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Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale (Avon, 1992)
I read it in February, 2010.

Why’d I Read It?

Nicola over at Alpha Heroes mentioned it while discussing another Kinsale novel, and it intrigued me.

What I Thought

Um, wow.

No, really.  I went in expecting another historical romance, maybe with some particularly witty banter or something.  What I got was a historical romance with a punch of reality.  It hit home, and I sat in my chair, shaking my head and saying, “Yes, yes, that’s exactly what it’s like.”

The “it” I’m referring to blew me away.  Spoiler alert: the hero suffers what I believe to be a debilitating stroke.  What blew me away was the author’s description of the hero’s thoughts and feelings during the stroke.

I haven’t had a stroke myself, but when I was 28 weeks pregnant with Nicolas, I suffered several seizures.  Eclampsia hit me hard and fast.  What I felt during the first seizure was exactly what Kinsale describes.  (I was unconscious during the subsequent ones.)

The honest, painful struggles of the hero dealing with his recovery, and the heroine’s fight for his rights, made the book for me.  The romance itself was a bit of a stretch, in my opinion, and I found myself disappointed in the heroine for not seeing through the obvious deception that led to the wedding.  I still thoroughly enjoyed myself, though.  What’s a romance without a smidge of unbelievability, anyway?

Favorite Lines

I was too enthralled to remember my Post-It flags, but I loved the hero’s speech processing after his stroke.  Very well done.

Would I Recommend It?

Did the Waltons take way too long to say goodnight?

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The Untamed Bride by Stephanie Laurens (Avon, 2009)
I read it January 29, 2010.
First in The Black Cobra Quartet, of course (if you’re a Laurens fan) revisiting characters from The Bastion Club and members of the Cynster family.

Why’d I read it?

I am a Laurens fan.

What I thought

Stephanie Laurens writes unapologetically steamy romances with strong, sensitive men and strong, willful women.  All of her books are tied together, with an extensive family tree a necessity to remind me of the connections.  I am never disappointed when I give up an afternoon or evening to one of her novels.  The romance in this particular story was straight forward, with the conflict left where I prefer it – good guys vs. bad guys.  I’m always disappointed when a novel relies upon one of the characters’ belief in their own shortcoming to provide the conflict.  While Delia, the heroine, has some understandable self-doubts, they are quickly (maybe a little too quickly?  Eh, who cares…) resolved when she meets the women of the extended Cynster family.  Kindred spirits.

In short, a fun, quick read.  I don’t put too much thought into my Guilty Pleasure Books (historical romances); when I read them, I just want to be whisked back in time for a few hours.  This certainly did the trick.

Would I recommend it?

If you’re a fan of steamy or series historicals, sure!

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