THE SOLDIER by Grace Burrowes

Publisher: Sourcebooks   Pub. Date: June 2011
Setting: England   Hero: Devlin St. Just 
Heroine: Emmaline Farnum  Rating: D/2 stars


Devlin St. Just has tried everything to escape his demons. But his responsibilities are multiplying and his despair deepening, until beautiful, enigmatic neighbor Emmaline Farnum steps in...


Devlin's torn spirit calls to Emmaline, but even as she gives in to his irresistible caresses and her own growing desires, she's keeping a devastating secret...

Protecting Emmaline becomes Devlin's urgent mission, if only he can overcome the forces that are driving them irretrievably apart...

MY THOUGHTS: I didn't enjoy this story from the start. Hero and heroine met way too soon and acted too familiar with each other, as if they'd known each other for years. We didn't get to know them at all beforehand. Both were very likeable and there was chemistry between them from the beginning.

What I didn't like most of all was the character, Winnie. She's a small child, cousin to Emmaline, and is related to Devlin by marriage somehow. She's introduced just a few pages in and dominates the entire storyline. There's hardly a page she's not on in some way, either speaking herself or hero and heroine are speaking about her. I feel her dialogue is much more mature than a real five or six year old would ever speak. She sounds just like an adult most of the time. I also had trouble believing that a grown man of thirty-one would allow a child he's just met, who already has a home, move in with him the night they meet.

The rest of the novel is bland and uninteresting to me. If Winnie hadn't dominated the story, I might have liked it, but who can say? I won't be trying this author again.

* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Publishing Info: Avon, April 2011 Setting: England 1827 Heroine: Antonia Smith, 27 Hero: Nicholas Challoner, 31 Virgin Heroine? No Timespan: 8 months Grade/Rating: D/2 stars

London's most notorious seducer, Nicholas Challoner lives solely for revenge . . .

The dashing, licentious Marquess of Ranelaw can never forgive Godfrey Demarest for ruining his sister—now the time has come to repay the villain in the same coin. But one formidably intriguing impediment stands in the way of Nicholas's vengeance: Miss Antonia Smith, companion to his foe's unsuspecting daughter.

Having herself been deceived and disgraced by a rogue—banished by her privileged family as a result and forced to live a lie—Antonia vows to protect her charge from the same cruel fate. She recognizes Ranelaw for the shameless blackguard he is and will devote every ounce of her intelligence and resolve to thwarting him.

Yet Antonia has always had a fatal weakness for rakes . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I didn't care for this novel at all. I thought it was very silly and pointless. I didn't really care for either the hero or heroine. The hero wanting to 'ruin' someone the heroine was looking after was lame and not much was done with that element. From my point of view, the very thin storyline was really just the hero and heroine having a sexual relationship with each other from very early on. There were a few hot sex scenes but I pretty much skimmed them because I couldn't make myself become interested in it. From very early on I could see the story was going nowhere so I had to do a little bit of skimming. Bottom line: skip this one. It was so bad and I'm actually angry.

* I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

REAP THE SAVAGE WIND by Ellen Tanner Marsh

PUBLISHER: Ace, 1982/Berkley, 1984
SETTING: 1764 Scotland, England, America
HEROINE: Merewyn MacAilis
HERO: Ian Montague
TIMESPAN: within 6 months

FROM PUBLISHER: From the safety of her family castle to brutal degradation at the hands of a vicious enemy, the beautiful, headstrong Meiewyn MacAilis suffers agony and torment as she strives to restore her family's fortune.

But run as she might from despair and danger, there is no escaping Ian Montague. Like a fragile flower, she trembles in his hungry embrace... her own wild passion igniting as the urgent demands of his desire claim and conquer her... as the power o their love consumes them both.

SPOILER SUMMARY: The heroine is seventeen, has blond hair, blue eyes, fair skin and has Nordic ancestery. The hero has long dark hair and gray eyes. I don't think his age was given because I never read it.Hero and heroine meet early on in Scotland. She travels to his home to confront him about something and it turns ugly. Ian actually tries to strangle her with one hand while he's gripping her hair with the other. She flees and later is falsely accused of thievery and prostitution by someone whom we later find out is named William Rawlings, who's twenty-seven. She's shipped off to America and is to become an indentured servant but doesn't in the end.

Ian somehow finds out she's been kidnapped and rescues her. They continue to be combative toward each other. Not a whole lot goes on from here on out except a couple of interesting things that help the story along.

William is in a room at an inn with a prostitute, whom he murders while in the room with her. He dumps her body into the river.

Merewyn is out with someone (Ian?) and they run into Ian's jealous old flame, Elizabeth Comerford. She's got brown hair and pale green eyes. She's with William, the man who had Merewyn arrested but he doesn't recognize Merewyn at all. Merewyn recognizes him right away. He later becomes a bit obsessed with her, especially when she won't tell him her name. Elizabeth tells him who Merewyn really is, that she was  kidnapped and is being looked for but he still doesn't know she's the one he had arrested. Elizabeth comes up with a plan. She wants Ian, who is now engaged to Merewyn, and William wants Merewyn. So they send her a note telling her they know who she is and William wants to meet with her. Merewyn is terrified that William will recognize her and tell everyone that she was in jail for prostitution and is desperate to flee London, where they are now.

Ian and Merewyn marry and Ian finds a note that she was to send William. Ian mistakenly believes they're having an affair and abandons her and travels somewhere. Merewyn is out riding one night and William followes her. He plans to murder her. She'd previously threatened to tell the police that he had her falsely imprisoned for prostitution. William is terrified that if she brings his name up to the police that they'll somehow connect him to the murdered prostitute. And they later do.

Merewyn sees him chasing after her on horseback so she takes off on her horse and ends up at an abandonded home. She runs inside and tries to hid from William. He's chasing after her in the dark and shoots her in the arm. He ends up falling through the floor and dies when he lands. Her brothers show up just then and take her back home to Ian, but he's not here. They later reconsile and live happily-ever-after.

MY THOUGHTS: I've had this book a little over 1 1/2 years and finally read it. I enjoyed it but not as much as I'd hoped. My favorite part was when William and Elizabeth came up with their plan to ruin Merewyn. William never ended up with her, as planned and Elizabeth never got to be with Ian again.

This novel and Ian definitely fit the criteria for a bodice ripper. Ian is very angry and abusive. Not only did he try to choke Merewyn when they first met but is always threatening to do her harm. He once threatened to box her ears and another time asked her if she was trying to provoke him into murdering her! Say what?! A couple of times he ripped her gown off and even once told an acquaintance that he planned to 'beat her into submission.' Ain't he a keeper?

Merewyn is your typical fiesty heroine, never afraid to mouth off to the hero when necessary. She held her own against him. She was treated badly by him and somehow came to love him in the process. Their love came out of nowhere and wasn't at all believable. But that's OK with me.

It was believed that William murdered the prostitute in Scotland, Nellie Arling, but we never learned of how the authorities discovered that. I guess it's to be assumed he was seen entering the room with her or was seen dumping her dead body.