4 stars and a half

Historical Romance Review: Sweet Fire by Jo Goodman

Sweet Fire, Jo Goodman, Zebra, 1991, Pino cover art

4 1/2 stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Sweet Fire by Jo Goodman is an action-packed romance filled with the requisite passion you’d look for in a Zebra Heartfire, but also adventure, murder mystery, and drama.

The Plot

Nathan and Brigham are former Australian prisoners & best frenemies now residing in San Fransisco, California. The pair are competing for the hand of Miss Lydia Chadwick. She’s a wealthy heiress, pretty enough, but she pales in comparison to her much more sophisticated and unsurprisingly young stepmother. But, of course, stepmom is the wicked type, and she’s secretly sexing it up with Brig.

On the other hand, Lydia is a woman of social conscience, as she tries to help orphans and prostitutes better their lot in lives. Unfortunately, Lydia’s charity work gets dangerous when a killer is on the loose, killing women on the streets. Sadly, the mystery was no mystery to me, as it’s telegraphed early on who the killer was, but I went with it, anyway, knowing the love story was the real centerpiece of this book.

Lydia lets Nathan and Brigham know she’s onto their game and is having none of it! She wants nothing to do with either of those fortune-seekers and knows their flattery is false. Although, for Nathan, it’s not so false at all.

Nathan is a devil, however. When circumstances lead to Lydia getting injured, it results in amnesia. Nathan quickly takes advantage of the situation, whisks Lydia off, and married her. With Lydia’s wall of reserve removed, they embark on a passionate honeymoon. One steamy love scene follows another, as Nathan tries to cement a solid foundation if–or more likely, when–Lydia’s memory returns.

Final Analysis of Sweet Fire

There are multiple threads woven throughout this tale. Jo Goodman skillfully created vast tapestry of characters that led to a thrilling and satisfying conclusion.

I’ve read Jo Goodman’s Sweet Fire twice so far, and while the second time around wasn’t as exhilarating as the first, I still had a fun time. 13-year-old me loved this book, while her 35-year-old version enjoyed it very much. Because of my personal rule of always going with my more favorable opinion, be it past or present, I’m sticking to my original 4 1/2 star rating.

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