PUBLISHER: Medallion, 1/2008
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: France, 1798-1802
MY GRADE: D
FROM PUBLISHER: Set during the chaotic beginnings of Napoleon's rule, this saga tells the story of Gabriel St. Croix, a street survivor searching for a place to belong. Abandoned as a child and raised in a brothel, he has never known friendship or affection. Hiding physical and emotional scars behind an icy facade, his only relationship is with a young boy he has spent the last five years protecting from the brutal reality of their environment. But all that is about to change. The boy's family has found him, and they are coming to take him home.
Sarah Munroe blames herself for her brother's disappearance. When he's located, safe and unharmed despite where he has been living, Sarah vows to help the man who rescued and protected him in any way she can. With loving patience she helps Gabriel face his demons and teaches him to trust in friendship and love. But when the past catches up with him, Gabriel must face it on his own. Becoming a mercenary, pirate, and professional gambler, he travels to London, France, and the Barbary Coast in a desperate attempt to find Sarah again. On the way, however, he will discover the most dangerous journey and the greatest gamble of all is within the darkest reaches of his own heart.
MY THOUGHTS: The hero is the very wounded Gabriel St.Croix and the heroine is widowed Sarah Munroe. The story spans about four years, beginning around 1798 and begins in Paris, France.
I had high hopes for this one but was let down by it. The hero was abandoned as a child and raised in a brothel as a prostitute. He has nothing and no one. He doesn't even know his last name so he chose to use the name of the street that he was abandoned on, St. Croix. Knowing he was all alone and forced to prostitute himself called out to me immediately and made me want to read his story. It didn't live up to my expectations at all. After about a year of him living with Sarah's family he goes off with a family friend and gets knocked into the ocean by a runaway cannon on the ship. From then, he's taken prisoner and sold. There's a lot of war and violence for a good part of the story. Once he escapes his captors he lives as a free man. I just found all of that to be very boring and hard to get through.
The synopsis from the back cover is very misleading. It says that Gabriel travels, after he's free, in a 'desperate attempt to find Sarah' and that simply is not true. He never once tried to find her or contact her via letter. He allowed her to believe he was dead for three years for no apparent reason. They find each other and he's very cold and rude toward her. They secretly married right before he left three years before yet now that he's face to face with his wife, his behavior towards her makes no sense at all and I don't understand it. Needless to say, they have their happily ever after.
One thing that really bugged me is that their ages were never given. It was said many times that he was 'young' so I'm assuming he's in his early 20s, and the same for Sarah. I feel as though I never got to know Sarah at all. We got absolutely no backstory on her. I don't like or dislike her because I simply feel as if I don't know her.
I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.