- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Avon Books (1 Jun 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060097701
- ISBN-13: 978-0060097707
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.9 x 2.6 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,739,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Braiden de Cantor, a dishonored knight, who coincidently happens to also be Draven's nephew, seeks her in order to rescue his foster sister who has been sold into prostitution. Finding Fiona, he forces her to accompany him to her former band of outlaws in order to teach him how to first survive by thievery in order to raise money to rescue his foster sister and then to take him to the stewes to retrieve his foster sister.
Fiona (called Giselle as the crimson lady) is a deeply emotionally scarred woman. At the hands of Draven she experienced a powerless and debilitating weakness one might feel when under the power of another. She was never allowed to give freely of her emotion or affections and believes she will never have those things she wants most.
Braeden is a warm and sensitive man who falls under Fiona's spell. Her beauty matches her legendary reputation but her demeanor does not. Braeden sees past the facade to the true woman beneath.
There are several very emotional scenes in this book, one being where Braeden and Fiona first make love. As a warm rain falls, symbolically cleansing Fiona of her past violations with Draven, they make love, and a deep affection develops between these two characters.
There are plot stumbles, as there are too many coincidences to make the story entirely plausible. The writing at times is not developed enough to fully engage the reader, however the story is a powerful one. Ms. McCall has written an original story for romance readers, with more depth than one might be used to. Mary Reed McCall, who has several books under belt, seems to still be a developing talent. This book is both enjoyable and original.
This book, as others have noted, has real emotional depth, something which is often lacking in other romances. The characters are completely believable and easy to identify with. The love scenes really reflected genuine feeling and were descriptive without being pornographic or corny. And to top it off, the book contained really interesting information about London of almost 1000 years ago - I had no idea prostitution was legal!
The story - also as has been noted - could have been developed with more detail. I kind of got the sense that the author didn't want to lose the attention of her audience by lengthening the book, but I definitely don't think that was a danger - I think she could have added another 2-300 pages of details regarding the heroine's experience under Draven, the outlaw activities the couple took part in, and developing the characters - and the ending - even more. It also wouldn't have hurt to add another love scene, since the author is quite adept at that! :) Overall, though, this was a beautiful, unique story that I think even those who aren't fans of romance would enjoy.
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