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B- Reviews

REVIEW:  Songbird’s Seduction by Connie Brockway

REVIEW: Songbird’s Seduction by Connie Brockway

The Songbird's Seduction by Connie Brockway

Dear Ms. Brockway,

I’ll say it right from the beginning – you got me with The Songbird’s Seduction. The teaser intrigued me quite a bit, and when I started reading it, I was absolutely and completely drawn in. It’s rare that I find a historical romance that’s not set in or near the Regency period or the American west. To have one set comfortably in the Edwardian era, with a heroine who doesn’t exactly come across as a proper young woman is surprisingly daring – and wonderfully delicious. I won’t say that it was a book I couldn’t put down – I couldn’t quite read it straight through. But it was a book I was quite happy to go back to.

Lucille Eastlake, Lucy to her friends and admirers, is a young woman who, as a child, was orphaned and given into the care of two genteel maiden great-aunts after bouncing from one relative to the next. Each of those relatives taught her something different – none of it exactly proper, or legal. Lavinia and Beatrice, the great aunts who took Lucy in, rounded out her education with everything that a proper young woman should know. The only problem they have is money – they have none. What little Lucy brings in is thanks to her work as a chanteuse of the stage – one whose face graces collectible cards. And it’s money on everyone’s mind when Aunt Lavinia learns that she is to soon have a share in a small fortune of rubies – if only she, Bernice and Lucy can get to a small town in France where everyone is supposed to meet. Enter Professor Ptolomy Archibald Grant – whom Lucy promptly nicknames Archie. He’s the grandson of the man who loved – and left – Lavinia. What follows is an almost farcial comedy of errors that makes Gilligan’s Island look like one of Hitchcock’s masterpieces.

The characterization all through the book was absolutely wonderful. I adored the little peeks into Lucy’s mind contrasting with Archie’s (usually) more structured thought patterns. The story is, quite simply, what happens when you mix an absolutely repressed gentleman with a volatile imp of a woman who has little to no thought for propriety – and is a mischief-making mastermind. Mix the two, shake once or twice, then sit back and watch the fireworks blossom across the sky. The resulting show is quite impressive. Lavinia and Bernice were the perfect sweet little ladies who very much needed to get out of their quiet little world. And who better to escort them in Lucy’s absence than her friend Margery – a man who makes a quite lucrative living on the stage as a female impersonator. How could the old dears deny Lucy’s bosom friend and fellow entertainer, Mrs. Marjorie Martin? Every time Margery / Marjorie appeared on screen, as it were, I could hear Nathan Lane’s voice in my head and visualize the body movements.

I have to quibble just a little with the length of time Archie and Lucy spend together getting into (and out of) scrapes. It felt a little bit like they kept bouncing from one bad situation to another with little regard to plausibility. No matter what the situation, actress Lucy had an answer for everything and a way to get them on to the next leg of what seemed like an impossible journey. There were times I wanted to take a rolled up newspaper to both of them for the sheer and utter idiocy of their decisions – which, well, was most likely your whole point.

I really enjoyed the refreshing view of a slightly different period of time. It was a breath of fresh air, different from the norm, as it were. The madcap pacing and oftentimes absurd situations both brought a grin to my face and frustrated me to no end. It was a little difficult, at first, to connect with things – but once I gave it a couple chapters, the story drew me in and kept me all the way to the end. B-

Eagerly Looking for More,

Mary Kate

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REVIEW:  Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl

REVIEW: Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl

Looking for Trouble (Jackson: Girls' Night Out #1) by Victoria Dahl

Dear Ms. Dahl:

It was twitter chatter that made me pick this book up and I was really glad I did. Sophie Heyer is the local librarian who lives a quiet life full of secret desires for the rough and ready type of men. In walks Alex Bishop whose motorcycle boots and tattoos are as tempting as ice cream to a woman on a diary free diet. 

The conflict for Sophie and Alex centers around a twenty-five year old scandal when Sophie’s mother ran off with Alex’s father. It was learned that the two died rather than completely abandoning their families but the affair has had lasting repercussions on both families.

Alex’s mother spent his childhood chasing down phantoms, trying to locate his father at all costs. When he returns home at the request of his older brother and the promise that his mother is better. On his arrival he is already beset with regret. His mother seems more mad than ever. He feels disconnected with his brother. The one thing he does like is Sophie.

He doesn’t realize right away that she’s the daughter of the woman Alex’s mother blames for ruining their lives. Sophie has her own family problems. Her brother is having his own identity issues and starts pressing Alex’s family is uncomfortable ways.

Sophie looks like her mother and is the subject to vile things from Alex’s mother on a regular basis. Neither Sophie or Alex blame the other for their parents’ issues (although I think Sophie does a better job of this than Alex, particularly later in the book). The conflict was compelling and I bought into the resolution.

The other reviews of this book mention the sex as hot but confusing and I agree. Sophie, the subject of such onerous abuse in her hometown, dresses like the stereotypical puritan with modest clothes and hairstyles. She lives a quiet life yet no matter what she does, there are those who call her a whore, just like her mother.

In the bedroom, Sophie enjoys being called the same thing. Given her past and the way she lived her outside life, I would have liked some internal monologue on this subject. Alex’s immediate assumption of Sophie’s sexual preferences (good thing he guessed right) was also a little convenient. It reminded me of another book where the hero said that he was able to smell the heroine’s submissiveness.

It’s possible that some of this was explained in the prequel novella but I didn’t read that.

The ending is very much a HFN or leading up to a HFN which I didn’t mind. Their romance was based mostly on a physical attraction and the way in which their lives were changing, it made sense that the conclusion was a bit up in the air.

Probably the sweetest male in the book is Sophie’s dad who takes the abuse of being a cuckholded husband, raising two small children, and never ever getting angry at his kids not matter how provoked he was.

It’s not the same romance that I’ve read before. It’s very sexy. I liked both characters. It’s got flaws, but it’s a good way to spend an afternoon. B-

Best regards

Jane

 

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