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4.4 out of 5 stars36
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 4 August 2013
This was the first book I purchased for my new Kindle, and the first book I have ever read by Marie-Louise Jensen. To put my experience with that into perspective - that was two weeks ago and since then, I have read two more of her books.

This book is quite a journey. To begin with, we meet Isabelle while she is trying to commit suicide by drowning herself. Why she is in her wedding dress on the beach to begin with, we don't know. Upon failing to kill herself, she's desparate to get out of the water and live. And live, she will, but not in the way she has ever lived before.

She is picked out of the water by a group of men she first believe to be fishermen. But why would fishermen travel around in the dark in the middle of the night as silently as they can? It turns out that the men are pirates, and as she now knows that, they can't let her go. Isabelle knows that she would have nowhere to go even if she was released, but on board the pirate ship, she is forced into helping them, though she hates what they do.

Even though Isabelle initally is quite detestable - remarkably childish and spoiled - some of the pirates show her kindness and little by little, she learns to like them (and the reader learns to like her) and the thrill of fooling the king's men. Of course, there is also that one pirate - a nobly born one, it seems - that she just can't ignore.

This was such an amazing read. To start with, there is the development of the main character. At the start, Isabelle is difficult to like and acts like the spoilt nobleman's daughter she is. But as the story progresses, Isabelle changes and both the pirates and the reader starts to like her. It's a thrilling ride of a book, full of piratey adventures and a bit of romance.

The story held me catured until the end and not once did I get the feeling I wanted to put the book down and do something more fun. I finished the book at 3 am, and immediately went to the Kindle store to buy more books by this author. I had to stop myself after that though. Had I started reading the new book, I probably wouldn't have been able to put that down either and would have ended up reading all night and missing work!
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on 22 June 2013
I am a big fan of Marie-Louise Jensen's books. I read 'The Lady in the Tower' first and it is still one of my all time fave books! I have also read and recommend 'Between Two Seas' and 'The Girl in the Mask'. I plan on reading her other books too. Love them!

As for 'Smuggler's Kiss', I didn't really know what to expect. Jensen's books are so wonderfully diverse, although this one did kind of remind me of 'The Girl in the Mask' at times... Anyway. It is a really well written and plotted novel and I can't really fault it. Brilliant. It took me about a day to read.

The characters... I absolutely love that I disliked Isabelle at the start. She is a fantastic and refreshingly different protagonist. I adore Gentle Jacob, and Will and even the lesser characters are very vivid. I had a real sense of the characters growing and changing throughout the course of the story, which is really satisfying as a reader. There are some really sweet and tender moments, and some amusing moments that had me grinning. And, of course, there is plenty of adventure!

Some of the other reviewers call this a great summer read and, while I don't disagree, I think this would be a great winter read too! Reading about ships and smuggling on frosty seas while there is snow and ice outside your snug home? Perfect.

My only slight - very slight! - criticism might be Isabelle's secret. Credit to Jensen for building suspense, but when Isabelle did reveal her secret I just found it... Blah. I just thought, with all the smuggling and murder and excitement, this great secret that has Isabelle waking up screaming was just a little bit bland. Didn't quite fit. But that was the only thing that slightly bugged me. Apart from Isabelle's crying. She cries... a lot. No kidding. It's quite funny actually. Don't get me wrong, it suits her character. Just... brace yourself.

This is definitely a book worth a read. I am also urging you to read some of Jensen's other books! I really hope you won't be disappointed!
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on 19 March 2013
I really loved Smuggler's Kiss by Marie-Louise Jensen. I haven't read the author's previous books as yet, but she comes very highly recommended from my blogging friends. Especially now that my mind has been changed about historical fiction, it gives me great pleasure reading books like Smuggler's Kiss. Especially as this book was very adventurous and exciting as well as romantic. I loved the bit of mystery that surrounds both main characters and finding out more about their secrets really kept me turning the pages furiously.

There's something really timelessly appealing about a huge change in circumstance like the main character of our story, Isabelle, goes through in Smuggler's Kiss. At the start of the story, she's a bit snobbish and arrogant about her wealthy and priviledged position in the world. But things start to change when she is rescused from drowning by a ship full of smugglers. I really liked witnessing how much Isabelle changes - both physically and mentally during her time aboard this boat. She becomes less of the simpering, whinging weakling who can barely climb a hill and who has a very narrow view of the world into a strong young woman who is able to better see and understand the prejudices in her world.

And while this book is called 'Smuggler's Kiss' with the tagline 'It's not a crime to steal a heart' I really loved how the romance that is involved in this book is really quite subtle and is built-up slowly. But it's a slow-burn that makes its presence known throughout. I felt myself growing very attached to the characters that we meet and I felt incredibly invested emotionally towards Isabelle's romantic prospects.

I loved how exciting it felt reading this book and going on these adventures alongside these smugglers. Highly recommended!
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on 6 March 2013
This is possibly Marie-Louise Jensen's best book yet. It's a lovely romantic story, full of excitement, danger and fun, and with many layers of secrets. The narrator is fifteen-year-old Isabelle who begins the story by trying to drown herself off the Dorset coast and is rescued by the crew of a smuggler's ship - among them the enigmatic Will. The developing relationship between Isabelle and Will powers the story. Both are flawed but appealing characters, and both have secrets in their pasts which are gradually uncovered in a most satisfying way. The setting is attractive, and the action blended with descriptions of windswept cliffs, sea and ships adds greatly to the charm of the story.

As always with this writer, there is more to the story than romance, and I learned a lot about the contraband trade and the poverty that drove men to engage in it. The secrets carried by the two young people reveal the dark side of eighteenth century high society and the way women were treated as commodities to be bought and sold. However, although some shocking events are hinted at, there is nothing in this story to make it unsuitable for young readers.
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on 17 July 2013
This is one of my favourite books and would recomend it. It is about a young girl who has had a bad history of romance, and by bad i mean bad enough for her to try and kill herself. She is pulled out of the sea by a rowing boat and taken captive on a ship of smugglers. She is forced to help the smugglers on the ship, and comes to enjoy it. She was brought up a rich brat who didn't care about anyone but herself. Her character is forced to change on board. She falls in love with one of the smugglers but very soon her past comes back to haunt her. She also finds out the man she loves has a big heart breaking secret that he has been running away from. All sorts of unexpected secrets and scandals are revealed towards the end. (spoiler allert: it has a happy ending).
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on 3 August 2013
Originally posted on [...]
Smuggler's Kiss by Marie-Louise Jensen was another masterpiece to add to her already amazing collection. Jensen has been an author that I have followed and collected since I found one of her books The Lady in the Tower in a bookshop. She has a conversational tone to her writing and I find it makes for a welcoming smooth read, books that I can pick up, sit with a cup of tea, and fall into, transported to whatever magical scene Jensen has concocted. In Smuggler's Kiss this was a smugglers ship in 1720. Jensen weaves humour, danger, intrigue, suspense, intricate plots and romance to create this novel and quick note here - all Jensen's books are set in the past which I really adore as not only do I get to read an amazing story but I also get to experience a glimpse into the past made all the more accessible by Jensen's vivid and detailed descriptions of life in the 18th century (in this case).

Smuggler's Kiss follows Isabelle as she attempts to drown herself in the sea but is rescued by a band of smugglers and taken aboard their ship, The Invisible. Fearing that she will betray the smugglers keep her captive onboard but Isabelle being a blueblood, upper class woman, is unused to being alone amongst so many men and without servants. For the first couple of chapters she is a spoilt and unpleasant character acting more like a spoilt child than a teenage woman and you can't help wanting to slap her. However as she gets used to her situation and begins to warm to some of the smugglers she becomes a more pleasant character to follow. The romance between her and one of the smugglers Will is one of sparring and snide quips and sarcastic comments which makes for some very humourous and endearing (as you can guess it'll work out OK) scenes. It's always nice not to have a romance where the characters fall deeply and unrealistically in love and the reader has to cope with a ridiculous amount of gush and drivel for the whole novel.

I struggled to put down Smuggler's Kiss whilst I was reading it but looking back I wish I had as it would have made it last longer! It was lovely to read a book that had its own plot and didn't follow the generic outline of so many YA novels nowadays and being set in the past offers a break from this recent spat of dystopian futuristic novels that appear to be so popular. Jensen has again delivered a comforting read that I know I will enjoy reading again especially on a wet and windy night so I can imagine the howling cold wind rattling through the Invisible's sails as Isabelle would have. Though to be honest Jensen's description paints as vivid a picture as any and I could probably still imagine the punishing wind and sheets of rain, the waves from the rolling sea, even on a warm summer's day!
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on 18 July 2013
I don't usually comment on covers in my reviews but the cover of Smuggler's Kiss is sumptuous!

We begin with a very dramatic scene - Isabelle walking into the sea! Rescued by the crew of The Invisible, she gives nothing away about herself, not telling the truth about her background or what she's running away from.

Having been used to being waited on, life onboard is rough and harsh. Barely scraping through on votes from the crew to keep her alive, she's involved in a scene at Studland to scare official's away, which means she won't be able to tell anyone about the cargo The Invisible carries.

Once the toast of London society and the reigning beauty of Bath, Isabelle is reduced in status and cleanliness! At first acting like a spoilt brat with tantrums and her high principles, having experienced things like the Quarry workers plight for herself, she re-examines what she believes about the world.

Throughout the time on the ship, we see Isabelle become stronger - both in health and character. The banter she has going with Will and the parental bond with Jacob draws her emotionally into the life they lead. She takes on a chore on ship and starts to belong to the community.

Exciting and heart-pounding smuggling runs (loved the scene smuggling lace into Weymouth!), the historical time the story is set (the politics and economy), the innocence of the romance, the conflict and intrigue with both Will and Isabelle's backgrounds make this an exciting and engaging read for the YA reader. I would also recommend for the any age if you have an interest in history and of course, smuggling!

I would like to thank the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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on 28 May 2013
This book smuggled me away to another place, I was intrigued and fell completely into the story. It was so good, about a teenage girl with a past she wants to hide and a future which looks unsure. It's full of mystery, suspense and romance and you won't want to put it down! I was left feeling very satisfied at the end, but wishing I could read more. Such a great book by Marie-Louise Jensen - I've read all her other books too and they are brilliant. I highly recommend this to you, I doubt very much that it would disappoint you! Such a thrilling tale, set in the 1720s, with history and a great story mixed into one to make a fabulous book!
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on 10 March 2013
Ok - I'm a sucker for romantic fiction but it can be so completely sugar sweet that it's a delight when you come across a book that sizzles with bite and energy. Smuggler's kiss is the story of pompous snob Isabelle, and her journey to self discovery - but her adventures are genuinely thrilling, and I finished this book at 2.30 am - because I had to find out what happened.
Now reading to my 11 year old daughter who is loving it.
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on 10 August 2013
This was one of those rare 'I can't put it down' books. I actually read it in an afternoon. The characters were well thought out and smuggling was an interesting back drop for the story. It was definitely a book that kept you guessing until the end. Well written and immensely enjoyable.
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