Friday, March 8, 2013
One Starlit Night by Carolyn Jewel
Portia Temple and Connor, now Viscount Northword, were once young lovers, but a tragic accident threw their relationship apart. Ten years later, they reunite at Doyle's Grange as her brother is hoping to become a vicar for the new Viscount, and all the feelings they had come rushing to the fore. Northword is now widowed and visiting his old friend, Portia's newly married brother, who he might make a vicar on his own estate. Unfortunately Portia is feeling like a third wheel and has agreed to marry a man whom everyone but her can see is completely unsuited for her. When her brother and sister-in-law enlist his help in preventing the marriage they find themselves spending a lot of time together and some startling revelations are made in how their relationship had ended so long ago. They must forgive and forget, let go of old problems, and find a way to love each other again.
I do so much like stories involving former lovers who reconnect after many years and this story really hit all of the checkmarks of what makes this particular sub genre so great. Portia and Connor were surprisingly well developed for such a short novella and I really felt like I could connect with both of their characters. Jewel's writing is a little slow at times and very introspective but it really worked here because of the situation between her two characters. There was a lot of history and heart break between these two characters that would have been too melancholy if it had lasted for a whole book so I really feel like it was much better suited to this smaller medium. There was quite a bit of sex for such a short book, but I really feel like it worked well here because they had been intimate before. All in all this was an enjoyable read and very well suited to this format.
What Happened at Midnight by Courtney Milan
Mary Chartley had lead a charmed life until everyone discovered that her father had embezzeled money from investors and so she runs away from London, leaving behind her fiance, John Mason. When John finds out that his nephew has been robbed of his inheritance by Mary's father he goes after her determined to get it back. He finds her serving as a lady's companion, being virtually controlled by her charge's husband, and is forced to reevaluate how he has thought of this woman. They begin to meet at midnight to discuss what happened and how they can fix things, both financially and between each other because neither wants to give up the feelings that were growing between them. Together they must discover what happened to the money, break the bonds that have been holding Mary and her charge captive, and repair their own broken relationship.
This book had a lot of substance to it and a lot of things to work out and Milan did an excellent job of solving all of these problems in a believable way without any letdown. Mary and John worked so well together and we could really see that during their little midnight jaunts and I enjoyed reading about the two of them rediscovering why they had fallen in love doing so all over again. There was no sex in this novel, but it worked fine for me and fit in with how the novel progressed and did not feel like anything was lacking. The romance was great but easily the most intriguing aspect of this story was the domineering husband/ employer who completely controlled his wife and even Mary once she began to work for him. I almost wished that this was a story in itself as his wife regained her confidence and her independence.
A Dance in Moonlight by Sherry Thomas
Isabelle Endleigh is heartbroken when the love of her life, Lord Fitzhugh, chooses his wife over her, and in her grief she mistakes Fitzwilliam for her lost love and passionately kisses him. She is horrified to discover it is not Fitz, but she asks him to pretend to be Fitz for one night and during that night she discovers that they have much in common. Suddenly her one night of pretending that Fitz loves her becomes so much more and the two write letters for several months and a genuine relationship develops. Her sister is convinced that Isabelle is just after Fitzwilliam because of his resemblance to Fitz, but she is able to prove to everyone that her feelings for him are much deeper and provide the backbone for a healthy relationship between them.
I did like this story and really felt like Thomas did a great job making it clear that, although Isabelle was initially drawn to Ftizwilliam because of his resemblance to Fitz, their relationship progressed beyond that and they really were well suited to one another. Their conversations and correspondence really showed how well suited they were for each other and we could see Isabelle getting over her infatuation with Fitz as she fell in love with Fitzwilliam. He was surprisingly unconcerned about the origins of their relationship which was probably the only weird part of the story for me as he should have been more worried that she only fell for him because of his looks. I felt like this was a great finish to Ravishing the Heiress and really showed a nice happy ending.