Tag: Avon

Historical Romance Review: Chance the Winds of Fortune by Laurie McBain

chance winds of fortune
Chance the Winds of Fortune, Laurie McBain, Avon, 1980, Tom Hall cover art

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

2 stars

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Chance the Winds of Fortune A Disappointing Sequel

Chance the Winds of Fortune is the sequel to Laurie McBain‘s Moonstruck Madness, a romance about a gender-bending highwayman (girl) who falls for an arrogant, scarred Duke, notorious for his dueling skills. I LOVED Moonstruck Madness… The follow-ups to that wonderful book about their daughter, Rhea Claire, Chance the Winds of Fortune & Dark Before the Rising Sun, though…uggh.

Please forgive my bluntness. They’re too long, boring, and stink. Even McBain’s tepid first outing, Devil’s Desire, was better than these.

The two sequels books combine to over 1000 pages, telling the tale of a vanilla-bland daughter of the protagonists of a much more compelling story. Perhaps if McBain had combined both novels into one 700 page epic, I would have found more enjoyment out of the romance.

If you take Chance the Wind of Fortune as a historical adventure, this read might not be so bad. Perspective matters. However, this was not marketed as Historical Fiction, but a Historical Romance, which made all the difference to me.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Chance the Winds of Fortune by Laurie McBain”

Author Spotlight: Johanna Lindsey

A Heart So Wild, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1986, cover artist Robert McGinnis

A Historical Romance Favorite

To this day, I still mourn the passing of a romance great, Johanna Lindsey. Lindsey holds a special place in my heart, more so than any other historical romance author. Oddly enough, the first Lindsey I read was not a historical romance, but her 1990 science-fantasy romance, Warrior’s Woman. After that, her books became an addiction for me.

It’s no wonder that her publishers labeled her with the motto “Everyone Loves a Lindsey.” She reached the #1 position on the New York Times Best Seller list with Defy Not the HeartAngel, and other books. Lindsey sold over 60 million copies of her approximately 56 published romance novels. Her works were translated into at least a dozen other languages.

Life, Love, Family, & Career

Lindsey was born Johanna Helen Howard on March 10, 1952, in Frankfurt, Germany, to Edwin Dennis Howard, a soldier in the U.S. Army, and his wife, Wanda Lindsey (nee Castle). After her father died in 1964, Lindsey and her mother settled in the state of Hawaii, as her father had always dreamed of doing.

While still attending high school, at the age of 18 Johanna married her one true love, Ralph Bruce Lindsey.... Read more “Author Spotlight: Johanna Lindsey”

Historical Romance Neo-Bodice Ripper Review: Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell

Claiming the Courtesan, Anna Campbell, Avon, 2007, cover artist unknown

“Verity, you have a choice,” he said gently. “We eat, we talk, we pass the evening with an attempt at civility. Or we fuck. It’s up to you.”

CLAIMING THE COURTESAN

2 stars

Rating: 2 out of 5.

*** Spoiler alert ***

Although I’m not a fan of the execution of Claiming the Courtesan, I thought it was refreshing what Anna Campbell tried to accomplish in her first book. I categorize this style of romance as a neo-bodice ripper, in that it attempts to capture the sexual power struggles contained in those older books, but it’s very modern in its presentation.

The Plot: Something Old is New Again

I appreciated what Campbell wanted to create in Kylemore: a loathsome, detestable anti-hero who cared only for his spoiled, noble self. Initially, he drew my attention; however, what was produced on paper was mostly a bratty, uncharismatic, psycho-stalker.

I seem to be alone in this thought, but I yearn for the days of stoic, inscrutable heroes, whose love was shown through their actions, and when they did speak, the words meant so much. I prefer to be in the hero’s head as little as possible.... Read more “Historical Romance Neo-Bodice Ripper Review: Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell”

Historical Romance Review: Taken By You by Connie Mason

Taken By You
Taken By You, Connie Mason, Avon, 1996, cover artist TBD

From the back of the book:

He is Morgan Scott, an English nobleman once held captive on the high seas by the brutal Spanish master and crew who murdered his family. Now he sails the seas as a British privateer, taking his revenge by attacking and plundering Spanish ships.

She is Luca Santiego, forced from the shelter of a convent and destined for a marriage arranged by her father. When her ship is attacked by pirates, she dons the garb of a nun and prays for mercy. Yet amid the flames of the sinking ship, the blue-eyed captain is seized by an unbidden passion for the beauty who kneels before him. Driven by a wicked desire to claim her as his spoils in an act of vengeance against the Spanish, he is torn by an overwhelming response to Luca’s sweet innocence, and aches with need for her. Yet he vows he will have her only when his tender kisses bring about her willing surrender to a magnificent, undeniable love.

2 stars

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I read Connie Mason’s Taken By You back when it was in early 1996, so my memory of it is fuzzy.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Taken By You by Connie Mason”

Historical Romance Review: Stormfire by Christine Monson

Storm fire
Stormfire Pino
Stormfire, Christine Monson, Avon, 1984, cover artist Pino

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Most Controversial Bodice Ripper, Ever?

So, after a couple of decades of reading romance, I finally got around to Stormfire by the late Christine Monson. Whew! They do not write them like this anymore. The ultimate in bodice-ripping, Stormfire, is a tale of two mentally unstable people and their violent, intense love. And it’s great!

The main attraction of Stormfire is its writing. If it were a poorly written book, no one would still be talking about it 20-plus years after it was published. The chapters each have titles such as “Silken Irons,” “Into Eden,” or “The Nadir.” When the heroine meets the hero, her first thoughts are of Milton’s poetry: 

“His form had not yet lost

All his original brightness, nor appeared

Less than Archangel ruined…” 

PARADISE LOST, JOHN MILTON

The prose is evocative and compelling, but not purple. We agonize over Catherine’s enslavement. We feel the angry passion between the lovers. We grieve Catherine’s loss and suffer from Sean’s torture. How much misery can two people take? Then there is that intense love/hate.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Stormfire by Christine Monson”

Historical Romance Review: Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain

Devil’s Desire, Laurie McBain, Avon, 1975, Tom Hall cover art

“I would not regret putting a hole in your arrogant chest, only it would be deflected when it hit that piece of rock you call a heart.

DEVIL’S DESIRE

2 1/2 stars

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The Plot

For me, Devil’s Desire was an ok Regency romance written by Laurie McBain. The bland heroine Elysia, is on the run from bland, evil enemies. It’s alright, but nothing special. From the writing, you can tell it’s a “first book.”

The back blurb says Devil’s Desire is: “[A] rousing, unforgettable saga that sweeps across the valleys and peaks of human destiny, the stormy alliance of beautiful young and plumbs the depths of raw human emotion — lust, jealousy and hate… Out of the turbulence of their clashing wills comes one of the greatest love stories ever written, as their twin passions mingle at last, in a rippling tide of liquid fire!” 

How I wish.

The read was rather ordinary and predictable, however it was not terrible. Lots of clichés, including the rakish hero, Lord Alex Trevegne (who’s really not that much of a rake), an evil ex-mistress, and a Cinderella heroine, Lady Elysia Demarice, with emerald-green eyes and red-gold hair, who’s the most beautiful lady in all of England, and pure as the driven snow.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain”

Historical Romance Review: A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey

In a Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey  Courtney hires Chandos to help her trek across the west to find her father and instead she and Chandos find love. 4 1/2 stars
A Heart So Wild, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1986, cover artist Robert McGinnis

“Do you understand what I’m saying? If you’re going to be my woman, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever let you go”

A Heart So Wild
4 1/2 stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I just realized I had A Heart So Wild on my Kindle and since I hadn’t read it in 25 years why not give it a re-read? And you know what? I loved this book more the second time than the first.

Why?

-Heroine & hero “meet” when the heroine is getting sexually assaulted by an outlaw, and hero shoots the bad guy dead.

-Enigmatic hero with a mysterious and tragic past.

-The heroine needs a gunslinger to guide her through hostile Indian territory to find her missing father.

-Hero fights, beats, kills men who try to kidnap or try to rape heroine.

-A snakebite where the heroine sucks blood out of the hero’s wound for an hour (!) and then he gets sick, revealing more in his fever dreams than he would if he was fine.

-Quick love scenes that express passion, aren’t too purple in prose and don’t go on for endless pages.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey”