an old skool flava to it. Some might call it lush. Others would call it wordy and flowery. The author also showed a wearying desposition for repetition. It seemed like a page did not go by without a sentence on how the heroine has become “cold” because of what happened. A scene did not go by without a description on how gorgeous either the hero or heroine was at any given moment. I. got. it. The heroine was an icicle. A bloody gorgeous icicle. And Matteo was a bloody gorgeous adonis. Zzzzz.
Combine all this with the plodding pace of the book and it took me twice the time that it normally takes to read a historical romance. And I really had to force myself to finish this book just for closure.

The best parts of the book were the depictions of the hero and the villain. The villain seemed totally evil at the start of the story but I appreciated that he was more nuanced than that. Matteo was delicious. He was a self-made man: a playwright, a libertine, an artist, a musician, and a gambler. He spoke the language of the seducer very well. Example:

He reached out, skimmed her jaw with the back of a single finger. “Know this about me, for you are a lovely girl and you deserve to know who stands in your cabin this evening. Let me tell you what I am capable of: I could make you my mission. I could turn you into the focus of my entire existence, pursue you in a seduction to which you would have no defense. I could seduce you into my life, consume you with my world, and have you willing in my bed. I could possess you. I could play you like the cello, make you feel things you never dreamed possible. I could bring you pleasure beyond your imagining, and in doing so, I would enslave you. You would lick the floor in front of me, if I asked you to. You would do anything for me. And you would be mine, for as long as the affair lasted.”

His eyes changed. They grew distant, regretful. He looked as though he were turned inward, trying to figure out when he’d become this man whom he spoke of with such familiarity. “And when I lost interest in you, I would walk away.”

Unfortunately, the good points could not outweigh the bad for me no matter how much I wanted it to. The delish Matteo was paired up with quite the whiny heroine.  He deserved better.

So did I.

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Crystal Heart (1982)

gregoryAuthor: Lisa Gregory, aka Candace Camp
Setting: Georgian England and pre-American Revolutionary War Boston

Pages: 312

Sensuality: PG

Reason for Reading: been on a Candace Camp mini-glom. Also, I saw this book mentioned in a thread on some board and I just remembered that I had it somewhere on the TBR so it felt like it was meant to be.

Content warnings: rape (the typical 1980s bodice-ripper overcome-by-passion type), adultery (if you wanna get technical) and a conditional HEA

Plot from Amazon.com (it is really, really detailed and spoilery so highlight to read all of it): Charles is not an attractive man, nor a wealthy one. He is in England, just before the Revolutionary War breaks out, trying to get Parliament to listen to reason. He lives a simple life in Boston, but has some money and property and his views and opinions are highly respected.
Thrown into the company of the rich and powerful, he first meets Lady Lettice at a party and is mesmerized by her beauty. Lettice is a vain, beautiful woman trapped in an unhappy marriage, knowing no other way to be, knowing no other way to live her life. She hides her unhappiness beneath a caustic, brittle exterior.
Her handsome, immoral husband lives off his gambling and wits. He has been know to settle gambling debts thru the loan of his wife, upon occasion. And, although she hates it, she’s forced to do it. She and her husband long ago stopped any intimacy between them. He hurts her when she isn’t easily persuaded to do as he wants.
Charles is given Lettice to take “home” one night when her husband cannot pay what he has lost in gambling. Charles is appalled. He takes her, but then, disgusted, sends her away without touching her. She and her husband get into an argument later that night when she refuses to do that any more and, to save herself, strikes him with a hard object as he is strangling her. When she has recovered from nearly passing out, she finds blood everywhere. She believes she has killed him. In a panic, she disguises herself as a boy and runs to Charles, who is in a ship’s cabin for his voyage to America the next morning. From there on, it is the story of her huge adjustment to a simpler way of life, without the luxuries she has always known, and her attempts to change. The backdrop to this is the secrecy of the beginnings of the Revolution, which plays a bigger and bigger role in the plot as it develops.
(end spoilers)

Cover: I couldnt find a single pic of the cover on the internet so I just had to scan it. (Yeah, you can enlarge by clicking it.) Because nothing sez ‘Colonial America’ like a purple bathroom rug and soft focus nekkidness. I can just hear the Bom Chicka Bow Wow in the background as I am lookin at this. Oh baby!

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Sometimes, years of labor and careful planning are no match for the fickle hand of coincidence. Thus, we have the year 1992 when the world was treated to two motion pictures about Christopher Columbus when the world wasnt even interested in even one. Or the Summer of 1997 when two disaster movies came out involving lava: Volcano and Dante’s Peak. Or April, 2007 when I just happen to read THREE* newly released romance novels, all with heroines nicknamed George/Georgie. Today, I will reviewing two of these books.

Lord Sin (2007) by Kalen Hughes

SIX NIGHTS OF PLEASURE . . .

Georgianna Exley’s passionate nature has always been her undoing-and for this reason the beautiful young widow allows her lovers only a single night in her bed. But Ivo Dauntry has come home to England, and for him she’ll break her most sacred rule: granting him six nights of sensual bliss, one for every year he’s given up for her . . .

SIX YEARS TO WAIT . . ..

As a gentleman born, Ivo risked his reputation and his life in a duel to defend Georgianna’s honor. Now, returned from exile, Ivo discovers that she has proved to be less than a lady . . . and soon, his daring seduction becomes a sensual contest of wills. But the long-ago duel that bound them forever has fueled the hatred of a madman determined to make Georgianna pay for her misdeeds with her life, and once again, Ivo must risk everything to save the woman he loves . . .

Grade: C+/DNF (I stopped at Page 198)

Ramblings: To me, the best thing about this book is that Hughes created a very believable Alpha Heroine. George (Georgianna) is a female Corinthian, a crack shot. When her carriage is held up by highwaymen and the villain, she gets her pistol and she routs them all by her lone self. And unlike other worldly widows in half of the historicals I read, who act like virgins as soon as the novel begins (despite whatever ho-ish repuation they have) George is quite comfortable in her sexuality and pretty much directs the sex & romance between herself and Ivo.

. . . whatever romance there is, anyway. And that’s the main problem with the book: I didnt see the romance. I didn’t see the falling-in-love. George and Ivo don’t talk much. They must communicate by mental telepathy or something. Unfortunately, I cant read Brainwavese.

I mean, in the first chapter, Ivo and George see each other for the first time in six years with a duel and a scandal connecting them and they have nothing to say to each other? Instead, they stare at each other lustfully across a crowded fighting ring. The next time they see each other, they share a smoke and more lustful glances. Then Ivo finally opens his mouth to say “Six nights.” and George is like “Okay. Now shut up because you are ruining my silent lusting” Then more a-lustin’, a-kissin’, a-tuppin’ and still not much a-talkin’. The not-talking and just a-lustin’ kept going on and on . . . and on. At one point, George decides that she wants their six nights to be an ongoing affair and that she wants to be Ivo’s mistress. But does she never tells him this? No. Did she send off a message by brainwaves while I wasn’t looking? I dunno.

I wasn’t feeling Ivo at all. He was suppose to be strong, silent type but I found him almost disturbingly passive. When written right, a strong, silent hero stills gives off plenty of charisma and tension while standing still. I just could not get a sense of what made Ivo so interesting to George other than his good looks and their history together. And this is in spite of the fact that this book has a LOT of interior monologue and not enough doing & showing.

In terms of the writing itself, Hughes has a smooth style with a nice turn of phrase here & there reflecting a dry sense of humor. There was a retro feel to the book that reminded me of the Regencies from the 1970s I read from that period. Hughes has stated that she wanted to write like “Georgette Heyer, but HOT” and I can definitely see that. In terms of sensuality, it’s just a smidge below a Sabrina Jeffries/Nicole Jordan historical.

Note: This is the first book of a trilogy.

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Her Only Desire (2007) by Gaelen Foley

Grade: D+

Plot/Spoilers: Ian, a Marquess, is on a diplomatic mission and arrives in India where he meets Georgiana (Georgie) Knight and her two brothers (whose own books will arrive at a book store near you soon). Georgie gets into physical danger. Ian bails her out. Georgie gets into more danger. Ian bails her out but now Georgie and her bros must leave India for good. Ian proposes to Georgie in England after knowing her for the equivalent of two whole days. Just like in a Barbara Cartland novel but without the stuttering speeches about how they are reincarnated soulmates and are just spokes in the wheel of life. When a 453 page historical makes a 150 page Babs Cartland novel seem deep, this aint good. Anyway, Georgie goes back and forth on marrying Ian since she has known him for 2 days (duh!) and doesnt really know him. Also, Ian has a Deep Dark Secret involving his first wife which he doesnt want to talk about.

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A Promise of Love (1997) by Karen Ranney

Grade: B+

Plot: Set three years after Culloden, circa 1749, Judith Cuthbertson is widowed for the second time at the age of 24. To get rid of her once and for all, her uncaring father sells her to a member of clan MacLeod. Uprooted to the Scottish Highlands, she is married to the cheftain of MacLeod but she cannot escape reminders of her abusive second marriage. This book stands on its own and is not part of a series.
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