Tuesday, May 7, 2013

2 Oldie Reviews: The Proposition by Judith Ivory & Once a Princess by Johanna Lindsey

Hi all!

I dug out two quite old historicals again and here's what I thought.




Author: Judith Ivory
Release date: 8th of December 1999
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers
Imprint: HarperCollins e-books
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Romance, Historical
Pages: 384 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

No man, gentleman or otherwise, has ever looked at Lady Edwina Bollash the way the brash, handsome man standing before her is doing now. Edwina has accepted the challenge to transform incorrigible Mick Tremore into a gentleman in just six weeks. And although the linguist is sure she can rise to the task, she isn't at all certain she won't swoon under his frankly sensuous gaze before her job is done.

Mick has lived outside of London society long enough to know that appearances can be deceiving. Edwina might look all buttoned up—the perfect English lady—but there is unleashed passion existing just below her placid facade (not to mention a great pair of legs!). And as she prepares him to take his place in society, Mick prepares Edwina to take her place in his heart...and in his bed.

Review:

This was quite an unusual historical romance, it had your usual uniquely attractive and smart spinster, whose charms no one except the hero seems to appreciate, but, alas, absolutely, no sign of a dashing, wealthy, aristocratic, educated rake! Instead, we have something that turned out to be ten times better – Mick the rat catcher! What’s more, no tortured past for the hero, which is rare. Mick was joyful, satisfied and full of life – he liked and was devoted to his job, had a loving and big family, didn’t have any regrets and, overall, just had a positive and healthy outlook on life. It was incredibly refreshing that I’d like to read more about such heroes. This was also something that made this book a big success for me.

In addition to the nonstandard hero, the storyline wasn’t your average stereotype either, which again I found refreshing. A bet to have Mick learn how to live and act as a gentleman in a short time span was exciting and interesting to observe. Especially since he made his personal side hobby to seduce the prim and proper Edwina through the journey. And no need to mention that all the attention had the academic and practical teacher squirming because of the intense attraction. Their power play was fun and sexy to observe. I enjoyed their lessons, I swooned during all the steamy and kinky scenes (it seems Mick has a big things for legs) and was excited to know if they can pull the job off. Yes, the story is based on Pygmalion (and thus My Fair Lady, or Lad in this case), but that didn’t deter from the fact that it wasn’t your usual cliché plot, even tough, it might have had many typical features from historic romance – the end result is what matters, and that was different from others and more than enjoyable.

There wasn’t a lot of action, no big misunderstanding, no open hostility between the hero and heroine, no imbalance between the roles in the relationship (no overly dominant one), etc – Mick and Edwina had quite a healthy and positive relationship trough it all, considering all the factors. It was simple, sexy and charming. Thanks to that the book read like a good feel good historical romance, I was left smiling after I finished. More sunshine: I adored all the animals in the story. Mick showed nothing but care and devotion to his pets, who were more like work partners to him, and that was incredibly sweet.

A small quibble: The ending revelation was quite out of the blue and I didn’t feel that there was enough substantial evidence, but oh well. Such a turn of events wasn’t entirely necessary, the story was doing fine either way. Still, I kind of liked the revelation, it was definitely something I wasn’t expecting and in the end I liked how things turned out because of that.

Characters:

As said before, I thought Mick was a wonderful hero, so positive, naughty and alive. A simple rat catcher, but much much more when you get to know him, which is also what drew our heroine towards him. A really lovable and fun guy to root for, the definite star of this book.

Edwina was stiff and uptight at the beginning, but once she got used to Mick she more or less let loose and showed her true colors. She did annoy me with her over caution at times, but, nevertheless, she was a decent heroine.

Overall:

A really positive and plain sunny historical romance, with enough sexy, steamy and adorable moments. A definite favorite!




5 stars!








Author: Johanna Lindsey
Series: Cardinia’s Royal Family #1
Release date: 1st of June 1991
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers
Imprint: Avon Books
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Romance, Historical
Pages: 436 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Once Upon A Time...In a rustic Missiissippi tavern, a beautiful exiled princess was forced to dance for the pleasure of others -- unaware of her regal birthright...and infuriated by a magnificent golden-eyed devil who crossed an ocean to possess her. From A Far Off Land...

A bold and brazen prince came to America to claim his promised bride. But the spirited vixen spurned his affections while inflaming his royal blood with passion's fire...impelling virile Stefan Barany to take in sensuous and searing conquest the love Tatiana vowed never to yield.

Review:

Awww, a Cinderella/rags to riches story, my favorite! Well this was a pleasant and fun romantic historical: Tanya just wants her years of hard work and pain to pay off and own the tavern belonging to her so called “stepfather.” The prize gets closer and closer till four men show up an claim that she is the long lost princess of a small European country and has to come with them so she can marry the king, well, this obviously crashes all her current goals and makes chaos of her former life. Not that she actually believes them, but they are a stubborn lot. So begins her journey to her so called kingdom, while trying to ignore her growing feelings for the tortured and easy to irritate Stefan. Who wants to be a princess when you can be a tavern owner? Now that’s a real dream life! At least for Tanya it is, and that’s why I liked her.

Aside from the spunky and opinionated Tanya, the other characters were definitely likable as well, at least the ones that were supposed to be that way. Vasili – I’m not so sure about if we were meant to despise him or feel compelled, but to me he was definitely the comic relief, not to mention a hot hunk, whom I couldn’t completely take seriously. Need I say that he was my favorite character?

Other aspects I liked: Looking over the physical and seeing what is actually inside was very important. The dynamics of the four guys come to retrieve Tanya. Reluctant love-hate romance is always a win for me, the banter stemming from that was decent.

Didn’t like: There was too much emphasis on the whole whore-question and it was getting kind of annoying with the accusations and no final clarification on that topic for so long. Besides, I know it was a different time and age, but this really pushed my injustice and discrimination buttons. There was also too much miscommunication or simple withholding of information at times. The main clue on what made Tanya a princess was slightly far fetched.

Characters:

Tanya was such a punch-in-the-face heroine for any guy trying to bring her down. I totally respect her for that take-no-s*** from anyone attitude, but her constant defiance and hostility got slightly tiring in the end. There could have been a better balance, but then again I can’t blame her of showing who’s boss and you just couldn’t put her down without a fight even with all the prejudices against her. I also liked that she wasn’t gullible and didn’t fall for those highly improbable claims the four guys come to her with. She was quite daring in her ways to brush them off. I wasn’t, however, particularly fond of her extreme stubbornness, it did a disservice to her more times than one.

Stefan wasn’t really charming as much as captivating. He had big temper/anger control issues, but I didn’t find them that bad. He was honorable and tried to be a gentleman, but Tanya had the ability to make him, well, a total idiot. He was also quite blind to the glaringly obvious, especially in things concerning Tanya. It was slightly odd that everyone else was bothered by the scars, but Tanya didn’t even notice them that much. Well, love is blind I guess. A more than decent hero to the untamable Tanya.

Overall:

This was an enjoyable fairy tale historical that totally quenched my need to read something romantic, old-fashioned and so far from reality that it’s so bad it’s good. Recommend to all who like historicals and Cinderella.




4 stars!

LIIS

2 comments:

  1. i like the idea of reading things from the good old tbr pile. i think i have once a princess too. didn't know it had the cinderella connection. i'll have to dig it up when i'm in that fairy tale mood.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There are so many interesting books popping up all the time so it's good to find great books from the past too, there are some real pearls out there, I try not to focus on the new and shiny only :D

    Definitely do dig it up!

    Thanks for the feedback!

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