These aren’t exactly reviews because they’re not that in depth – I’m still recovering, okay? Anyway, I’ve been on this huge historical romance kick since the year began and I slightly broke my reading slump. I realized the majority of what I’ve read have been historical romances, and in March, I’ve just been re-reading Lord Ruin by Carolyn Jewel and Pride and Pleasure by Sylvia Day over and over and over again. Until two days ago, I re-read Love at First Flight by Marie Force.
So anyway… I’ve read the first three Lords of Vice books and enjoyed them all –All Night with a Rogue, Till Dawn with the Devil, and After Dark with a Scoundrel, all by Alexandra Hawkins, of course. Gradewise… oh gosh. They’d all be in the B+ range I think? Maybe ADwaS would be an A-. Of course I’d have to re-read it to be really sure ;). But here are a few comments.
Alexandra Hawkins is positively gifted at writing bitchy secondary characters. And normally this would annoy me, but hers make so much sense. That’s another part of her writing that really gets me. It’s incredibly realistic and believable. Yes, her stories skate the edge and push boundaries – it is fiction after all, so excitement is not only expected, I would venture it’s called for. In many other stories I’d say it’s just too much, but Ms. Hawkins makes it work. I’m a believer. Not only could such an event happen, the way she writes it is practically logical. She’s convinced this skeptic.
Then there’s the lush romance, wonderful stories, and lovable characters. They’re by no means perfect, but perfect for the book, if not each other. I also love that the characters Ms. Hawkins writes has friends. There’s something so nice in reading about well adjusted characters that aren’t social outcasts. The hero and heroine fall in love because that’s what happens, not necessarily circumstance.
Oh, and the covers? Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Kudos to the art department on After Dark with a Scoundrel, especially. Not only does it look fantastic, but it ties into the story as well! As soon as I read about Regan’s amber dress, it made me think of the cover.
As I can’t stop reading Lord Ruin and Pride and Pleasure, you can tell they’re both good. I’d say the former is a B+ and the latter an A-. I love the characterizations and settings of both – also what’s lovely about both stories is essentially the hero falls in love first. The heroine obviously has feelings, but she’s more cautious. It’s always nice to see a hero who “has it all” wonder what on earth he’s doing “wrong” and why the woman he finally loves might not love him. That angst and woe you find in a tortured hero is just delicious. Carolyn Jewel and Sylvia Day do a wonderful job with their stories. And I have to say I’m thrilled both are writing more historicals. Yay!
Last, but not least, is The Seduction of His Wife by Tiffany Clare. This was also a B+ read for me. There are some things I take issue with – a throwaway word here or there, and then how quickly Emma gives into Richard. They haven’t seen each other for something like twelve years, and Emma is justifiably mad. She enforces rules, but only for about a week. Then yes, Richard has to “earn” his way into her good graces, but there was a here or there that… I’m just not sure. The writing, however, is wonderful. I also liked that the hero isn’t a golden boy. He’s realistic. In fact, some might even say he’s not a hero. He’s just the main male character. Richard has a sordid past – and this is real – and he knows a lot of what he did was wrong. His redeeming qualities are that he left the life behind, and knows it wasn’t sustainable and he would have become worthless. Also, he’s trying to change.
Anyway, the way Tiffany Clare writes Richard “growing up” is excellent, and Richard and Emma do have an excellent relationship by the end. Also, she starts each chapter with bits of letters Emma has written to Richard through the years of his absence- letters she wrote but never sent, and they positively kill me. It’s like opening my teenage self’s journal. It’s so perfect.
So, if you enjoy historicals, or have been wanting to try one, I definitely recommend any of the ones mentioned here. Go forth and read. And then re-read. I have.