Tag Archives: actors and actresses

stranger in the night

Category Romance Review: Stranger in the Night by Charlotte Lamb

Stranger in the Night, Charlotte Lamb, Harlequin, 1980, William Biddle cover art



5 stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

The Plot

Charlotte Lamb’Stranger in the Night deals with a sensitive topic she’s approached several times: rape. No, it does not employ the controversial trope of “dubious consent” found in many Harlequins from the 1970s and 1980s. This is a healing love story about a traumatic assault that upended a woman’s life and almost destroyed her ability to find a romantic relationship.

On the surface, the set-up of Stranger in the Night might share some commonalities with Emma Darcy’s Don’t Ask Me Now, which had an actual love triangle plot. Here, the heroine Clare is living a good life as a successful actress. She has a male friend Macey, a writer and producer whom she keeps at bay, however much he adores her.

Macey is also a nice guy, one of the most gentle and understanding heroes in an old-school Harlequin Presents. Not a “beta” male, mind you, but a decent man whose aura commands respect. He’s supportive, assertive–not domineering–, and quite sexy to boot.

Macey’s more possessive instincts come to the forefront when a fellow from Clare’s past comes back into her life. While she and this handsome man, Luke, share a past connection, it’s not what Macey thinks. Nine years ago, Clare was a student at a party where she imbibed a bit too much alcohol. The predatory Luke took advantage of Clare and violated her.

Clare and Macey

In the ensuing years, Clare’s built herself a solid career on stage and screen. Along the way, Macey has been there as a trustworthy friend. He’s never hidden his attraction, even though Clare has no desire for romantic entanglements. For years Macey suffered in silence from unrequited love, never pursuing her in a predatory manner. Macey knows that would scare Clare away, and he’d rather have her in his life as a friend instead of not being there at all.

At first, Macey thinks Luke broke Clare’s heart long ago, making him insecure and jealous. It takes some time for the truth to be revealed, and when it is, Macey provides Clare a strong shoulder lean on. He’s there for her to unload the emotional baggage she’s been carrying all alone for so long. What’s more, he wants Luke to pay for the brutal crime committed against the woman Macey loves.

As usual, Lamb’s strength is in her characterization. Clare and Macey seem like authentic people with genuine concerns. Macey’s love for her is evident, but Clare struggles to deal with her feelings of sexual desire for him. In the end, Clare must learn to put the past behind her and not allow one horrific situation to define the rest of her life. Love is an emotion she needs to experience in order to heal.

Final Analysis of Stranger in the Night

Charlotte Lamb readers might note the similarities between this book and her full-length novel, A Violation. Both stories feature a heroine named Claire/Clare who must deal with the aftermath of rape and how it affects her and the people in her life. Where A Violation read more like women’s fiction with a Happy For Now conclusion, Stranger In the Night is a true romance with a Happily Ever After.

The only flaw in this book is that A Violation had the luxury of being twice Stranger In the Night‘s length. So some scenes come off a bit rushed and condensed. Regardless, this Harlequin Presents by one of my favorite authors is a book I could not put down. It’s a keeper for an indomitable heroine and a wonderful hero whose love is strong but never forceful.

Category Romance Review: The Strong, Silent Type by Kate Hoffmann

The Strong, Silent Type, Kate Hoffmann, Harlequin, 1995, cover artist TBD (Canille?)

Harlequin Temptation #529


3 1/2 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This review is of The Strong, Silent Type,  book #2 in the Bachelor Arms series and the 2nd of 3 books in the series written by Kate Hoffmann.

Wild One

The book begins with Josh Banks, the hero of the book and a tax accountant (yes, you read that correctly), meeting with one of his clients, actress Olivia Wilde (NOT the current actress using the stage name, this Olivia Wilde is a 75-year-old octogenarian actress). Olivia asks Josh for a favor; to keep her granddaughter, Taryn, out of Los Angeles for a few weeks (Olivia is up for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and feels that Taryn–a tabloid darling–might scupper her chances for the award with her behavior). 

When Josh meets Taryn, the heroine, he offers her money to leave L.A. She refuses. She’ll only agree to behave if Josh does something for her, which he is not willing to do at first. (He does agree, eventually, to pose for her).

Take Me as I Am

As the book goes on, Taryn gets into some mishaps which Josh has to extricate her from. They also discover two things: One, their personalities are very different; and two, they are ragingly attracted to each other. They later act on this attraction and become lovers.

Like We Never Loved at All

For a while, Taryn and Josh are happy. That happiness ends when Olivia tells Taryn that she suggested that Josh seduce her to keep her out of trouble while Olivia’s Oscar nomination is pending (Olivia later wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress). Taryn leaves L.A. to get space and clear her head. One thing remains clear, though; she’s still in love with Josh.

Let’s Go to Vegas

In the end, Taryn and Olivia begin to reconcile their relationship, as do Taryn and Josh. They elope to Las Vegas, marry and begin their Happily Ever After.


First, I really liked Josh as a hero. (This is highly unusual for me, being a straight man, to view heroes as anything more than necessary evils in romance novels). “The Strong, Silent Type” is probably the first book-at least the ones I’ve read-to feature a tax accountant as a hero. He’s also very shy and, at times, uncomfortable around women. However, being raised partially by a single mother-his father passed when Josh was 12–and having three older and two younger sisters have given Josh a great understanding and respect for women. Although he does do a few arrogant things, overall, Josh is very respectful towards women, which is great to see.

Ms. Hoffmann made a great decision to pair him with Taryn. A quiet man in a romance novel needs to have a spirited woman to play off of, and Ms. Hoffman has certainly provided that in Taryn Wilde.


When I read a romance novel, I want to love the heroine, even if just a little bit. 

I didn’t feel that way entirely about Taryn. I liked her, I understood why she acted the way she did without Ms. Hoffmann’s explanations, but Ms. Hoffmann also didn’t get me to love Taryn the way I wanted to. It’s certainly not a deal-breaker, but it was an issue for me.


One love scene that generates some heat, but for the most part, is fairly tame. 


Several scenes of assault and battery. The violence is not graphic.

Bottom Line

Ms. Hoffmann’s first installment in the Bachelor Armsseries, Bachelor Husband, was a very good book. Her second, The Strong, Silent Type, is just a good book. 3.67 stars.

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

raven franco

Historical Romance: Raven by Evelyn Rogers

raven evelyn rogers historical romance review
Raven by Evelyn Rogers
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1995
Illustrator: Franco Accornero
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Book Series: Chadwick Sisters Trilogy #2
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Victorian Era Romance
Pages: 378
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance: Raven by Evelyn Rogers


The Book

Raven by Evelyn Rogers is one of those books with a little bit of everything. Of course, there’s romance–the chemistry between the protagonists was sizzling–but there’s also adventure, painful tragedy, and a dash of gothic intrigue.

The Plot

Raven, an American Southerner living in England, is a broken woman with a tainted past. She has to learn to let go of her hurts to become the mature, independent woman she was destined to be.

Acting is her calling, so our heroine takes to the London stage to be an actress. There, she shines as a bright star. Still, there is an emptiness inside her.

Marcus Bannerman is just the man she needs. He is a wealthy and arrogant nobleman. Marcus is a multi-faceted character, however, as he is also a kind, understanding man.

Marcus is a very patient and dedicated lover. He was an incredibly sensual hero, and the dialogue between him and Raven was so steamy!

Besides having to get over the major trauma she experienced long ago, now there is danger afoot that could threaten Raven’s life!

Final Analysis of Raven

I’ve read several books by Evelyn Rogers, and I’ve always been impressed. This was one of her best romances so far! She was one of the better authors for Kensington’s Zebra imprint and later wrote for Dorchester.

Raven was the second in a series of books about three sisters trying to flee from their pasts. I’ve yet to read them all, although I will correct that very soon because Raven was an excellent read.

4.5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.5


Haunted by memories of the terrible night that left her innocence shattered, Raven Chadwick prefers the world of make-believe to the cruel realities of everyday life. So she leaves her girlhood home of Savannah to pursue a stage career — and uncover a mysterious family secret.

In London, Raven meets Marcus Bannerman, the enigmatic Earl of Stafford. Powerful and hotly sensual, he fills her with doubt — and awakening desire…

Then Raven discovers the truth that was once hidden amid the shadows of the elegant Stafford mansion — a secret that could change her life. Only if she believes in herself and the man she adores will Raven be able to take on her greatest role: a woman ready to fight for her true, undying love!