Thursday, June 17, 2010

Liz Carlyle: Beauty Like the Night

Beauty Like the Night: A-
Helene de Severs & Camden Rutledge, Earl of Treyhern
Historical -British Regency

The daughter of London's wickedest widow, Helene de Severs left England in disgrace and has struggled to overcome her heritage. Renowned within Europe's emerging psychiatric field for her gift for healing children, she returns to England confident she has learned to govern her reckless emotions. A disastrous marriage left notoriously ruthless Camden Rutledge, Earl of Treyhern, with a traumatized child and he decides to hire a governess so that he can concentrate on other family fires. Yet the moment Helene arrives, Treyhern's cold reserve is melted by desire he long thought dead. With her elegant clothing and mountain of luggage, the woman is not who he expected. Or is she? Sometimes the workings of the mind are as dangerous as those of the heart. And soon, danger is truly everywhere... (back cover)

I like Ms. Carlyle. I feel that she stays true to the dialogue and the nuances of eighteenth and early nineteenth century Britain.

I also happen to love reunion stories. You know, the cheesy first-love, you're-the-only-one-for-me stories where years have passed and yet, the hero and heroine are still in love with each other. What is more romantic than that? (answer: nothing!)

As a novel with the two above-mentioned aspects, I devoured this rather lengthy (419 pgs) story in a matter of hours.

Helene and Cam grew up with each other due to the affair between Helene's mother and Cam's father. Both adult figures were less than stellar parents. Cam's father was inebriated most of the time, flitting from woman to woman while Helene's mother - well, she was a demimondaine.

They fell in love in the wild, unrestrained way that seventeen/eighteen year olds do. But it was more than mere teenage histrionics; lo behold, eleven long years have passed since Helene and Cam were separated and when they meet - Helene is hired as Cam's daughter's special governess - it is hard for them to control their emotions. Whatever happened in the past the past... right? (Wrong!)

The angst that Helene and Cam face, I feel, is founded on realistic doubts and insecurities: both people work hard to avoid turning out like his/her respective parent, but at the same time, they struggle with the depths of their feelings they have for one another.

As I've stated in previous blog entries, I'm not fond of kids that play a vital part in the romance equation because the focus is then not on the hero and heroine, but on the child as well. And dammit, those children need a lot of attention! Though Beauty Like the Night featured Cam's little daughter, she played a cool and un-bratty character. I had no desire to, like, smack the child upside the head.

There is also a tiny little mystery-adventure at the end. It's as adventurous and thrilling as one might expect an adventure in a romance novel to be. (I mean, how can it be super duper mysterious if you know all's going to turn out well in the end?) I realize I'm being somewhat vague with the plot, but I can't help it. I dislike spoilers and so I will leave you with:

Read. Be happy. Ignore the giggle-inducing cover.
(Really, were gentlemen's breeches that tight? Because... uh... IthinkIseemalecoverartmodel'sbuttcrack. I can't ignore it, really - it's smack-dab front-center! See for yourselves!)

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