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Deadlier Than the Male: The Fiercest Heart\Lethal Lessons (Harlequin Romantic Suspense)
Deadlier Than the Male: The Fiercest Heart\Lethal Lessons (Harlequin Romantic Suspense)

5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully wicked. Outstanding, 4 Dec 2010
DEADLIER THAN MALE teams up two unique voices in romantic suspense, Colleen Thompson and Sharon Sala, in spine-chilling short stories featuring wicked female characters. So wicked and devious are these women that the danger spirals deeper and deeper as they plot against two different couples. In both stories, danger has the possibility to destroy romance or bring couples closer together.... if they live long enough to survive the threat to their lives!

In Sharon Sala's "The Fiercest Heart," high school sweethearts Haley Shore and Mack Brolin reunite after 10 years. They had promised to wait for each other when Mack went away to college, but a car accident and the death of Haley's brother intervened. Now, the death of Haley's father and a terse announcement of his funeral summon Haley back to her hometown. Will Haley and Mack be able to rediscover the love they once had? Someone seems determined to keep them apart at any cost. Will Haley finally be able to stand up against the past?

In "The Fiercest Heart," Sharon Sala writes a suspenseful story about young love maturing in the face of danger and outside pressure, maturing enough to finally be able to stand up against the forces against them. The suspense lies not in the identity of the person plotting against them which the author reveals quite early but rather in the devious and outrageous lengths to which the person goes. As troubling as the villain is the town's inability to stand up for Haley as a youth. As the danger becomes more and more insideous, Mack and Haley are tested beyond their wildest dreams--- tested in ways that make them both stand up and free themselves of the past. At heart, "The Fiercest Heart" is a second chance romance in which danger provokes the psychological growth needed for their love to survive.

In Colleen Thompson's "Lethal Lessons," elementary school teacher Mara Stillwell escapes to Red Bluff, Arizona hoping to free herself of the past but the past has a way of following a person. Adam Jakes, her older brother's best friend, has a daughter Rebecca as a student in her class. The death of her mother haunts Rebecca. Rumors and warnings about Adam abound in this small western town, but Mara finds herself trusting the man, a man who, when he was much younger, used to set her heart afire. As Mara tries to help Rebecca, will Mara place her trust in the wrong person? Will the love growing between Mara and Adam be able to survive the danger or will the past finally catch up to them?

"Lethal Lessons" is a chilling tale of romance and suspense as past and setting merge to inflame the passions of a vicious villain. As in her previous works, Colleen Thompson brilliantly makes use of setting to bring out the inner demons and compassion of her characters. In the small town of Red Bluff, from the tighter environment of home and work, a threat emerges in the least expected place. Rumors have more effect and positions of authority can be used to the detriment of individuals. As the dark secrets of the heart emerge, the danger escalates, but so does the possibility of romance, and a compassion that grows from the conflict, a compassion that transforms all those around the couple. Romantic suspense fans will relish the clever and fun echoes of past classics to which Colleen Thompson pays homage. A brilliant twist!

As well as the enjoyment of each individual tale, DEADLIER THEN MALE is even more richly enjoyed by the pairing of the two individual stories. Read in the context of the other story, the finer nuances of each emerges through contrast and comparison. Similar themes in each, handled differently by each author, bring out the individual voice of each. DEADLIER THEN MALE would make an excellent book club choice for romantic suspense fans for exactly this reason. Unfortunately, the publisher diminishes the brilliance of the editor choice to pair these two particular stories and these two particular authors by the difference of font size on the cover. Whether you come to this book as a fan of Colleen Thompson or of Sharon Sala, notice how the unique voice of each makes both stand out as quite special. This reader certainly hopes to see more collaboration between these two as well as their individual works! A keeper for fans of romantic suspense!

COURTESY OF BOOK ILLUMINATIONS


Mistletoe and the Lost Stiletto (Mills & Boon Cherish)
Mistletoe and the Lost Stiletto (Mills & Boon Cherish)
by Liz Fielding
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Christmas Cinderella Romance!, 2 Dec 2010
Suddenly Lucy Bright had everything a girl could want. From getting noticed during a secretarial job interview to becoming the fianceé of retail tycoon Rupert Henshawe, this modern Cinderella has a fairy tale life... until she discovers everything is a sham! All her dreams were the manipulations of a clever publicity stunt. As Lucy runs away from Rupert, the false dreams, and the media buzz, she accidentally falls straight into the arms of Nathaniel Hart. From the moment Nathaniel sees her eyes, he is drawn to the mysterious woman, wanting to protect her. Just as quickly, she slips through his arms. Will Nathaniel be able to find the woman of his dreams? Even more daunting a task awaits him. If he finds her, will he be able to get her to trust him? Having been fooled once, will Lucy find true love, the kind of love that transcends the glitz by reaching down to the heart?

MISTLETOE AND THE LOST STILETTO is a fun modern twist on the Cinderella story, complete with references to Twitter, CCTV cameras and cell phones, that also stirs the heart a timeless Christmas message. Liz Fielding does an excellent job at showing the emptiness of the false glamor of a fairy tale in name only. Precise imagery heightens the sensation of Lucy's fear as she escapes the media and Rupert. This hint of action and light suspense keeps the reader glued to the pages as Nathaniel tries to hunt her down. From the beginning, Liz Fielding presents Nathaniel as a man of honor and generous spirit as he aims to protect Lucy as a patron of his store. Liz Fielding deftly creates a contrast between Rupert, seen mostly through his advertising handlers, and Nathaniel, seen directly through his own thoughts.

MISTLETOE AND THE LOST STILETTO is a wonderful romance to read during the Christmas season. As all the advertising and emphasis on commercialism revs up into high gear, this modern Cinderella story lays bare the emptiness of the media frenzy with a story of the heart. Together, Lucy and Nathaniel find something more solid and richer, something beyond appearances. MISTLETOE AND THE LOST STILETTO is a playful, whimsical Cinderella romance from start to finish and at the same time, a Christmas romance that rejuvenates the heart. A romance must read for the holidays and a perfect Christmas gift for the romance reader too!


A Golden Web
A Golden Web
by Barbara Quick
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge, dedication, imagination and the pursuit of a dream, 6 April 2010
This review is from: A Golden Web (Hardcover)
As a young girl, Alessandra Giliani has a voracious thirst for books and knowledge. While her brother Nicco chafes at the rigorous Aristotle studies assigned to him, Alessandra possesses an uncanny knowledge, not only from books but from observation of the natural world and the people around her. Alessandra has access to all the books that come through her father's workshop but even those are not enough for her inquisitive mind. Alessandra is a girl with dreams, dreams bigger than the options usually available to girls and women in medieval Italy whose choices are often either marriage or the convent. When her family arranges a marriage with a young man, Alessandra hatches a bold, daring plan with her siblings that opens up a new world to her that she could not even imagine in her wildest dreams. Through trials, dedication, study and imagination, Alessandra's pioneer medical research opens up new pathways, new ways of seeing the human body.

Barbara Quick's young adult historical novel A GOLDEN WEB tells the story of one of the lesser widely known medieval women, but nevertheless an unusual woman whose life and achievements deserve to be more than a footnote in history. A GOLDEN WEB focuses on the the youth and achievements of Alessandra Giliani, an Italian anatomist who served as the first woman prosector, or preparer of dissections for anatomical study. Through an exquisite combination of meticulous historical research and poetic imagination, Barbara Quick makes her characters come alive on the pages and in the heart. Through Alessandra's interactions with others and nature, the reader discovers the inspiration, creativity and compassion that drive her heart. Through her deep love of books and all knowledge, the reader catches a glimpse of the intricate insights that will later influence her studies and medical research. Alessandra is a girl whose inner fortitude and imagination allows her to realize her dreams and more in an age when the role for women was narrowly circumscribed. She does not compromise her goals or herself to others. Barbara Quick's portrait of Alessandra will inspire modern young adult readers who themselves have hidden dreams and aspirations.

Barbara Quick takes the reader right into the heart of the medieval Italy. From Alessandra's childhood to the halls of the University of Bologna, from the presence of Dante on the sidelines to the Arabic influence on philosophy and medicine, the reader becomes completely immersed in the environment that surround her characters. Barbara Quick's vivid descriptions of the luxurious details of medieval books will fill any book lover's imagination with the beautiful treasure books are to readers. The narrative style is fluid and approachable to young adults but Barbara Quick has not sacrificed any of the beauty of historical fiction. Indeed, her powerful use of imagery and her ability to integrate authentic historical detail seamlessly into her story raises the standard of the whole Young Adult category to a new height, in my opinion. Rather than talking down to her younger readers, Barbara Quick inspires the imagination,taking them on a journey through medieval Italy through the life of a woman who has much in common with many young adult girls (and some older women whose age has not lessened the girl within).

A GOLDEN WEB is the kind of book that should win several awards. A GOLDEN WEB will appeal to a wide variety of readers, young adult and older: book lovers who treasure books, girls or women who love art, girls or women who love science (especially medicine), readers who love history or historical fiction, readers possessing a curiosity for any field of knowledge. A GOLDEN WEB is a book for daughters, mothers, and grandmothers to share with one another. A GOLDEN WEB would make a great gift for young men and women in the medical field or those who aspire to be. A special note to all medieval enthusiasts, no matter what your age --- don't wait for the paperback! A GOLDEN WEB is a book to treasure for many years!

Courtesy of Medieval Book Reviews/Book Illuminations


Oh-So-Sensible Secretary / Housekeeper's Happy-Ever-After (Mills & Boon Romance)
Oh-So-Sensible Secretary / Housekeeper's Happy-Ever-After (Mills & Boon Romance)
by Jessica Hart
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, fun, invigorating romance, 19 Feb 2010
Summer Curtis sits waiting for the arrival of her new boss, Phin Gibson. Her desk is in perfect order, her nails perfectly manicured. Everything is perfectly organized exactly like Summer likes it, except that her new boss is late. Phin Gibson's reputation precedes him. He takes groups of people into the wild territories to complete tasks under the most appalling conditions --- not exactly the professional type to settle into running Grieve and Gibson. Phin may be gorgeous but can his laid-back, disorganized ways are all too familiar to Summer. Besides, Summer still has her eyes set on Jonathan. When Phin comes up with a plan to please the firm's publicity and make Jonathan jealous in the process, Summer listens to reason --- but is she really listening instead to her heart? Can Phin show the ever so sensible secretary how to let go and have fun? Will this commitment-phobic playboy find in Summer the one thing lacking in all his adventures?

Jessica Hart's OH-SO-SENSIBLE SECRETARY is an absolute delight from first page to last. The first person narration gives this romance a sassy energy that makes this romance stand out as special. Phin may not exactly be the kind of professional boss his brother is, but as a man, he is simply irresistible. Underneath the glamor of his public image, the man has a heart of gold. Even his ways are a bit unorthodox, he brings a wonderful combination of fun and honor to his crazy plans. Who couldn't fall for his ways? Jessica Hart's handling of the first person narrative, a point of view rarely seen in category romance, is brilliant! Like Phin, Jessica Hart brings a fresh invigorating perspective to the genre --- just the remedy for the late winter-almost spring doldrums. With each romance, Jessica Hart brings a freshness and challenge to the genre. OH-SO-SENSIBLE SECRETARY a treasure. Brava!

COURTESY OF BOOK ILLUMINATIONS


Christmas Angel for the Billionaire (Harlequin Romance)
Christmas Angel for the Billionaire (Harlequin Romance)
by Liz Fielding
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Christmas Romance!, 16 Dec 2009
Lady Roseanne Napier lives her life in the public eye as the paragon of virtue. From the moment she held her grandfather's hand at her parents' funeral, Annie has lived in the shadow of her parents' fame. On the tenth anniversary of their murder, at the tender age of 16, she opened a children's hospice in honor of her mother. As Lady Rose, Annie is an icon of perfection. Each and every move is captured by the press. With such a worthy goal behind the publicity, how can she do otherwise? Yet the woman in her wants something richer and more substantial than image. When the opportunity for escape presents itself, Annie seizes the chance to break from her guarded life with an unplanned adventure. Leaving her aristocratic image behind, Annie plans to experience life on her own without plan or protection. When spontaneity leads to a disabled car, circumstances place Annie right in the presence of handsome George Saxon. Drawn together, Annie and George form a relationship. Whether they spar or share the intimacy of a home cooked recipe, Annie experiences life and love within the difficult but delightfully imperfect moments beyond public image. Can their love survive the secret of her true identity? Or his?

In the opening scenes of CHRISTMAS ANGEL FOR THE BILLIONAIRE, Liz Fielding draws the reader in with short news stories of deep cultural icons that reach generations. With just enough details reminiscent of John Kennedy, Jr. or Lady Diana yet enough differences to create a unique character, Liz Fielding creates emotion and empathy for her characters by reaching into those private moments that are also part of a cultural memory. Here and in later moments of the book in something as simple as a cookbook, in precise moments well-placed, Liz Fielding has a unique ability to capture rich images that speak worlds. In these moments, Liz Fielding moves beyond image to substance, summoning a whole emotional depth that resonates within a reader. The romance between Annie and George moves from a fairy tale kind of image to one which reaches into the characters' vulnerabilities, challenging them. In some ways, George is not the ideal hero of romantic fantasy but the tension between them is just the catalyst Annie needs to discover herself and experience a love beyond image. The character growth is not one-dimensional. Annie and her love transform George as well. What a delightful perfect ending with just the perfect media twist!

CHRISTMAS ANGEL FOR THE BILLIONAIRE is a wonderful Christmas romance to cheer the heart. CHRISTMAS ANGEL FOR THE BILLIONAIRE turns tragedy into a happy ending through the magic of love. Liz Fielding creates a modern romance rendition of a fairy tale, of royalty shedding the trappings to experience life in this duet later continued in HER DESERT DREAM. Liz Fielding reaches beyond image glitter to create a romance packed full of humor, dynamic emotions, and substance. Here as in other romances, Liz Fielding is an expert in packing whole rich emotional worlds into the format of a category romance. Indeed, the precision with which she uses imagery, plot and emotion often outshines romances of a much longer page count. Liz Fielding turns the short category romance into an art form with the tight precision of her writing. CHRISTMAS ANGEL FOR THE BILLIONAIRE is no exception. Once again, Liz Fielding dazzles with a romance to touch the heart with just the right Christmas story.

COURTESY OF BOOK ILLUMINATIONS


Honeymoon with the Boss (Mills & Boon Romance)
Honeymoon with the Boss (Mills & Boon Romance)
by Jessica Hart
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light joyous romance to lift the spirits, 21 May 2009
Imogen Hobbs can't help dream about her new handsome boss. Tom Maddison may be all business, but with his looks, even his efficient secretary can't deny his charm. Imagine her surprise when he assigns her the task of planning the honeymoon for his upcoming marriage! When the wedding falls apart at the last minute, sensible Tom can't see wasting all that money. Instead, why not use the opportunity to plunge himself even further into his work? Tom heads to the remote Coconut Island with his sensible secretary with the intent on hunkering down to work without distractions. Once there, both Imogen and Tom find the distractions of this tropical business trip a bit more than they ever imagined. But can this momentary paradise become something more than just a fleeting moment under the sun?

Though efficient in her job, Imogen Hobbs is a free spirit. Vibrant, young and adventurous, she just is not ready to settle down into a career at this point in her life. Her boss Tom is practical and a workaholic. He would rather do a business deal than plan his own wedding. Will Imogen be able break through his no-nonsense exterior? Even more importantly, will Tom be able to unlock her deepest desire, a desire once lost and which she thinks is now impossible to find? Will Imogen and Tom discover that life is better with one another than alone?

HONEYMOON WITH THE BOSS is classic Jessica Hart through and through, from front page to the last. Jessica Hart brings two seemingly opposites together and lets the fun begin. Fans will enjoy the dialogue as the two characters learn about each other, sharing light whimsical moments and the deeper desires of their hearts. The chemistry between Imogen and Tom, strong but kept hidden from one another, breaks forth in a memorable moment of laughter. Jessica Hart perfectly captures the spontaneity and unexpected, fun moments of love growing in the heart. HONEYMOON WITH THE BOSS is a light, joyous romance to life the spirits. With its lush tropical setting, HONEYMOON WITH THE BOSS is a perfect romance to inspire a reader's summer imagination. Unlike my visions of the typical tropical holiday, their excursion is a true fantasy without all the tourists and tourist traps --- but how much of a fantasy will this vacation be for a boss and his assistant who had no plans for romance together? Jessica Hart turns that question into fantasy, laughter and fun in a romance that reaches the depths of her characters' hearts.

COURTESY OF BOOK ILLUMINATIONS


The Once and Future Prince (Silhouette Desire)
The Once and Future Prince (Silhouette Desire)
by Olivia Gates
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting new romance voice takes it to the next level!, 10 May 2009
The Mediterranean kingdom of Castaldini has a unique flavor, not only in the mixing of Italian and Moorish culture but even more so for the stringent rules governing the line of succession. Each king must satisfy the royal council of the reigning king and prove himself worthy in virtue, health, parentage, character and the success he has earned of his own merit. Although these rules all sound noble to the outsider, the founding ruler created a hotbed of competition within the men vying to become king. All his life, Prince Leandro D'Agostino fought to prove himself worthy but when his thoughts and actions scandalized the kingdom, the ruling party had no choice but to banish this renegade. Now, King Benedetto faces the same dilemma as the founder of the empire. He can no longer delay choosing a successor. He sends Phoebe Alexander on a mission to bring Leandro back. Once Leandro's lover, Phoebe refused to leave with him when he left the kingdom. Now, she must find a way to seduce him into returning to the kingdom that exiled him. Leandro decides to turn the tables on Phoebe and the king, refusing to return unless Phoebe herself bows to his command. Phoebe knows she can never be his queen. Leandro certainly made that evident years before. With the passions reignited between Phoebe and Leandro, can love find a way of breaking through the past betayals?

As the first book in the Castaldini Crown trilogy, THE ONCE AND FUTURE PRINCE sets the stage for the series with the creation of a fascinating legendary country that struggles between the ancient customs and the increased pressures of modernity. Olivia Gates makes the country an integral part of the romance, not only in the beautiful sensuous landscape but also the country and its legendary history reveals the depth within her characters. The hero Leandro is just as intense and wonderful as the readers encountered in her previous Throne of Judar series and yet, in her new series, Olivia Gates gives readers a hero with a unique flair. Powerful, emotional, successful, Leandro is the rebel of the family. He is not about to surrender for the sake of making peace when he knows he is right. Although guided by his values, Leandro is not moderate in his passion, not for the woman or the country he loves. Just how far will he go to win back the love of Phoebe? Amid the intensity of the hero, Olivia Gates gives amazing insights into the heroine's character, particularly the changes within her. At first, Leandro seems to be the focus of this romance, but Phoebe's story motivates the key moments in this romance. She is the force within the romance. Sometimes one mere sentence marks the transformation within her but that one sentence, that one step, reveals so much about her character. Phoebe's development is the jewel within the main narrative.

Part fairy tale, part archetypal, the notion of a good king creates the backdrop against which Leandro must struggle as the rebellious prince, particularly as politics, family and love create a conflict deep within the hero. In the creation of the Castaldini kingdom, Olivia Gates creates a unique flavor by integrating some of the best aspects of historical romance genre in the creation of her kingdom and yet she adds an exciting contemporary twist to her romances as the kingdom and its royal family struggle to combine tradition with modern life. As a relatively new but distinct romance voice, Olivia Gates has a powerful vision to bring together readers from various subgenres with her passionate characters and fascinating exotic landscapes.

Olivia Gates just has some of the best one-liners. And some wonderful insults! Sometimes I wish I could memorize them to pull out in times of dealing with some of the occasional jerks one encounters in life! Throughout the romance in dialogue and otherwise, the language is at once very classic and innovative, poetic and delightfully descriptive. My main feeling after reading this was...how many more days until I can read the next one? In ONCE AND THE FUTURE PRINCE, Olivia Gates writes a romance that will jolt a romance reader out of a reading slump. Passionate, poetic, and packed full of tension, THE ONCE AND FUTURE PRINCE is one powerful romance.


Sold and Seduced (Mills & Boon Historical)
Sold and Seduced (Mills & Boon Historical)
by Michelle Styles
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Roman historical romance with rich historical detail and just a dash of fairy tale, 25 April 2009
Rome, 69 B.C. Lydia Veratia has always led a respectable life. Lydia's father is known for his status and political connections and yet, he has taught her the family business. With an emotional closeness to her father and her dedication to work, Lydia is intelligent and practical and nothing like the frivolous Roman ladies who occupy themselves with frivolous matters. Lydia Veratia is a determined woman, a woman determined to keep her dignity despite the one mistake she made --- a mistake for which she takes responsibility, even if it means agreeing to marry Sea Wolf, a man known for his temper. Sea Wolf is a man known for his prowess at sea, a man who could wrestle the very wrath of the mighty oceans. Now he has a greater ambition --- to become a senator and he will do exactly what he needs to be elected --- even if means marrying the daughter of a family whom he does not trust. Once married, Lydia makes every attempt to return home to her father. Exasperated by her attempts to flee, Aro offers her a deal. If she does not plea for his kisses three times within seven days, he will release her from the obligation of the marriage contract and give her the independence she craves. Lydia thinks she can win easily but Aro has other plans for her. Can he seduce her and win her heart?

SOLD AND SEDUCED is a beautiful story of a woman learning to let go of her family and look inside herself and a man coming to terms with the real desires of his heart. Once the apple of her father's eye, Lydia worships her father. Although she stands up and takes responsibility for her mistakes, a small part of her still cannot help look back at her family with a hope of return. Can Aro prove himself worthy in her eyes? As Aro wrestles to gain her trust and loyalty, an outside threat endangers his plans. Only by trusting one another with their darkest secrets can the two have any hope against the looming danger that threatens to ruin their chances for happiness.

Michelle Styles once again delights with her ability to set a scene that brings readers into the period and her characters. Michelle Styles packs her historical romance with just the right amount of historical details to bring this ancient history to life. In SOLD AND SEDUCED, one easily visualizes the rooms and the layout of the romance's landscape from the atrium to the businesses along the coast. Although most readers are familiar with images of the Roman ruins and and diagrams of the atrium, when reading SOLD AND SEDUCED, the ruins come alive in the mind's eye, not as ruins but fresh, new and populated with real people of the period, not current day tourists.

In SOLD AND SEDUCED, Michelle Styles moves from the intriguing innocent yet brave heroine in A NOBLE CAPTIVE to a different kind of heroine, bringing variety to her Roman romances. Like Helena in her previous romance, Lydia is strong and determined but in SOLD AND SEDUCED, Michelle Styles now moves from the temple sibyl right into the heart of a Roman family of influence. Through language and inner thoughts, the reader feels Lydia's reserved demeanor and the atmosphere of the patrician background throughout the first part of the romance. As Lydia discovers her heart's desire, a delightful twist, both humorous and flirtatious, emerges between the couple when Lydia feels free to respond to him. Those who have come to love Michelle Styles wicked villains will certainly be intrigued by the the characters and twists at the end. In SOLD AND SEDUCED, Michelle Styles gives historical romance readers what they crave --- a strong sense of history, and one integrated into the very crux of the romantic conflict, mixed with just a dash of a fairy tale task to ramp up the stakes of the romance. Delightful!


A Noble Captive (Mills & Boon Historical)
A Noble Captive (Mills & Boon Historical)
by Michelle Styles
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roman Romance: Honor, passion and divided loyalties!, 27 Mar 2009
In 75 BC without a Roman navy, piracy has become a serious problem that threatens shipping and capturing Roman citizens for ransom, or ina worst case scenario, slavery. Within this historical moment, Michelle Styles sets her second Roman romance. Captain Androceles captures Marcus Livius Tullio on the high seas and brings him to the Temple of Kybele. As a proud defender of Rome and his men, Tullio bargains stands up for a better position than the dark hold of the pirate's ship. There his men will suffer and die but will he find himself in a more precarious position in the temple as a prisoner under the watch of the sybil? Helena will do everything in her power to protect the people under the Temple's protection. When Tullio asks the sybyl for the protection of the Kybele, she must do the bidding of the goddess despite her hatred for Rome and all for which it stands. Determined to protect his men, Tullio must find a way to turn the tables in his favor and show Helena that he, and thus Rome as well, is a strong and honorable advocate. Helena must protect her secret at all costs but the closer she finds herself to this strong handsome man, the more she fears that she will succumb to his charms. She cannot betray her people, not when the fate of the Kybele temple might rest in her power. The more Tullio sees Helena and her proud determination, the more he realizes they have in common. Can Tullio and Helena, each sworn to protect conflicting interests, find a way to protect each other from the dangers they face? Can they follow the love in their hearts or will their alliances prevent them from choosing love over duty?

Both Helena and Tullio are proud and honorable characters. Each is driven by their duty to others. Each has a boldness tthat makes them take risks when a man or woman more faint of heart would hesitate. Each feels a compassion for people in their charge. Once in her charge, Helena cannot help but feel compassion for the plight of this crew, and yet she must watch her step because if he gets too close to the truth, one slip might betray her people. With his life and the life of his men at stake, Tullio must prove to her the honor of Rome. Helena is both innocent and courageous as she faces the greatest danger to the Temple of Kybele. A simple harmless subterfuge to protect the sybil's position suddenly puts everything at risk when Tullio threatens to unmask her. Tullio must ferret out her weakness and use it to his advantage, but when he does, how can he ever betray the woman who has stolen his heart? When forced to choose between love and duty, what will Helena choose.

In A NOBLE CAPTIVE, Michelle Styles creates strong characters perfectly matched in temperment with a riveting conflict, both personal and historical, that drives them apart. Androceles makes a wonderfully wicked villain. Michelle Styles increases the drama of the conflict not only through his character but through the historical setting as two opposing forces meet on the island that houses a holy temple. Through Helena, the reader is drawn into the life of the Kybele temple, feeling their plight, and cheering for her boldness and courage in the face of danger. Through Helena, the reader sees the dignity of the temple as well as the innovations, the tricks and the deeply felt respect for the sibyl's powers. The reader feels the heart of the religion. A religion remote and distant to a modern reader takes on a whole new understanding through Michelle Styles' characters and setting. As the temple faces dangers within and without, the romance between Helena and Tullio deepens in drama and emotion. Michelle Styles takes readers on thrilling ride to the happy ending as duty and love challenge her characters to the limit.

In her second Roman romance, A NOBLE CAPTIVE, Michelle Styles takes the reader into a fascinating period of Roman history, making history come alive in the personal lives of her characters. The view of the Temple, especially the activities of the sibyl fascinate with the details of daily life and the larger perspective given of the temple's place within the dynamics of the realm. Michelle Styles gives the reader a feel for the ancient religion in the hearts of the temple residents. Amid the conflicts between Androceles, Tullio and Helena, the reader feels the pulse of the period. Michelle Styles grounds her romance in meticulously researched historical detail. A NOBLE CAPTIVE gives the reader the joy of learning history that comes from historical romance, and yet it does more. A NOBLE CAPTIVE also brings the history into the reader's heart, feeling history through her character's hearts, from the inside as well as the dramatic moment of history that challenges them from the outside. A NOBLE CAPTIVE is an excellent choice for romance readers who crave both history and romance without having to sacrifice either for the other. A special kudos to Michelle Styles for her passionate exploration of the more unusual corners of history in the historical romance genre!


His Captive Lady (Mills & Boon Historical - medieval romance)
His Captive Lady (Mills & Boon Historical - medieval romance)
by Carol Townend
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique fresh voice in Medieval romance, 17 Mar 2009
Half-Saxon, half-Norman, Saewulf Brader longs for something more than his current position. Even if he cannot be knight, at least he might be rewarded with land for his loyalty to his liege lord. Her father dead during the Battle of Hastings, Erica knows she must end the blood feud between her family and another Saxon tribe if the Saxons have any chance of driving away the Normans. She will do anything to stop the blood feud, no matter what the cost to herself. When Wolf enters Guthlac's hall as a spy, Erica's beauty captivates him while the threat from Guthlac's men stirs his heart and memory. He must do everything he can to protect her. Torn between his duty to his liege lord and his desire for Erica, can Wulf keep her safe without compromising his spy mission? Will Erica ever be able to trust him when she discovers he is a spy for the Normans?

HIS CAPTIVE LADY is an awesome Medieval romance! From Carol Townend's past works THE NOVICE BRIDE and AN HONORABLE ROGUE, I already knew I liked her writing style I would love her writing no matter what story she writes, but HIS CAPTIVE LADY is even more incredible than my wildest dreams! Wulf is amazing hero. His divided loyalties create a depth of character seen from inside his heart and values, a heart both loyal to the Saxon culture and his Norman lord and yet a heart that longs for love and a higher good that transcends political loyalties. Wulf cleverly manages to act with honor and deal with the trouble that came his way...and trouble he saw aplenty! Carol Townend creates such an ingenious yet tender-hearted man ----brave like a warrior, and a heart more noble than any knight. Erica with her innocence, her daring, her values steals the heart from the first pages. Erica is a bit of a trailblazer in her desire for peace and yet Carol Townend also allows the reader to see her fears and her devotion to those who serve her.

Guthlac, Hrothgar and all the Saxons made my Medieval heart go aflutter. HIS CAPTIVE LADY give such an accurate picture of that culture both after the Battle of Hastings and in the legends and history in the hearts of the Saxons. Carol Townend paints such an awesome image of the warrior arm rings in this one scene that she made me see my medieval studies in a new way, with a new vision ---a human vision --- but it wasn't just that one scene. Carol Townend picks up on that scene and develops it into a beautiful theme interwoven throughout the story. In another beautiful, amazing scene (so awesome that I had to read it aloud to friends telling them how it just made me gasp from its beauty), the author takes and changes the Beowulf story in the life of a character who lived later. Once more, this scene is not dropped but changed and developed throughout the story. Everything in this book just fits so well together as echoes of past scenes reverberate in new contexts, adding layers of richness to this romance. I adored the picture Carol Townend paints of the changes in the Saxon culture after the Normans have invaded. Beautiful imagery!

HIS CAPTIVE LADY---how does a person even describe a book that just hits a reader on every chord except to say that for me, this book was 7th heaven. How much do love this book? Rating: 5++! It's more than a rating though. I actually bought multiple copies of this book for me because I want to re-read this book so much that I will wear it out more than once. HIS CAPTIVE LADY is not just a 2008 top ten read but a top all time read for me! HIS CAPTIVE LADY with its fine rendition of Medieval Saxon culture and literature is a romance that will appeal to both historical romance lovers and Medievalists alike!


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