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The Spare (Leisure Historical Romance) Paperback – 1 Oct 2010
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About the Author
Carolyn Jewel was born on a moonless night. That darkness was seared into her soul and she became an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical and paranormal romance. She has a very dusty car and a Master's degree in English that proves useful at the oddest times. An avid fan of fine chocolate, finer heroines, Bollywood films, and heroism in all forms, she has two cats and two dogs. Also a son. One of the cats is his. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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There are also some odd errors that I presume are limited to the Kindle edition.
Overall it's a good romance and the hero and heroine are well-drawn. The plot is not obvious and the conclusion is satisfying. For once the ghost story moves the plot along, rather than causing it to stop.
The Spare is a touch more sedate, elegant, with a dram of Paranormal/Gothic saying Jewel really has found her meter. This book is just so "assured" and it lets the reader settle into the spiraling story and enjoy it completely. It really leads me to look forward to her third book.
Sebastian Alexander is "a spare" - a younger son who never thought to rise to the earldom destined for his brother. He has pursued a career in the Royal Navy and had his life mapped out. He loved the life at sea. But suddenly he is beached. The "spare" is now an earl. Through a series of mysterious events, his brother is dead. Sebastian is wounded in battle and is recovering when news comes of his brother's murder. He must come to grips with his fate and the trouble surrounding his brother's death. There was a witness to the crime, one who could supply the answers to the dark riddles - Miss Olivia Willow. She was there that night, and was almost killed as well. She is the key to Sebastian learning why his brother died.
Only opening that key is not as easy as he hoped. Olivia, a vexingly beautiful redhead, cannot recall what happened that night. Three days of her memory is missing. Haunted by the ghost of his brother, Sebastian thinks this loss of memory is too convenient, too suspect and he will not rest until he unlocks the riddle of Olivia and knows everything she does about that fateful night.
Olivia is very beautiful, but a "poor relation". She is leery when the new earl invites her to his house party, invited to "even out the numbers". This gives Sebastian the chance to probe her story. Olivia is a strong character, one the readers will immediately identify and love. She lives on the edge of the gentry, but her poor means has held her back, yet she carries herself with a grace, serenity and ability to see past the surface of others. It's in Olivia where I see the most maturing in Jewel's writing. Olivia is just such a strongly defined character, so believable that she quickly has the reader wrapped around her delicate little finger. She is an outsider in this wealth and tries to remain on the edge, not attracting attention at the gathering. However, Sebastian will not permit that.
Their acquaintance begins as an adversarial one, though both sense an attraction. As Sebastian's investigation moves forward, he shifts from doubt to grudging respect, then into love. Again, Jewel demonstrates the growth in her talent by having such a strong relationship between these two wonderfully crafted characters. Sebastian's growing love for Olivia even has him fearing what he might learn as he unlocks the truth hidden in her mind.
Jewel just goes all out in this utterly radiant turn of the screw, where a ghost walks, romance sizzles and characters are so bloody brilliant!
I have read other Caolyn Jewel books including her previous book 'Lord Ruin' and will await the next with anticipation
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