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Tag: class difference

Category Romance Review: Marriage on the Rebound by Michelle Reid

marriage on the rebound
Marriage on the Rebound, Michelle Reid, Harlequin, 1997, cover artist TBD

Harlequin Presents #1973

VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Michelle Reid’s Marriage on The Rebound is about keeping it all in the family. Shaan Saketa is unique for a Harlequin Presents circa 1998 heroine, as she’s of mixed ethnic heritage: English and Lebanese. Otherwise, she’s like most other female main characters found in the land of these category romances. Shaan is young (not yet 23), a virgin, and an orphan.

And it’s her wedding day. Unfortunately for Shaan, she’s about to be dumped at the altar.

The Plot

Shaan is in her wedding dress when her fiancé’s brother and former boss, Rafe Danvers, comes to her with a “Dear John” letter. Her husband-to-be, Piers, says he can’t marry her because he’s in love with another woman. Shaan is dejected, and her family is certain that there’s more than meets the eyes to this abrupt breakup. Rafe, ever the responsible fellow, is determined to help Shaan save face. He steps in and urges her to marry him. In shock, Shaan goes through the motions.

Rafe gives Shaan no time to think as she whisks her off to Hong Kong.... Read more “Category Romance Review: Marriage on the Rebound by Michelle Reid”

Historical Romance Review: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

dreaming of you
Dreaming of You, Lisa Kleypas, Avon, 1994, Max Ginsburg cover art

Separately they had different strengths. Together they were complete.

DREAMING OF YOU

VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas features one of her most beloved characters, Derek Craven. Derek was previously seen in Then Came You, whose reserved hero, Alex Raiford, was more to my liking. This is a beautiful romance by the talented Kleypas where two people from contrasting social classes come together in love.

The Characters

Sara Fielding is a novelist in Regency-era England. She’s not ravishingly beautiful, wears spectacles, and is a rather curious woman. Her novels address the fallen people in society. Sara’s out at night in a rough London neighborhood to investigate material for her next book when she comes upon an altercation. She’s able to prevent the man from being killed, although not before his attackers cut him. The man she saves is the aforementioned hero, Derek Craven.

Craven is the owner of London’s most successful gambling house, which doubles as a house of pleasure. Far from being a traditional English lord, he’s as rough as a hero can get.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas”

Category Romance Review: Meant To Be Married by Ruth Wind

meant to be married
Meant To Be Married, Ruth Wind, Silhouette, 1998, Cover Artist TBD

Silhouette Special Edition #1194

MILD SPOILERS 😉

5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

The Book

Meant To Be Married by Ruth Wind (aka Barbara Samuels) is a powerful romance that brought tears to my eyes. This second-chance-at-love story is underscored by superb characterization and a sensitive writer’s hand.

The Characters and Setup

Meant To Be Married begins a decade in the past when Elias Santiago and Sarah Greenwood defied their families to become lovers. The teenaged Romeo and Juliet were precisely that: two youths from feuding clans who fell in love with one another and had to keep their relationship secret. For over a century, Santiago and Greenwood blood has been shed via lynchings, murders, and suicides. Legend says the feud began when a Santiago male violated a Greenwood female. The Greenwoods hanged Santiago, and in turn, the Greenwood woman killed herself. Was it due to shame, or could it have been heartbreak?

Whatever the reason, the enmity between the families has grown stronger over time.

The high school sweethearts are on their way out of state to elope. Then a change of heart makes them turn back to contact their parents.... Read more “Category Romance Review: Meant To Be Married by Ruth Wind”

Category Romance Review: The Jade Affair by Madeline Harper

the jade affair
The Jade Affair, Madeline Harper, Harlequin, 1990, Cover Artist TBD

Harlequin Temptation #326

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 🙂

4 1/2 stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Madeline Harper’s The Jade Affair happens to be one of my top Harlequin Temptations due to its engaging reunited lovers’ plotline. The duo of Madeline Porter and Shannon Harper wrote historical romances as Anna James or Leigh Bristol and Gothic romances under the pen name of Elizabeth Habersham. They published several category romances for Harlequin by combing one first name and last name.

In this, The chemistry between the protagonists is fantastic as they play detectives to find some missing jade artifacts.

A Gem of a Romance

Clea and Reeve had been dated as teenagers and fallen deeply in love. But their relationship could never be as they were from different social classes. Clea’s family was part of the upper-crust echelons, while Reeve was a tough boy from the wrong side of the tracks. They ran off to be together, but Clea’s parents tracked them down. Through lies and manipulation, they were able to separate the couple for years.

But Clea and Reeve each held a special place for the other in their hearts, never forgetting their forbidden romance.... Read more “Category Romance Review: The Jade Affair by Madeline Harper”

Historical Romance Review: Hearts of Fire by Anita Mills

hearts of fire
hearts of fire
Hearts of Fire, Anita Mills, Onyx, 1989 Gregg Gulbronson cover art

CONTENT & SPOILER ALERT ⚠

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

A Fitting Sequel to a Masterpiece Romance

Hearts of Fire is a more satisfying sequel to the first installment of Anita Mills‘ medieval romance series, Lady of Fire, than its second outing, Fire and Steel was. Fire and Steel saw Catherine de Brione, the beloved daughter of Lady of Fire‘s Roger and Eleonor, find love with Guy of Rivaux. Guy was the pure-hearted bastard son of the demonic Robert of Bellesme. Bellesme was the unforgettable charismatic villain of the first two books who had an obsessive but somehow noble love for Eleonor. Bellesme stole the show in those novels, so magnetic was his character.

In Hearts of Fire, the male protagonist is Richard of Rivaux, grandson of Robert Bellesme and his beloved Eleonor. Richard is a fascinating and complicated hero. He has his grandfather’s darkness but is not consumed totally by evil. He kills for his woman, yet he’s a tender lover. In another book, Richard could have been a villain. In this story, he’s the hero and a wonderful one at that.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Hearts of Fire by Anita Mills”

Historical Romance Review: Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell

claiming the courtesan
claiming the courtesan
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

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

2 stars

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The Book

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

Something Old is New Again

I appreciated what Campbell wanted to create in Kylemore. He was a loathsome, detestable anti-hero who cared only for his spoiled, noble self. Initially, he drew my attention. Eventually, I found him to be mostly a bratty, uncharismatic, psycho-stalker.

I seem to be alone in this, but I yearn for the days of stoic, inscrutable heroes. Those men 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 Review: Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell”

Historical Romance Review: Stolen Spring by Louisa Rawlings

stolen spring
Stolen Spring, Louisa Rawlings, Popular Library, 1988, cover artist unknown

From the back of the book:

“Mademoiselle Marie-Rouge’s bewitching gray eyes widened with shock. King Louis’ minister had made his offer very clear: Rouge must become a spy or else her beloved father would be thrown in debtor’s prison. She chose to flee into a storm-swept night away from the golden court at Versailles and the intrigues that threatened her life…In a miller’s cottage she found a stranger–a brazen, daring man who claimed to be a simple peasant. His arms sheltered her, his kisses intoxicated her more than royal wine, and his desire showed her a paradise no riches could buy. Would he forgive the girl who took his sweet love tonight–only to run from his heart tomorrow?”

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

4 1/2 stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Book

Lousia Rawlings, the writer of such greats as Stranger in My Arms was a masterful author. It’s unfortunate she no longer writes wonderful historical romances. And by that, I mean “historical romance” in the truest sense of those words. Her novels are authentic to their time. They were also beautiful love stories. Stolen Spring is another example of her stellar work.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Stolen Spring by Louisa Rawlings”