Violet Fire by Jo Goodman has a gorgeous cover. It’s a Zebra masterpiece with purple and orange hues. Alas, that’s the best part of this historical romance.
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, Sweet Savage Flame earns a small percentage from qualifying purchases.Violet Fire by Jo Goodman
Illustrator: George A . Bush
Imprint or Line: Zebra Lovegram
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Antebellum Southern Romance, Historical Romance, Colonial Era Romance
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader
I loved the George A. Bush cover, though. Such pretty colors and so shiny!
Sometime in the 18th century, young Shannon Kilmartin lives alone in England with her cruel, abusive stepfather. She’s a beautiful woman with black hair and violet eyes—hence the title of the book, Violet Fire—and her stepfather can’t keep his pervy hands off of her. Shannon fights him off, which leads to an accidental death. As a result, Shannon is tried, convicted, and sent to the American colonies as an indentured servant.
She arrives at Brandon Fleming’s tobacco plantation in Virginia. Brandon has complex family dynamics, and he lives there with his young niece, Clara.
Brandon is shocked by his new servant’s appearance. Why? She looks exactly like his wife, Aurora, who has disappeared, having run off with another man.
What Shannon and Brandon don’t know is that Aurora and Shannon are long-lost twin sisters, separated at birth. Years before, on the night their mother birthed two daughters, Shannon’s stepfather gave one of the girls to an aristocratic couple whose infant child had died. That child was Aurora, who was raised in the lap of luxury and grew into a pampered, spoiled creature.
Brandon insists that Shannon is his wife, which she denies. Regardless of her identity, she is required to stay on his plantation. Shannon works as a governess for Clara.
Brandon is attracted to Shannon—he would be, wouldn’t he, as he married her twin!—and attempts to seduce her, but Shannon resists his efforts. Would this be due to trauma from her abusive past? Or is it because Brandon is a married man? No, it’s to pad the length of what should be a 350-page book into a 500-page brick! Brandon, being the beta fish he is, bides his time and creates a sense of security between them.
This would have been fine if the pair had shared some engaging interactions with one another. But they don’t.
Fortunately, the story switches to Aurora’s perspective, who is with her lover, scheming to get Brandon’s fortune. Just when it seems that this book will finally pick up, a few unexpected twists occur.
Unfortunately, this twist takes the most interesting character out of the story in order for the two main characters to be able to get together.
Brandon and Shannon fall in love fairly soon in this story. Even though they share several love scenes, as is the case with the “insta-love” trope, it’s all kind of boring.
(Especially when the main obstacle preventing them from getting together is removed.)
Family dynamics and dysfunction play a significant role in the rest of the book’s plot, which should be exciting but stumbles to its eventual predictable conclusion.
Violet Fire started promising but soon took a downturn. Insta-luv and the beta heroes are no fun. Plus, Shannon was too placid and spineless. The best part of the story was her evil twin, Aurora, who was dispatched far too early.
At over 500 pages, this romance just ran too long. But the glossy cover with dazzling colors of violets, blues, and oranges had me hypnotized and kept me turning the pages, even though my interest in the story evaporated. What can I say? I’m a cover slut!
The writing is fine, but the plot isn’t as exciting or intricate as what I’ve previously encountered from Goodman, such as in the much more exciting Sweet Fire.
Goodman did rewrite this colonial romance for the 2018 ebook version, so it’s possible the writing is sharper in the revision as opposed to the original.
According to one reviewer on Goodreads:
I read the ebook but was looking at the back of the print book for the outlook. Thankfully they did. Ms. Goodman did change it, and now it doesn’t sound nearly as—well—purple. And another bonus to the ebook, the cover is ever so much better than the old Zebra print copy cover.
Okay, I understand the reluctance about purple prose, but the comment about the cover art is a bridge too far for me. Is a new digitally created artwork better than the original? Well, it’s not bad as far as 21st-century covers go.
But better than George Bush’s glorious cover art?
Bleh. Modern tastes suck.
There are many sex scenes here, but they aren’t very sexy or memorable. So mark this Zebra as having a warm heat level. Certainly not the balmy and sultry heat that would be more fitting with Violet Fire‘s Southern coastal setting.
Final Analysis of Violet Fire
While I will keep my copy of Violet Fire in my personal library (Zebras are hot collectors’ books), it’s not because I enjoyed the story.
Violet Fire is one of Jo Goodman’s earlier books, and as stated, it was re-released as an ebook, where the author did rewrite much of it to “modernize” the plot and language. So maybe the revised version might suit contemporary readers’ tastes.
As it is, the original didn’t suit my retro-loving nature, and I’m not interested enough to investigate further. But if you’re a fan of Goodman’s romances, you might want to take the gamble on it.
(COVER POINTS DO NOT COUNT!)
|Rating Report Card|
Shannon Kilmartin looked up at her handsome rescuer and shrank from the desire in his deep brown eyes. Had he saved her from drowning only to ravish her? After fleeing the advances of her cruel stepfather, Shannon had vowed never to trust a man whose eyes glowed with passion’s flame. When this stranger took her in his steely embrace, she feared he was a madman; when he stole her breath away with a searing kiss, she suddenly wished only to share his madness–and his love–all the rest of her days.
Brandon Fleming cradled the violet-eyed temptress in his arms and cursed the way shed stormed into his heart. When his wife deserted him, he d sworn no woman would ever again touch his soul. But one look at the beauty he held, one touch of her silken skin, and he was lost. All he wanted to do was ease her fear with tender kisses, promise her forever with gentle caresses, and gaze throughout the night into those eyes that burned with desire’s Violet Fire.Violet Fire by Jo Goodman