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Karen Does Passion By Lisa Valdez

Friday, November 11, 2005
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“And to the inimitable Madonna, whose song, “Beautiful Stranger” was the inspiration for this story” Lisa Valdez

I promised that I would review this book a while ago, and so here it is, better late than never huh?

It’s a bit of a long one, so I suggest if you don’t have the time to read, go away, and come back when you have more time, because this might take a while.

For those of you who should be working but can’t be arsed, grab yourself a coffee and make yourself comfortable, while I take you through Passion .

Oh yeah, there may be spoilers, but I generally can’t be arsed posting a spoiler warning, so you’ll have to be on the look out.

Anyway, here’s the blurb:

Passion Elizabeth Dare ( I gotta say, I thought the name was ace) is a young widow with a deep sense of propriety, who has been in mourning for nearly two years.

A chance encounter in London’s Crystal Palace (1851) leads to Passion being pursued by a stranger, of whom she feels an inexplicable attraction towards.

Passion’s late husband was an uptight, asexual arsehole who didn’t shag her as well as she would have liked, and coupled with the fact that she hasn’t been laid in a while, Passion finds it hard to resist the stranger’s charms, and lets him lead her behind a screen in the main gallery at the Crystal Palace, where he proceeds to do her against the wall. (hey it was 1851, these things happen!)

After this initial encounter, Passion and the stranger go their separate ways without learning each other’s name, an oversight which frustrates both of them later on.

Unable to get the beautiful stranger out of her mind, Passion visits the Crystal Palace at the same time, the next day, hoping to see her Beautiful Stranger again.

As you can imagine, the stranger was also looking for her because he couldn’t get her out of his mind either.

They end up meeting up, and once again, they do the nasty behind the screen in the main gallery of the Crystal Palace.

Passion and Mark aka The Earl of Langley (they eventually learned their respective names, if not their identities, on their second encounter) can’t get enough of each other, and so they continue their passionate rendezvous daily.

Meanwhwile, Mark’s bitch of a mother has organised for him to marry the daughter (Charlotte) of her ‘best friend’ who is blackmailing her. She in turn blackmails Mark into accepting the marriage.

Mark obviously isn’t pleased with her meddling and scheming, but for the sake of protecting his brother’s future, he goes along with her request, never dreaming that his passion for Passion would lead to everlasting love.

Each time Mark and Passion meet, they become more involved, and parting becomes harder and harder. Soon they both want to know more about the other, but are a little bit afraid of what they will learn.

Meanwhile, the marriage between Mark and Charlotte is announced, and there are some surprises in store for both Mark and Passion, when they find out that they may have more in common than they originally thought.

My Verdict:

Wow. Wow. Wow.

The story starts off with a confidential letter, from Mark’s mother to Charlotte’s mother.

I read a review somewhere that took the piss out of the fact that the letter (which was obviously written from a friend to another friend) contained information in it, that you wouldn’t necessarily relate back to a close pal. I think what the reviewer was referring to was this part, which seemed to state the obvious for the benefit of the reader.

“I Lucinda Margarita Hawksmore, am with child!

(As in, what was the point of stating her name to her best friend)

Or it could have been this:

“..and because I have already born a Hawksmore heir..”

(As in her best friend would have already known that she had a baby to Mr Hawksmore)

Either way, I didn’t actually see the problem, and I can’t imagine that the majority of people who read the letter will either.

Anyhow, moving on…

My jaw dropped when I read the first sentence of the first chapter, and my mouth remained open with amazement for the duration of the book.

It was just so… earthy.

I read and generally enjoy erotic romance books, but somehow, Passion managed to take erotic romance to another level altogether.

Now, the people who insist that explicit sex in romance novels is unnecessary probably wont appreciate this book as much as I did (well, they wouldn’t admit it even if they did), but damn, it was good. In fact, it was that great, I even considered having mid-week horizontal Lambada with the Tall Guy. (The keyword here being ‘considered’.)

Tension and anticipation is usually a prerequisite as far as I’m concerned when it comes to sex scenes, so you would probably think that, I would hate the fact that the hero and heroine did the nasty in the first chapter.

Well, you’d be wrong, I loved it.

Valdez managed the quite hard task of writing explosively erotic scenes, at the same time as weaving a very touching love story.

Mark and Passion were superbly developed characters, whose antics both outside and inside the bedroom managed to captivate me throughout the book.

What I loved about this story was watching the initial feelings of lust between these two people, develop into something quite beautiful, and by the end of the book, I actually caught a tear in my eye (just one mind you).

The secondary characters were also very interesting (always a sign of a good book methinks) and I was quite amused by the two bitchy villainous ladies, Mark and Charlotte’s mum, who seemed to embody the phrase “with friends like these who needs enemies?” They were a little bit caricature-ish, but if I’m honest, I think this is why they appealed to me.

The only character I didn’t much care for in the book, was Charlotte The Dweeb. I felt that Charlotte was a bit of a simpering idiot, who needed a swift kick in the rear end. She came across as stupid, and as my regular visitors will know, I loathe dumbass characters.

This book will probably shock the hell out of the readers out there who prefer ‘sweet’ romance books(so they say anyway) due to the very graphic, and very creative sex scenes.

Case in point, this one Amazon reviewer who gave it one star, and wrote:

“The reason the heroine’s name sounds like that of a cheap porn star is simple, though never having seen such a film {LYING BITCH!} I can not say with authority, I doubt it could be any crasser than this novel. The language would make a seaman blush, and there is only enough actual plot to possibly fill a page.”

Reviewed by Amanda Killgore, Freelance Reviewer.

Well Amanda, I guess Passion just wasn’t for you huh? (I noticed she only slagged off the heroine, even though we all know it takes two to have dirty nasty sex in public.)

There were other reviewers who also didn’t like Valdez’s constant use of the word ‘cunt’ and didn’t think that it was romantic for Mark to express his desires for Passion by saying things like “I want to fuck you”.

What can I say? It worked well enough for me. I myself have heard that phrase a time or two in my own bedroom during various nocturnal activites.

Oh well, I guess you can’t win ‘em all Lisa…

But for those of you who are a little bit more open minded, I predict that you will find Passion a very stimulating read in more ways than one.

All in all, a bloody marvellous book, and I would have no problem in recommending it to those of you out there, who demonstrate your obvious sense of style and taste by regularly visiting my blog.

Have a good weekend y’all!


  • Jennifer B.
    November 11
    8:39 pm

    I know I’ve seen a handful of (blogger) reviews on this one–and none of them made me want to ditch work early JUST to go get this book. But you just did Karen. Wow. Too bad I live in such a book-deprived, retail-challenged small town. F. (for Frustrated)


  • Rocio
    November 11
    10:30 pm

    That certainly sounded like a book I might enjoy!!! And I won’t have any problems breaking the only on weekends rules!!!..I will look it out, I just hope is affordable!!!


  • Jaye
    November 12
    1:36 am

    *happy sigh*

    I’ll admit, I’ve been lurking here, waiting for this post with bated breath. I’m not sure if you saw my review of this book on my blog back in the summer, but I absolutely adore it. ADORE. It’s tied for first place as my favourite book this year. Evcellent post Karen, you brought back all the lovely feelings/emotions this book engendered as I read it.


  • Tara Marie
    November 12
    11:07 am

    WOW,WOW,WOW is a perfect description of this book. I gushingly blogged about it when I read it and the author popped in for some comments, which was a nice surprise.


  • Karen Scott
    November 12
    3:06 pm

    Jennifer, I promise, you will nopt be sorry if you get this book. It was excellent!

    Ro, I got the book whilst I was in Florida, and I only paid £6.99 for it. You don’t have an only weekends rule to break you puta!

    Jaye, I’ve re-read Passion twice already. It was just fabulous. It was the girl in a Border’s store that recommended it. She seemed a little reluctant to recommend it, then she saw me eyeing up Thea Devine’s books and I guess she decided that if I didn’t mind the rawness of her books, I was obviously the kinda gal who would appreciate such an overtly sexual book. She wasn’t wrong. *g*

    Tara, I read this book in one sitting, and the hubby knew better than to come in and disturb me. The dreaded Google Search strikes again huh? It’s ok if you’ve done a positive review. Not so good if you’ve ripped the book to bits!


  • Anne
    November 12
    3:30 pm

    Well Karen, you can bet your bootie that I’ll be getting this book now. I love a good steamy romance.


  • Kristie
    November 12
    4:14 pm

    I really thought this one excellent too. I must admit to rolling my eyes over some of the diifferent criticisms I read. I thought it was an wonderful combination of an erotic and love story and I really felt for both Mark and Passion and the issues that kept them apart.


  • Lori
    November 13
    11:38 pm

    Wow – I will definitely have to get this one! Thanks Karen!


  • Megan Frampton
    November 14
    2:26 am

    Great review. I agree with you on the gushing, she manages to make it steamy without being silly and overblown (although the hero gets overblown, if you know what I mean).
    My only complaint was the letter thing, which did jar me, but I knew why it had to be there. So whatever, minor point, great, fun book.


  • Dawn
    November 14
    10:19 am

    Well, Karen, on your recommendation I’m going to buy this one. I’ve just place my order with Amazon. I’m really looking forward to reading this. And I have no problems with the c or the f word. Maybe that’s because I’m a slut. LOL


  • Karen Scott
    November 14
    1:52 pm

    Anne, you’ll love it!

    Kristie, the thing is, for the ladies who prefer lots of emotion and no sex, this book will shock the hell out of them.

    Lori, you wont be sorry!

    Megan, I admit, I read the letter without trying top understand it, so it didn’t affect me in the least. Yes, it was fun!

    Dawn, does that mean I’m a slut too? lol
    If you don’t like this book, I’ll be very surprised.


  • Ann Wesley Hardin
    November 14
    2:36 pm

    I just ordered it from Amazon. Sounds too good to pass up!


  • Beverly Havlir
    November 14
    10:09 pm

    I don’t have a lot of time for reading (my tbr pile is HUGE!) but I went out and got me this book today. I’m sitting here reading it, when I should be working, (shhh, don’t tell my editor) *g* and I simply can’t put it down. Your review of it intrigued me, and I must say, you were right on. Passion is a great book, hot and sexy, yet emotionally searing too. I love it, and can’t wait for Patience and Matt’s story.
    Thanks Karen!



  • Karen Scott
    November 15
    12:00 am

    Hi Beverly! Wasn’t Passion wonderful? I just couldn’t put it down!


  • Beverly Havlir
    November 15
    12:15 am

    Absolutely wonderful! I didn’t put it down until I was done (just finished it, btw). Loved it. Ranks up there with some of my favorites.


  • Martha
    March 25
    4:35 am

    I like this book enormously, although I did not like the way the reasons that kept these two apart were handled. Maybe because I know very well that a child born in wedlock, at the time, no matter who the biological father was, would ALWAYS be the husband’s. Even if the biological father was another aristocrat and openly claimed the child (not likely at all) as his, he would have had no success. Legally, there was nothing the husband could do, even if he wanted to (and 99.9% of the time he did not), to disown the child (note: he could disenherit a child, in so far as it was a second born or a female, but not disown). As the father of the family in this story is dead and burried (and while alive, never disowned his second born), the scandal could not touch the younger son. The only persons ruined, in such a case, would be the mother and her friend. The latter would have been cut off from all polite society, precisely because she broke the oath of silence. Such actions were never forgiven by the ton. So the blackmailer did not hold an ace, as the writer lead us to believe, as she would never dare publish the letter. Apart from this, I have no gripes. The two lovers were well drawn, and the super erotic scenes revealed (rather than distracted from)the depth of their love. That is a rare achievement in this genre.


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