Tuesday, March 31, 2015

We're damaged people ... drawn together ...

A Gentleman Undone (Blackshear Family, #2)A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It has been ages since I found such a refreshing voice in historical romance. I would classify Ms. Grant in the same category with Joanna Bourne and Sherry Thomas. The narration was articulated in a voice that is very reflective of the Regency era but in an accessible manner.

This book features characters that would be considered as unconventional to the mostly silver spoon characters that populated this genre: the heroine is a prostitute and the hero a failed gentleman. She chose her ruin, which is rather unusual, as penance for her past mistakes which has extorted a large toll on her. He was a former soldier who harboured a dark secret which weighed his conscience and spirit down.

I love how the story progressed towards both of them accepting each other's flaws and darkness. Their love was unflinching, unconditional of perfection, but rather, healing two damaged people who have been adrift for so long.

I also like how the Blackshears are not the hunky dory family of most serial novels; Will's decision to marry a harlot has rendered him persona non grata to most of his family except for one sister. I do believe that there will be reconciliation and acceptance in future novels and I cannot wait to see that.

Some favourite passages:

... grateful for the darkness that prevented his being seen like this, given up to sinuous gyrations like some Amazon queen's slave-dancer ...

O.M.G. *fans self frantically*

But the one that blew me away?

She stared down at him, his judge and his ravisher, appalling as the eagle who'd feasted every day on Prometheus' liver, and he as powerless as that Titan, chained to the rock, rent open, his darkest, most unspeakable secrets laid bare to her view.

Her eyes hardened. Her lips pressed tight. She leaned an inch nearer. "I love you," she breathed, just loud enough for him to hear.

Stupendous. Made me cry, laugh, squirm, and all the good stuff that a great book do that gives you the feels. Go read it.

Female protagonist: 5/5 stars
Male protagonist: 5/5 stars
Pacing: 4/5 stars
Storyline: 5/5 stars
Repeat reading factor: 4/5 stars


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Screwball comedy heist fun

The Chase (Fox and O'Hare #2)The Chase by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ms Evanovich can be depended on for a fun romp of a book. This is her second collaboration with Lee Goldberg and the outcome is just as explosive and amazing as the first. They crafted such fabulous characters in Nick Fox and Special Agent Kate O'Hare, very much a throwback to the screwball comedy pairing of the Golden Age of Hollywood but with a modern twist.

This time the dynamic duo faced off with a crooked (is there any kind?) former White House Chief of Staff with a penchant for high end art and no moral compass whatsoever. I love how much Carter Grove, baddie du jour, reminded me of Donald Rumsfeld. At least this time around, he got what he had coming, unlike Mr R.

Second book usually means greater character development. Kate and Nick discovered how proximity breeds a kind of intimacy that made each go what-would-the-other-do, co-opting traits and skills, shifting perspective and ethics. Lots of international hijinks and imaginative art stealing action to spur things on; I practically inhaled this book in a single seating.

Fabulous all around. So much fun.

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