An early Merry Christmas everyone! I hope the holiday season brings you plenty of chances to acquire and read great books. In our house this is a time when we buy lots of wonderful books, fiction and non-fiction, serious and light-hearted, piles and piles of books we want to read...then give them away to other people! But the payoff comes later when we receive gifts prepared with love, including some fabulous reading.
This month I've opted to pick up a book a book that I've already read. Sort of. First I have to declare an interest. The author of CAPTIVE OF SIN is a friend of mine. Anna Campbell and I regularly read each other's work in draft stage and manage to keep each other sane when doubts surface about the direction of the plot or the way the characters are behaving. So reading the published CAPTIVE is an interesting experience. I have vivid memories of the rough version and now I've got the final product, a glossy thick paperback in my hands. This book delivers in spades on its early promise. I chose to blog about it as it's what I'm reading, but also because it's swept me along with its vibrancy and incredible emotion. I knew it would be great and I'm not disappointed.
I thought Pink Heart Society members might be interested in this story because, though it's a big historical romance novel, it's got a lot of elements we find in category. For instance, it hinges on a a marriage of convenience with great, compelling reasons for the wedding to take place. Personally I love marriage of convenience stories and am always looking for an excuse to write one. Also, there's a definite touch of exoticism. The story takes place in Britain including a honeymoon on Jersey but more importantly in a lovely rambling old mansion on the Cornish coast (and I want to visit that house!). Plus the hero's recent past in India is dark and intriguing and exotic. Also the emphasis is firmly on the two protagonists.
There's a tortured hero that I defy any romance reader not to love. He's honourable and strong and hates any sign of weakness in himself. He does his best to behave heroically in the worst of circumstances. Boy, has Gideon suffered! I can't tell you how without divulging too much but suffice to say that though he wants his new wife with a desperation that soaks the pages, he battles demons every time he thinks about her. Add to that he's definitely a strong alpha leader. He champions the weak, thinks nothing of putting himself in danger when its necessary and revels in action.
Charis too is a fascinating character and multi-dimensional. She's young and in many ways inexperienced. When she falls for Gideon it's a young girl's crush. But as the story progresses she develops a determination to have him for her own and to rescue him. She's revealed as the sort of heroine we love to barrack for - stoic and strong despite her own weaknesses.
The difference from category romance comes in the length of the book and the chance to flesh out the complexity of the plot, the backstory and secondary characters as well as the hero and heroine. But if you're looking for a longer romance to read, this is a beauty. Note that the cover gives you a clue to the level of sensuality in the book - very!
Have you recently read something a little different? A contemporary if you're a historical fan? A blockbuster or a biography if you're a dyed in the wool category reader? Do you like trying something new and if so what gems have you discovered? If not, what is it about your favourite read that keeps you coming back again and again?
To get the conversation started Annie is giving away a copy of her new US release BLACMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE to someone who comments.
Dual delight for Annie in December. This month she has two books on sale from the middle of the month. BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE, Harlequin Presents Extra, is on sale in North America (you can buy it here). FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD, is a Mills and Boon Modern release in the UK (you can buy it here). To read about them, visit Annie's website for excerpts.