Thomas Lancaster is a widower who has recently received Middlemound Castle from King Edward for services rendered during the Crusades. He is a widower with a young son and, having lost his first wife to childbirth, he is unwilling to consider that path again.
Lady Gloriana Stewart was badly abused during her first marriage. She isn't looking forward to re-marrying, but she has people to protect and disobeying the king is not an option. Her wish is to have a little bit of happiness and she sees one way to gain that is by having a baby.
Complicating matters is Rowan Montgomery - a man who is her new husband's second in command, his friend.....and his lover. Matters get tangled between the threesome, but will they work out?
Their Lady Gloriana was an...interesting read overall.
The development of the relationship between Gloriana Stewart, Thomas Lancaster, and Sir Rowan Atkinson was well developed. How the characters interacted, the give and take, their history (old and new) kept me reading.
Having said that, I did have a couple issues with the story. I would have liked to see more of a historical backdrop to the story. Considering the time frame (13th Century England) and considering the type of relationship involved, what I would have liked to see is more of the general attitude (pro and con) towards this relationship for the time.
Considering the effort that went towards Thomas's reclaiming his son, I would have also liked to see more of the son make an appearance in the storyline. My feeling is that, it was more of a "fought, got, done deal" kind of scenario that left me a bit deflated - especially since the character is expending a lot of effort to actually be able to have his son back in his life.
Good way to pass the time, but not entirely sure the book will stay on my keeper shelves.
(Crossposted to Lily's Reviews, Librarything, GoodReads, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com)
To find out more about the author, click here
Black Velvet Seductions (both print and electronic versions)
Amazon.com (link is to print version, Kindle version available)
Barnes & Noble (link is to print version, electronic version may be available)
(Contains mild spoilers in the paragraph regarding Evan.)
Set in an alternate England of 1792, A Wicked Encounter is the story of Christopher Allwyne, the Duke of Bellwood, and Evan de Lombard, a Frenchman, who has come to claim the same property that Christopher believes he might inherit from his recently deceased aunt.
Evan and Christopher had already encountered each other and things go awry when Christopher finds out why Evan is in the area. It remains to be seen if they can work things out.
Let me start off by saying that I liked the book overall and it provided a nice reading break. While I would have liked to see more character development and a meatier storyline, I really enjoyed the author's descriptiveness and vivid writing.
Having said that, I do have a couple quibbles with the reading.
The first one is that, even though the author has stated in the foreward that the storyline is set in an alternate England and France where same sex marriage is allowed during the late 18th Century, I found myself going, "But, but, but...." during a good portion of the first time I read the story. Part of that reaction may come from my habit of reading the last chapter first before reading the story from the beginning. I actually like having that kind of a reaction during reading because it usually makes me evaluate whether it's just me or whether it is something that the author intended. Another part of the reaction, however, may be that, while the author does state in the foreward that marriage is acceptable between a same sex couple though rare, I would have liked to see some of the history of why and how it came to be accepted within the storyline itself. Was Christopher, as a lawyer, part of the movement that made it so? Or did it come to pass before he was even born? If so, how long before and what event acted as the impetus for the movement?
A second quibble I have with the story is Christopher himself. For someone who is, essentially, billed as the head of the family, he comes across as a bowl of quivering aspic and one that isn't entirely well set either. While Christopher is a member of the ton, and a certain different set of rules may apply (never mind the different era), I have had teachers who are/were practicing lawyers in different disciplines and having different personalities and, to me, they were of a stronger character than Christopher.
Another thing that stood out for me is Evan. Or, rather, his name. First, well, his first name. From what the reader finds out during the course of the story is that his mother (who is assumed to be French as her heritage is not mentioned) is married to a Frenchman and has an affair with an Englishman. It is worked out by all parties that the French couple will raise the son and that his English parentage will not be revealed. Now, it may just be me, but wouldn't a name like Evan raise some sort of flag? Then the last name. To my the best of my knowledge, the "Lombard" portion of the name has Italian connotations. I would have liked to see some sort of backstory to explain the history of the name within the story.
Aside from these and a couple other things that are due more to my own personal quirks, I really did enjoy the story provided in A Wicked Ecnounter though not everyone might.
If a reader is looking for a nice, quick read, then A Wicked Encounter is great.
(Cross-posted to Goodreads, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Silver Publishing, and Librarything.)
The author can be found at: http://sammyjohunt.livejournal.com/
Silver Publishing (both print and ebook formats)
Amazon.com (Kindle version available.)
Barnes & Noble (NOOK version only).
Beyond the Bougainvillea is the story of Mary Margaret - a smart, strong, loving, no-nonsense young woman - and how she goes from a motherless childhood and being married at sixteen to an abusive man in North Dakota to living in California's northern half (via Los Angeles).
It is also the story of the people who surround her. Her father, her husband, the Gundersons (neighbors who help her escape to California), Doctor Tom, the Malones (Boots, Annie, & Sue Anne), Nina, Cotton Eeagle, and various other people she comes into contact with along the way.
I started reading the book (a review copy I received from the publisher) not too long before heading to bed, thinking I would read a few pages just to get started, then pick it up again the following evening. That was my intention. What happened was that I finished the book in one sitting and, with a couple of hours before my day usually begins, I figured to catch up on sleep some other time.
I have enjoyed reading all of the books I have read in one way or another and I am glad to have read them all (even the ones that weren't entirely to my personal taste for whatever reason), but the books that I have read that wouldn't let go are not that many. Beyond the Bougainvillea is one of them.
It is a saga, yet is a story that has the feeling of sitting by a cozy fire at the same time. The characters - good, bad, and ugly - are splendidly told and, for the most part, have the feeling of people you might know next door or down the street (some of whom you might want to know better, some of them not so much). It is also a story of making do with what you have and mayhap having it turn into something better.
Great debut read.
(Cross-posted to Librarything, Goodreads, Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble
The book may be found for purchase at the following locations:
Bell Bridge Books
Barnes and Noble