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The Slightest Provocation Paperback – 5 Sep 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 341 pages
  • Publisher: New American Library (5 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451219473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451219473
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,728,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
In March 1771, a son was born to Emilia and Walter Stansell, the Marchioness and Marquess of Rowen, at Rowen Castle, near the village of Grefford, in the southeast corner of Derbyshire. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on 29 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you like Susan Johnson's books then you will enjoy this book.
A very fine writer who involves her reader in the lives of her characters from the start.
You are with her every step of the way.
You are taken on a roller coast of a ride with your emotions and you will not know whether to be angry with the hero for being stupid or the heroine for forgiving him his pathetic excuses.
You will either love this book or hate it but it is well worth the read.
After all other books in this genre are forgotten this will remain.
Look out for her other two books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A many layered story 16 Nov. 2006
By Constant Reader - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a story with many layers: of time, character, marriage, history and human relationships set primarily in 1817 England, as post-Napoleonic War recession caused discontent among the working classes. The main action begins with a meeting between long estranged spouses: free-thinking, strong willed Mary, who has spent the last nine years wandering among the intelligensia (Byron, Shelley, that crowd); and handsome, sardonic Kit, who is trying to incorporate the maturity he gained during his wartime service into his former life as a free-spirited wastrel. Mary and Kit, both of the upper class, eloped at a young age in the teeth of a family feud. After a year of passionate sex and frolic, they stumble into betrayals and part in anger.

Now, nine years later, they are both at another turning point: Mary is thinking of divorce in order to marry her current lover; Kit is turning his thoughts to a career with the Home Office. Yet, their passionate reconnection side tracks them both into a reconsideration of their past and their future.

Rosenthal tells the story of these two flawed and vibrant people through flashbacks and shifting points of view, including the perspectives of various well-developed secondary characters.

The book is called an "erotic romance" in some marketing which made me hesitate before buying it and lead me to expect something especially graphic and highly charged. However, while Rosenthal does treat readers to some briskly enjoyed encounters between Mary and Kit, those looking for the lengthy descriptions of Stephanie Laurens or the intense sensuality of Jo Beverley and Mary Balogh will be disappointed. Instead, the pleasure of this book comes from the growth of even the most minor characters.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Sparkles with wit and originality. Bonus points for violating The Big Taboo 4 Aug. 2007
By SheReads - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What likeable people - despite their flaws, or maybe because of them.

Childhood sweethearts who wed impulsively, this couple have nobody but themselves to blame for the falling-out that separated them. No big misunderstanding, no interfering relatives, no traumatic event; just two impulsive, spoiled young people whose romance isn't strong enough to see them through the difficult first year of marriage. Flashbacks to his adulterous affairs and her disastrous revenge (with his best friend!) don't inspire much sympathy. Nine years later, a tentative reunion turns into a name-calling, vase-throwing battle of blame. But when the dust clears, it's as if old demons have been exorcised, making room for the emergence of the love that should have been.

Kudos to author Pam Rosenthal for adding a generous dollop of reality to this otherwise frothy treat. The sex-in-a-carriage scene that is a staple of historical romance is done here with as much humor as sensuality, rather like sex in the back seat of your father's Buick; both participants wind up admitting that they're probably too old for that sort of thing and will wait for a bed next time. Most impressive is the handling of romance's big taboo: a bout of impotence that has the heroine snapping, "It's not as if it's that important," and the hero stomping out in a snit.

A few hours and one ego-boost later, he's back in fine form. Demonstrating, as happens in real life, that perfection is not a prerequisite to grown-up romance.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
One of This Year's Bests 8 Oct. 2006
By C. Snyder - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's not many reviews out yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Kit and Mary were young and so much in love. Alas, passion was not enough to weather the realities of life, and they separated nine years ago amidst deceit and scandal. This book is the story of the maturing of two strong-willed individuals and love's redeeming power over disillusionment and cynicism. The issues are realistic, and the road back home is neither straight nor simple.

Ms. Rosenthal integrates the story with the political and social discontent in Britain following the defeat of Napolean. The secondary characters are real people, with real issues, real emotions, and imperfect solutions.

The books appears to have been marketed as an "erotic romance", but I disagree. It may technically fit the definition because of the creative sexual encounters of this married couple. However, sex didn't permiate the entire book as one might have expected. The love scenes were tasteful and fit the temperature of the relationship at each point. The process of self-discovery within the historical context was key to this book, and the sensuality and sexual tension was thoroughly integrated into the overall plot.

This book is a keeper for me!!!
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I hated to see it end.... 5 Dec. 2006
By Lazy Day Gardener - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The correct title of this book review would be 'sheer self indulgence.' I really enjoy Pam Rosenthal's romances; like really. Think of them as the dark chocolates of the book world: rich, sensual, intense, multilayered, sensual [did I already say that?]. Rosenthal's books are historically well grounded, and I enjoy her forays into English and French history. Enough said, here's a brief summary of The Slightest Provocation.

The basic story line is the destined-for-each-other-from-childhood couple who marry early, love passionately, foolishly quarrel, and angrily part, and now meet again as adults. Nine years after Kit Stansell and Mary Penley separate, they meet again in a French inn and have a passionate reunion [sigh]. But passion just isn't enough when political opinions differ. Each of them, of course, is involved in nineteenth century English politics. While the political/historical story provides a framework for the novel, it's the well drawn, likeable characters that make it move. And move it does. This was one of those rare books that I hated to see end.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
exciting Regency romantic suspense 10 Sept. 2006
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format: Paperback
Marquess Walter Stanstell expected his young naive wife Emilia to produce his heir and his spare. Following her doing well in 1771 providing him with "Wat", she realizes she is no different than the nearby livestock to her spouse, so she cuts a deal to give him one more purebred male and then he is to never touch her again; she will turn to other men but any offspring Walter must recognize. Walter agrees and nine months later Will is born followed by Belle, Kit and Georgy.

Over the years Walter and his neighbor Lord Penley became embroiled in a dispute. The two patriarchs warned their respective family members to stay away from their enemy, but Mary Penley and Kit Stanstell continued secretly to see one another until they fell in love and eloped. However, both were too immature to withstand family pressure until their relationship collapsed in spite of their desire for one another. Kit escaped to the military while Mary turned to the intelligentsia.

Almost a decade later, the pair meets only to immediately realize they remain in love, but agree on nothing else as he believes in national security while she considers freedom for all is more important. Trouble looms and Kit needs Mary's help to prevent a deadly scheme that threatens both their values as England is in jeopardy.

This Regency romantic suspense is an exciting tale of how Romeo and Juliet find a second chance at love while trying to save England. The story line is fast-paced from the time that Kit and Mary reunite and reignite their desire for one another and never slows down until the final post confrontation between the lead couple over the still timely security vs. freedom issue. Though the rationale seems reasonable, some will ask why Mary feels that strongly but none will question that Pam Rosenthal provides a very entertaining and enjoyable historical tale.

Harriet Klausner
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