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Charlotte Featherstone

REVIEW: Pride and Passion by Charlotte Featherstone

REVIEW: Pride and Passion by Charlotte Featherstone

Dear Ms. Featherstone:

I confess that I read this book because I just loved the cover.  The positioning of the characters, the color of the dress, the frills at the cuff of the man’s outfit. It was very evocative.  The soft against the hard.  It’s a clinch but an evocative, sophisticated clinch.   This is the second book in the Brethren Guardian series and I have not read the first one.

Charlotte Featherstone Pride and PassionLucy Ashton seeks passion.  She thought she had found it in the arms of an impoverished artist, Thomas.    The night that she offered herself to this artist she had given him a lace handkerchief with her initials embroidered on it.  Lucy believed that this handkerchief was lost to her when a fire consumed her beloved’s rented rooms.  She seeks his presence  through seances and soothsayers, exploring the occult for answers.

Lucy’s father, however, wants her to marry the “passionless and priggish Duke of Sussex.”  What is worse is that the Duke of Sussex has returned Lucy’s handkerchief but while the Duke of Sussex wants answers about where Lucy’s handkerchief was found, Lucy begins to weave fantasies of reuniting with her artist beloved.

Sussex is part of a group known as the Brethren and they guard some artifact, as far as Lucy  knows.  “Their business was mysterious and secretive, and dangerous.  From what she knew of their secrets, there existed  an onyx pendant, which was the very essence of evil,  and some sort of chalice they protected.”  Lucy took the necklace and swallowed one of the seeds inside the pendant in hopes that it would connect her with her dead lover.  Now Lucy is being told that Thomas is an enemy of the Brethren, a rogue Freemason, and thus an enemy of good.

Lucy’s portrayal is one of a hapless but privileged young woman who had no control over her life.  Her taking the lover, her seeking out the occult is her way of taking control.  Accepting her father’s choice would be an acquiescence that she is powerless.  I think that is an interesting concept but I couldn’t really understand Lucy’s thought process here.  Could a passionless and priggish man be part of a secret and mysterious and dangerous society?

Lucy’s constant reference to Adrian York, the Duke of Sussex, as passionless isn’t effectively carried off because the reader sees Adrian’s point of view and thus we know he is full of passion.  Repeated protestations by Lucy ring hollow.  This is likely a more effective technique if the story is told primarily from Lucy’s point of view, either in limited third or first person.

Instead the alternating point of view made it hard to drum up sympathy for Lucy’s position.  The reader knows her artist is the bad guy.  The reader knows that Adrian totally loves her.  The reader knows that he burns to get her into bed.  I objectively understood what was supposed to be portrayed here but it wasn’t convincing.

Adrian is not passionless and priggish.  He’s in love with Lucy and torn up that she appears to be in love with a man who killed a friend of his in cold blood, a man who is an enemy of the Brethren Guardians.  Fortunately, Adrian’s quest to win Lucy’s hand is aided in part by his sister and Lucy’s own cousin.  Adrian has enjoyed what Lucy seeks and that is rigid control over his life and his emotions (because of a secret!) but he seeks to lose himself in Lucy.

The secret society, the grail artifacts, and the rogue freemasons were probably there to provide suspense but the it seemed more like a game amongst men than a true and riveting danger.  I also felt that it took away from the romance even though part of the conflict arose from the secrets and artifacts.

I did enjoy the close friendship that Lucy enjoyed with her cousin and Adrian’s sister and once the romance got rolling, I enjoyed Adrian and Lucy together.  The secondary romance between Adrian’s sister who is blind and the supposedly philandering Marquis of Alynwick is heartwrenching and ends in a cliffhanger.

There were a couple moments of in the book that had my eyebrows raised including one love scene which took place when both were supposed to be in imminent danger and may have been brought about by slightly drugging both of them.  And there was a huge coincidence that brings the story full circle.   Suffice to say I liked the cover much more than I enjoyed the book. Finally, I wasn’t sure whether this was supposed to be a play on Pride and Prejudice with the Duke of Sussex playing the part of Darcy. C

Best regards,

Jane

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Monday Midday Links:  A New Fave Cover and Book Group Sale Sites

Monday Midday Links: A New Fave Cover and Book Group...

Enjoy sites like Groupon or Living Social?  If so, you aren’t alone.  Around 50 million people have used Groupon inviting a hoard of copy cat social coupon sites like locusts to a wheat field.  All Things D reports that Hearst Owned magazines will launch its own group commerce site that will launch this summer:

The offers, which will start rolling out later this summer, will primarily target the male-dominated audiences of the two magazine brands. Later, Hearst will expand it to other demographics through such well-known magazine properties as Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Esquire.

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HarperCollins has a book site called Book Perk which is similar to a coupon site.  The deals aren’t daily and they aren’t quite as attractive as most Groupon deals (which are usually for 50% or more off) but they are book specific.  The latest deal is for paper readers:

Juliana Stone Paranormal Romance Bundle: FREE Pre-order of His Darkest Salvation With Purchase of His Darkest Embraceand His Darkest Hunger

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Kelly McClymer’s blog post on what author royalties should be.

Conclusion: 25% net is much too low a royalty rate, a 50% net is too much as it assumes no cost to the publisher and is not realistic.

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http://www.ideeli.com/events/54774/latest_view?MuttAndJeff=1

Ideeli is also having a book sale.  Scholastic is selling boxed sets of its most popular titles: Harry Potter, Hunger Games.  The Harry Potter collection in a treasure chest is $150 (regularly $195). I love how the books get exponentially larger as the series waxes on.  To my great dismay, the Captain Underpants boxed set is on sale. We just bought the box set at Barnes and Noble two weeks ago.

 

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This is the Princeton Report of their eReader pilot program. (PDF)  Students were issued Kindle Dxs for study purposes.  The major issues were the lack of ease of annotation. For leisure reading, the Kindle worked great. For scholarly reading, not so great.  The report is based on the first generation of Kindle Dxs and there have been software improvements but it’s still a great resource for those designing ebook readers and ebook reading software.

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A new-ish blogger, Lux Lucas, had a great epilogue post in response to the discussion we hosted at DA last week.  She suggests that epilogues are the price of sentiment but also brings out a really interesting point about the out of step heroine and hero:

Opponents of romance like to talk about its conservativeness, its heteronormativity. Certainly the genre can have those elements–and when an epilogue works overtime to reinscribe its characters into the problematic social fabric they’ve been trying to buck, I start to feel some sympathy with those criticisms. How many times have we read the scenario in which rakes or bluestockings express their great ennui with the shallow/rigid/traditional society that enmeshes them only to see those same characters absorbed back into the fold at the end of the book? Often, indeed, this reabsorption seems to be a desirable end that the epilogue is designed to effect.

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Charlotte Featherstone Pride and PassionAnd finally, I have updated the Coming Soon catalogs. The August catalog is pretty much complete although I am missing most of the series books.  Here is the July catalog.  In adding in the covers to the catalog, I came across this gorgeous historical romance cover. I love the color of the cover (kind of pumpkin-burnt orange) and I love the positioning of the couple.  The look of the couple is also arresting with both of them appearing in very period oriented clothing.  The ring on the man’s very big hands is also a great touch. Yeah, I’m totally interested in reading this book just based on the cover alone.