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A Hearing Heart, by Bonnie DeeA Hearing Heart

Just shy of two hundred pages, set in a small town in Nebraska at the turn of the twentieth century, A Hearing Heart is a very moving story. From the setting to the issues it touches on, A Hearing Heart is definitely worth reading.

Here is the blurb:

The heart conveys messages beyond what ears can hear.

After the death of her fiancé, Catherine Johnson, a New York schoolteacher in 1901, travels to Nebraska to teach a one-room school and escape her sad memories. One afternoon, violence erupts in the sleepy town. Catherine saves deaf stable hand, Jim Kinney, from torture by drunken thugs.

As she takes charge of his education, teaching him to read and sign, attraction grows between them. The warmth and humor in this silent man transcends the need for speech and his eyes tell her all she needs to know about his feelings for her. But the obstacles of class difference and the stigma of his handicap are almost insurmountable barriers to their growing attachment.

Will Catherine flout society’s rules and allow herself to love again? Can Jim make his way out of poverty as a deaf man in a hearing world? And together will they beat the corrupt robber baron who has a stranglehold on the town?


“A Gypsy’s Vow”, by Bonnie Deea-gypsys-vow

I believe it is no secret that I enjoy Ms Dee’s writing very much. This short story, published by Silver Liquid Books, is no exception. Set in England in 1902, “A Gypsy’s Vow” is a sweet little tale of romance-and lust. A little warning, then: the romance is sweet, but there is graphic sex within.

Here is the blurb: (more…)

The Countess Lends a Hand, by Bonnie Dee

I believe I mentioned before that I fell in love with Ms Dee’s writing after reading The Countess Takes a Lover. My infatuation has only grown after reading Empath a few weeks ago and the short novel The Countess Lends a Hand just now.

I confess that I don’t know how much of the historical detail in the Countess’ stories* is accurate or not—I sense that some of the language may not be, at any rate—but the story telling and the characterization in each of Ms Dee’s stories that I’ve read so far has grabbed my interest from first to last page.

From the publisher, the usual warning: This title contains a Regency hero and heroine doing the library lambada, and graphic language Jane Austen wishes her editor would have let her characters use. (more…)

It’s been a while since I felt moved enough to write a review, but I have read a few decent (and not so decent) books over the past month, so I’ll try to get some of my thoughts about them out in review format.

The first book on the list is The Conquest, By Julia Templeton.

I’ve never read Templeton before, but I decided to pick this one up at the Borders store in Clearwater, whilst we were in the states.

Rhiannon MacKay is the daughter of a wealthy laird, who’s destined to be married off to a man, selected by her father. She’s never really been bothered by this fact, assuming that she would like whoever her father ultimately chose for her.

Predictably, Rhi’s father ends up giving her to a man who’s older than he is, which of course pisses Rhiannon off no end. When Lord Malgor (Rhi’s decrepit intended) sends the rather delish Adelstan Cawdor to escort Rhi to her betrothed, the shit truly hits the fan.

Adelstan and Rhi fall in lust with each other, and although Ade tries very hard to resist her womanly charms, (mostly because he doesn’t want to be accused of being a traitor, and killed off) they eventually end up doing the horizontal foxtrot. Over and over, and over again.

I have to say, I rather enjoyed this book, flaws and all. Rhi was a total Slutty Suzie, even though I suspect that a lot of well-bred girls in 11th Century Scotland, wouldn’t have known what their front bums were for, pre-marriage. But I kinda liked this about her. Adelstan was a slightly wet hero, but he was pretty likeable, nonetheless.

I also liked that the sex between the two of them were pretty hot, and mostly well-written.

The villain of the piece (The coffin-dodging intended) was predictably cookie-cutter-bad, but I wasn’t overly interested in him, even though his presence in the book was the main source of conflict for Rhi and Ade.

Although this was an historical erotic romance, I liked that Templeton didn’t have them jumping into bed on page six, so there was enough tension to keep the juices flowing.

Having said that though, in this book, you get the erotic romance full kit and caboodle. Not only do you get the straight, if slightly kinky, M/F sex, but there was also an m/m/f threesome. As well as the odd blowjob here and there. Oh yeah, and if I remember correctly, I’m pretty sure Rhi gets herself off in the bath whilst she’s alone too. All good erotic romance fun.

Ultimately, The Conquest was a good read for me, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. I suggest that if you enjoyed War and Peace, this book probably aint for you.

You can buy The Conquest from Amazon.com here, and from Amazon UK here.

By the way, you can tell this is an erotic romance because it seems obvious to me that in order to fulfill the Lots Of Sex quotient requirement, Templeton uses Rhi’s maid, Elspeth (who also happens to be a bit of a Loose Lucy) and Ade’s brother-in-arms, Jorden to ramp up the action. It was probably easier than having Rhiannon drop her knickers for every Tom, Dick and Barbara.

Just sayin’.

The Countess Takes a Lover, by Bonnie Dee.

This is a very well executed short novel/long novella erotic romance from Samhain, set in London during the Regency (1800s). Ms Dee, who was a new-to-me writer, uses a few reliable tropes of the romance genre, but her excellent execution makes them feel fresh.

And for once, the blurb is nigh perfect!

Countess Meredith du Chevalier, a widow with a reputation for being sexually adventurous, is intrigued when she is approached by a gentleman who wishes her to “make a man” of his son. Sensing a passionate man beneath Christopher Whitby’s reserved exterior, Meredith takes on the challenge, inviting the botanist to her country home to revitalize her abandoned greenhouse.

Chris finds people to be a chaotic, animalistic species, and has chosen to devote his life to the study of plants. One kiss from the vivacious countess, however, and his inner animal is aroused. But lust is only a fraction of what he feels for the vulnerable woman hiding behind a brittle façade. He resolves to coax her to grow until her petals unfurl into glorious bloom.

To her surprise, Meredith finds Chris brings much more to life than just fallow soil. But just as their love begins to thrive, he learns about the secret arrangement. Meredith must risk her heart for the most dangerous lesson of all—love.

At a little over 130 pages, The Countess takes a Lover is, again, a bit shorter that most of the books I usually like, but the pacing is so well done as to make that just a minor quibble and not very noteworthy.

While having a wealthy society widow with a tarnished reputation as a heroine is not all that common, the fact that she was unhappy—and sexually unfulfilled—during her marriage is fairly common in romance novels indeed. In this case, Meredith wasn’t merely neglected or unhappy, but suffered true emotional and sexual abuse of increasing degree at the hands of her husband until his death. Further, her veiled cries for help to her family fell on deaf ears—and cold hearts—all of which left her deeply scarred emotionally.

However, she possesses a will strong enough to allow her to rise above this, and free herself—for the most part at least—from her past. She discovers her knack for business first, and the power of her sensuality soon enough after that, and creates a life for herself in which she is not accountable to anyone else. Of course, given her background so far, she equates this contentment with happiness. (more…)