Laura Kinsale's unique and powerfully written love stories transcend the romance genre. In this, her first new book in five years, she delivers a poignant, funny, sexy, Regency romance sure to delight her many fans and attract a whole new readership.
Trevelyan and Callie are childhood sweethearts with a taste for adventure, until the fateful day her father discovers them embracing in the carriage house and, in a furious frenzy, drives Trevelyan away in disgrace. Nine long, lonely years later, Trevelyan returns. Callie discovers that he can still make her blood race and fill her life with excitement, but he can't give her the one thing she wants more than anything—himself. For Trevelyan, Callie is a spark of light in a world of darkness and deceit. Before he can bear to say his last goodbyes, he's determined to sweep her into one last, fateful adventure, just for the two of them.read more
Laura Kinsale is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of THE SHADOW AND THE STAR, SEIZE THE FIRE, THE PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT, FLOWERS FROM THE STORM, FOR MY LADY'S HEART, and THE DREAM HUNTER. She and her husband divide their time between Santa Fe and Dallas. SHADOWHEART won the Romance Writers of America Rita Award for best long historical romance of 2004. Kinsale also won best romance novel of 1990 for PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT. Kinsale was 1987-1988 Career Achievement Award Winner from Romantic Times Magazine. She was also Regency Historical Romance 2004 Career Achievement Award Winner from Romantic Times Magazine and the Innovative Historical Romance 1994 RRA Awards Nominee for Best Historical Romance Author.read more
What a fun book. I loved it from the start. It is my first book by Laura Kinsale and I will definitely be checking out her backlist now. From the start of the book I fell in love with Callie and Trev. Callie has been engaged three times yet never married and she feels she will spend life in spinsterhood and she is comfortable with that. Trev is one of those wounded men, he's been a bad boy and doesn't know if he can change his ways. He's in love with Callie but doesn't think he's good enough for her so every time he gets close, he pulls away. Callie has always been in love with him too, but doesn't think he returns her love. It's a wonderful romance in that they keep getting close in the beginning of the book for Trev to pull away. But you know they love each other so you keep reading.I loved the dialogue. Especially between Callie and Trev and Trev and his maman. The dialogue is very witty and had me laughing out loud several times when reading. I would have to say that Ms. Kinsale is a master of dialogue based on this book.The plot got a little slow to me at times, but never too slow, I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to learn more about Trev and Callie and what crazy situation they would get into next.If you love historical romance this is a book for you.read more
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4.5 stars Why I read it: It's by Laura Kinsale. 'nuff said.What it's about: "...Lady Callista Taillefaire [has been] jilted three times in spite of her fortune and her father’s best efforts to find her a husband. Now her greatest desire is to win the silver cup at the agricultural fair with her gigantic prize bull, Hubert. But when Callie’s only old flame returns from his long and mysterious absence in France, her quiet spinster life turns upside down. Dark-eyed, elegant and a magnet for trouble, Trevelyan d’Augustin has given Callie lessons in more than his language in the past. Her father put a harsh and humiliating end to any dreams of romance with a French émigré scoundrel, however, and Callie never thought to see him again. Swallowing his pride, Trev has finally come home to care for his failing mother, but his secrets and misdeeds follow him.Callie soon remembers that nothing is ever peaceful with Trev around. The enormous Hubert vanishes into thin air, one of her former jilts comes back to woo her in a most determined manner—and her bull takes the town by storm! In the midst of these misadventures, Callie finds herself falling in love again with the worst possible man for her."What worked for me:In short, almost everything. Laura Kinsale has a wonderful way with prose. Like this:- She stood silent turning the words over in her mind as if they were a strange device that she could not find the key to understand. I enjoyed the humour of the book. It is sprinkled with litte gems like this one:- If Major Sturgeon had not been strongly attracted to Mrs. Fowler, Callie would have feared he was coming on with some sort of condition.I loved the banter between the characters, particularly Callie and Trev:- "May I make you the object of my violent and unrestrained ardor?" He made a motion as if to loosen his neckcloth. "I'm a bit tired, but perfectly willing." "My calling hours are from twelve to three, if you wish to importune me violently." Callie said, dropping a quick curtsey.I liked Callie. I liked how she was a bit clueless (Trev affectionately calls her a "pea-goose") but she wasn't stupid. I identified with her displacement quite a bit and I guess that's why one of the things which bothered me (see below) bothered me so much. I liked Trev too. I enjoyed his efforts to turn himself around and I felt for his fear that he could never do so. I liked watching Trev and Callie together and really enjoyed how he could effortlessly coax her into outrageous adventures. I also liked Trev's protectiveness of Callie and her, even unconscious recognition of it. She came into his embrace suddenly and fully, making a thankful little sound, as if she'd been having a nightmare and awoken to find safety. I liked how Callie wasn't beautiful but Trev found her so. I really identified with Callie's manner of dealing with difficulty by going into her own head and using fantasy/daydreams to imagine a better reality. It's something I do myself and I suppose it is one of the reasons I love reading romance so much. When I have been in hard times, I have lost myself in someone else's happy ending and found a way to get through.What didn't (work for me): Warning: This may be IS spoilerish. Read at your own peril!As much as I enjoyed this book (and there is MUCH to love - don't be fooled by the length of this section!), there were things that bothered me. It was never explained exactly why Major Sturgeon decided to return and court Callie - after all, he had been blackmailed away - what had changed? There was an inference that he needed money, but that wasn't enough for me. He could have courted another heiress one supposes. Why Callie? Why then?I also questioned why there was (apparently) no consequence to Trev's impersonation at the cattle fair - after all he and Callie were going to be living in the area. Surely he would be recognised?I understood the misunderstandings between Callie & Trev. But, for someone who saw so well and easily into Callie, I was a bit suprised that Trev took so long to "get" that she felt so unlovable after being jilted 3 times. I suppose though, that Trev was seeing this aspect of her through his own "Trev coloured glasses" so that probably explains it, on reflection. The rest was exclusive of him, but for this part, he couldn't see past his own stuff. So, not really a peeve after all. Huh.I also didn't quite understand Trev's mother's "miraculous" return to health in the epilogue. It was too trite and it didn't need to be. Trev's mother had been dying the whole book - I would not have felt betrayed if she had actually died and the epilogue had merely mentioned that they had had some sadness over that but that she had lived to see them married, etc. I think that would have been better, IMHO. But the worst thing, for me, was the "explanation" in the epilogue as to the real reason Callie had been jilted 3 times. These events had had a profound effect on Callie. She was left feeling deficient and she could not escape those feelings, the knowledge of her jilts being so very public. I could not accept the reason. What a horrible thing to do to someone. But, in the epilogue, it seemed brushed over, laughed about and then quickly forgiven/forgotten. Frankly. that's not good enough. Callie suffered for 7 or 8 years (depending on how long it was before her first betrothal after Trev left) and there was no guarantee the action taken would get the desired result. All it was guaranteed to do was to humiliate Callie and leave her alone. I'm sorry, that's just awful and I couldn't brush it off. (Okay, now that I've got that off my chest, I feel much better!!).Also, and this is a small peeve in the big scheme of things, I wanted more love scenes. I counted only 2 (unless you count the flashback toward the beginning of the book, which I did not). I wanted more!!What else?One of the things I enjoyed best about the book was the way Trev was with his mother. Take this, for example:- She smiled and spoke to him in English. "You enjoyed the assembly?" "Of course! I engaged myself to two beautiful young ladies and had to leave by the back window. I've fled to you for aid. Will you conceal me in your wardrobe?" She gave a faint husky laugh. "Let the girls meet... on the field of honour," she said in a weak voice. "Nothing to trouble about." "But their mothers might pursue me!" "Alors, I'll dispatch their mothers myself, by poison." He squeezed her hand. "I see now where I come by my unsteady nature."The little game they played was quite romantic (in the broader sense of the word) but not squicky. In fact, there are quite a few "games" in this book. Trev plays a game with his mother - they pretend he is a gallant roue flirting with her to cover the bigger pretense - they pretend that she is not dying. Trev and Callie play games of adventure and they play at being a married couple at the cattle fair. Trev and Callie also use playful banter where both say what is truly in their hearts but, disguised as it is as a game, it goes unrecognised.Callie also plays a little game with Sturgeon at the cattle fair, but mainly she plays games with herself:- Callie tried to make a daydream for herself. It was what she always did when she could not quite bear what was real.and She had, of course, imagined a thousand times how she would accept the groveling change of heart from each of her suitors, starting with Trev. He was to have written her passionate, brooding letters and declared that his life was forfeit if she would not have him. That was after he had become unthinkably wealthy and recovered Monceaux. and declared on his knees that her fortune meant nothing to him and never had. He would take her penniless from the side of the road and threaten to shoot himself, or sail to Madagascar and become a pirate - which was just the sort of thing Trev would do - if she refused his love. After suitably ardent persuasion, she would reluctantly give up her plan to dedicate her life to good works and tapioca jelly, and accept his suit. Afterward they would become pirates together and she would wear a great many pearls and rubies and skewer British officers.Callie was, however, very careful not to daydream about actually being married to Trev even after he had proposed twice. That was too real and too painful. Better a game that was safely a game.Given the overarching theme of the book, it was fitting that the denouement came at a masquerade ball. I had the impression that Callie and Trev would play many games together over the course of their lives - but only the fun and happy ones now.There is something very special about reading a Kinsale book, the way the words are put together on the page, the characters, that it is a different book each time and not a rehash of the same story. While this one is not my favourite (that would be Flowers from the Storm - I like the dark and angsty best), this one did not disappoint. What kept it from being an A read for me was the explanation for Callie being jilted 3 times. That didn't work for me and kind of took the tarnish off the story.Grade: Bread more
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This book was ok as a romance, but a disappointment as a Kinsale romance. Cute characters, meandering plot, and kind of a frustrating conflict.read more
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Often flat and uninspired in its interactions, this by-the-numbers 1820s romance relies on complicated subplots and the heartstring-tugging tale of reunited childhood sweethearts. Lady Callista Taillefaire has been jilted three times and is resolved to devote herself to raising cattle, particularly her prize-winning bull, Hubert. When her lost love, Trevelyn, returns from nine years away, that resolve is firmly tested, but no sooner is their romance rekindled than he is convicted of forgery and forced into exile. Readers may enjoy the history lessons in several creaky but soundly constructed tales of Trevelyn's wartime experiences with another of Callie's former suitors, but Kinsale neglects to fill in the background details for Trevelyn and his unsavory valet, ex-boxer Jock, preferring to follow romance conventions with monotonous regularity. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved