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Souvenir of Love (Berkley Sensation) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Feb 2004
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I hope there is a third book....This is a great world she has created with myriad characters, broad histories, and events that keep building. There are so many directions she can go, so many interesting characters on which to focus. I can't wait for the next one! I want more!
James refuses to marry Elizabeth. Rafe demands satisfaction as James dishonored his family. In the subsequent duel between two men Elizabeth loves, Rafe wounds James. While convalescing, James begins to ponder how he lives and how he scandalized innocent Elizabeth. He also realizes he misses her, which turns into a revelation that he now knows he loves Elizabeth. While working on a dangerous mission James wonders how he will convince his beloved to forgive his cavalier attitude, as he wants her forever.
Though the sequel to the delightful SOUVENIR COUNTESS (Rafe's story) has less of the French Revolution as a backdrop SOUVENIR OF LOVE is an enjoyable late eighteenth century romance that will bring plenty of pleasure to sub-genre readers. The story line focuses on the changing attitude of James who knows he done her wrong and is being punished not by the Ton, but his own heart. He makes the novel work though his sister is a classic rat. Elizabeth is a great character and fans will appreciate Joanna Novin's latest charmer due to the metamorphosis of the lead male.
Elizabeth Harcrest is eligible, beautiful, rich, and reckless. And in love with James Dinsmore, the future Duke of Dinsmore. What she doesn't know is that he's agreed to help his sister plot her bitter revenge against the Harcrests by seducing then exposing Elizabeth to the elite of the ton, thereby ruining her reputation forever.
What James doesn't expect to feel is a crushing guilt that lays heavily on his conscience, resulting in him becoming a spy in order to escape from it. As he is conferring with Rafe (Elizabeth's brother and the hero of Souvenir Countess), Elizabeth's hears through a thin wall and demands that he bring her on this "adventure". With no way out, James reluctantly lets her tag along as his pretend bride.
The romantic aspect of the plot is very weak as there are barely any scenes in which the hero and heroine experience sexual tension. Bedroom scenes that have great potential are skipped over with haste and the scene where she loses her virginity to him is far too short considering how long the reader had to wait for it. I could hardly see the emotional growth between that led them to fall in love with each other. Several times, I felt Elizabeth too selfish and spoiled while James is too weak and subversive.
The ending of the story is a cliffhanger of sorts which I didn't appreciate...I feel that an epilogue would have made the book much better.
Convalescing, James soon comes to realize that his sister�s revenge has left a bitter taste in his mouth. He is finding it hard to erase the memories of Elizabeth - her lips and her body from his mind. Therefore, when he is approached to undertake a dangerous mission for the home office by going to war torn France to rescue a man vital to helping England win the war his guilt and remorse over the part he�d played in harming Elizabeth compel him to agree. What a kick in the butt to find that he would have to work with her brother to set up the network to succeed. Elizabeth learning of James mission, and hurt that he never asked for her hand in marriage, blackmails him to take her along for the adventure and to teach James a lesson. As the danger and adventures increase, they both come to learn the lessons that only involved hearts can teach.
This sequel to SOUVENIR COUNTESS (Rafe�s story) picks up wonderfully from where it left off and continues this wonderful tale with settings in France during the dangerous and tumultuous time of the French Revolution. James previously portrayed as an unconscionable rake, has an epiphany of sorts after realizing how going along with his obnoxious sister has ruined an innocent � a person that he realizes he has feelings for. Elizabeth also comes to the conclusion that her self-centered actions not only hurt herself but those she loved. The secondary characters - the team assembled to help James in rescuing the French émigré - were all fully developed and set the stage for the next sequel. Fast paced, amusing, sensual and thoroughly entertaining fully describe this author�s latest novel. The author leaves me with much anticipation to see what happens next and I am so looking forward to the next novel, in this series. Also note that if you have not read the first book of this series, SOUVENIR OF LOVE can most certainly stand-alone. This was a wonderful and inspiring addition to a new and outstanding author�s historical romance series that I fully recommend to lovers of this sub-genre. -- Submitted by Marilyn Rondeau, Official Reviewer for [...]