Posts tagged ‘madeline hunter’

April 1, 2013

Thoughts on some historical romance novels #8

I wanted to put it off, to take it up at another time when I wouldn’t be as busy as I am now. To no avail. Rereading the love scenes and my favorite passages didn’t help. The book basically sang to me, caught my eye even with that dull purple cover no matter where I hid it in my room, as if it was luring me to lose myself in it again. I couldn’t have been more glad that I did.

Dear readers, it is my great pleasure to present you my review of my absolute favorite historical romance novel.

The Romantic by Madeline Hunter

The following review contains spoilers. Click here to read the spoiler-free version.

“I never hated you. My anger was never with you, but with the little hell my heart had put me in. The anger always passed. I never regretted loving you. If I had gone to my grave never kissing you or touching you, I still would not have thought it a wasted love.”

I have been hinting at this gem of a book in many of my previous reviews. And I’m finally reviewing it now. Oh, what a joy! Beware because it’s going to be a long one.

It is this book that started this latest wave of historical romance craze in me. I bought it in July last year and was instantly hooked. It left such a great impression on me that I rediscovered my great love for historical romances. After that I read 20 more historical romance novels and I can say for certain that Madeline Hunter’s The Romantic is unparalleled, as rereading it has proven.

So what can possibly be so great about it? Well, first of all, it has a good storyline with a strong plot. Madeline Hunter’s novels are usually too plot-intensive that I forget I’m reading a romance novel. There’s always a mystery to be solved or some sort of mission that the heroine sets about accomplishing. But in The Romantic, the plot didn’t bother me because this time it involved the main characters. But more than that, it set the scene for a great tragedy. Penelope, Countess of Glasbury, has been separated from her husband for more than a decade because the man is an immoral, perverted bastard who, as Penelope puts it implicitly, “he takes pleasure in giving punishment.” The person who negotiated the separation, and the only one who knows the reason for it, is the Laclere family solicitor, Julian Hampton. He has known Penelope and her brothers since they were teenagers and needless to say he has been in love with Penelope since forever. Now isn’t that just perfect?

This already sounds like my favorite kind of tragedy. However, it’s only the background story that is expertly revealed as the main storyline unfolds. That’s another thing that Madeline Hunter handled excellently. Through hints, and passages of memories written in italics, she gives you a whole life story to fill the gaps with your imagination as the characters grow on you. So here, Glasbury wants Penelope back to give him an heir. And Julian, to save his ‘incomparable beloved’, dons his armor once again and swears to slay this sleeping dragon for once and for all. Oh, my… I must have really gotten carried away this time.

All excerpts from the book © Madeline Hunter All rights reserved

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January 13, 2013

Hawkeswell’s farewell letter to Verity

This is Hawkeswell’s farewell letter to his wife, Verity, at the of Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter. Needless for me to say, they  confess their love to one another shortly after and get their happy ending. But there is something about letters written by men that make my insides melt. This one is a prime example.

My darling,

As you can see, we found Mr. Bowman. I will write later with a fuller account of his discovery, and the larger plot as well, but for now it is enough that Katy’s son has also been resurrected.

Your cousin Bertram felt moved to admit his misuse of you and his coercion on the marriage, in writing no less, amid confessing his many other sins and naming his accomplices. With that evidence and my agreement, you will have your annulment quickly when you make the petition, I am convinced. It is only right that you should.

Your maid assures me that your favorite garments are in the baggage, as are your jewels. Your cousin and his wife will not be returning to that stone house on the hill, so it is yours again. I do not doubt that the good memories will return and the bad ones will leave once its chambers are filled with your smiles.

I do not give you back your life because I have tired of you, Verity, I do not want you to think that. Quite the opposite. I have discovered, however, that my love for you means that I want you to have the life that you believe that you were supposed to have, even if it means that I will not have the wife I have come to treasure.

Mr. Bowman seems a fine young man. I like him much more than I want to. I am sure that he will see you safely to Oldbury and, in doing so, spare me a difficult farewell.

Your servant,

Hawkeswell

October 15, 2012

Thoughts on some historical romance novels #4

Lady of Sin by Madeline Hunter

The following review contains spoilers. Click here to read the spoiler-free version.

“It does not matter that you choose not to speak. I do not need words to know everything about you.”

*sighs girlishly* This is a typical but very good Madeline Hunter novel. It has good, solid characters, witty dialogue, delicious scenes and intriguing emotional depth. So far I have read books from Hunter’s Rarest Blooms, Rothwell and Seducer series and I think the last one, which this book is a spin-off of, is the best.

All excerpts from the book © Madeline Hunter All rights reserved

First off, the hero and the heroine… My two primary reasons for reading a story.

Charlotte is not the ideal heroine. She is caring but doesn’t have a strong character which makes her selfish and craven. Her weakness in facing the challenges that befell her family urges her to take refuge in marriage with an ordinary man of poor health who dies a couple of years later. Following an unusually long mourning period, Charlotte finds herself in a self-made cocoon. Her weakness in character has driven her to find peace in widowhood. But after a while, she feels trapped and suffocating in her little world where she has deprived herself of the slightest happiness for fear that she might get hurt. So she does something very bold and dangerous: she attends one of Earl of Lyndale’s orgies. There she meets an anxious-looking Nathaniel who, she knows, just lost a case for the first time and his client is to be hanged. Nathaniel cannot recognize her because she is wearing a mask but he can see through her solitude. And the two troubled souls find salvation in each other for a night. The silent understanding between them, the vulnerability that they both feel and don’t care to hide made my heart ache. I love “living in the moment” scenes and this was simply beautiful.

Her behavior at that party had been shocking. Ruinous. She had thought that one person would not condemn her for it, however. Her lover that night would not see any sin. She had assumed that the man she embraced was as far removed from that salon as she, transported to a private world where an intensification of life’s energy existed and where souls replenished their vitality.

It was very sweet of Charlotte when she later on (being the first chapter of the book) visited Nathaniel to keep him company on the day his client would be hanged. But since the two cannot stop arguing (as we know from The Romantic), the hour was far from peaceful. I usually tolerate the cliche where the hero and the heroine can’t get along well at first and then fall in love, which is the case for Charlotte and Nathaniel, but here I actually liked it. The duel of words between the two were delightful to read. They bickered continuously and after a while things really got out of hand… in a different manner.

“Forgive me. It was stupid of me to think you might need company, when clearly all you required was that decanter.”

“It was not stupid. It was very kind. Quite soft, actually. A very warm, womanly gesture. I am touched.” He smiled softly. “However, if you truly want to help, if you really want to distract me, there are better ways. When I saw that dress, I dared hope you had realized that.”

When Nathaniel realizes that Charlotte was the women at Lyndale’s orgy and informs her about his discovery to Charlotte’s shock, the two choose to deal with the issue in quite contradictory ways: Charlotte doesn’t want the episode repeated for fear that her precious memory will be spoiled and Nathaniel wants to have her again to be sure that what he experienced that night wasn’t merely an illusion. While one is afraid to find out that they didn’t in fact experience the same intensity of emotion that night, the other is afraid of not finding out that they indeed did! Wow. Kudos to Ms. Hunter as this is harmony of contrast at its best.

So here, Charlotte’s cowardice kicks in again. I’m no fan of her but her emotions were described in a very convincing manner. She was a well-founded character, just not my type of character. The jealousy Charlotte feels over seeing Dante and Fleur so happy after the birth of their son is worth mentioning. Surely she is happy for them but jealousy wins over and she finds herself crying her heart out in Nathaniel’s arms. I mentioned above that she was selfish. But this scene touched me rather than making me judgmental. I thought Charlotte’s reaction was a very human one in its rawest form.

Nathaniel’s moment of cowardice is yet to come. But let’s talk about him a little. I like Nathaniel, I really do. He is the son of an earl with a profession, which makes him a rebel. Initially he wanted to be an actor but found that the courtroom was just another kind of stage, so he became a defense lawyer. He is not the typical arrogant and carefree rake, but he’s not the complete opposite either. He is quite serious but unlike Julian from The Romantic, who is a very private person and a man of few words, Nathaniel is more outgoing.

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