Thursday, March 11, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Beauty and the Scarred Hero

*This is just my opinion, my personal take on any given book, use as a reference. I will not be overly gushing. I will also endeavor not to give too much of the plot away.
I will not hand out 4 star ratings for every book, or try not to.*

Harlequin Historical Feb 2010
By Emily May
288 pages

BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK: Major Nicholas Reynolds returns from the Battle of Waterloo a hero. Once, his rakish good looks ensured he had his pick of beauties, but now his battle-scarred face exiles him from high society.

Lady Isabella Knox is horrified by the cruel gossip surrounding Nicholas, but intrigued by the man whose steely glance makes her blush on the outside...and burn deep on the inside.

A few stolen kisses later this beauty knows she's lost her head--and her heart--to the most notorious gentleman of the ton....
Ok, Just got this book in my latest Harlequin order, and I will state up front I love these 'beauty and the beast' type stories where the hero is scarred either inside or out or both.

I know it has been done many, many times, but I never get tired of it. Let me also state right up front that Major Nicholas Reynolds is a dashing, wonderful hero. Does he hide himself away from life and society, does he wear a mask to hide the damaged side of his face? No. This man looks in a mirror everyday and counts himself lucky that he is still alive and survived the carnage that was Waterloo.

And because of this, he wants to live, have a family. Celebrate life. At 36, he buys out his commission, and begins to search among the haute ton for a pliable, malleable, quiet wife. He decides the younger the better, so he can mold the girl into the silent, biddable wife he wishes. It works with young recruits, why not a wife?

I always find this aspect of historicals somewhat creepy, what would a 36 year old man want with a 17 year old bride? But, it happened, and plenty, not only in romance fiction, but real life.
Nicholas' choice of bride runs away rather than be married to the scarred man, the flighty thing runs into Isabella Knox, our heroine.

Isabella is like a lot of heroine's in historicals lately, doesn't want to be the property of a man, strong, proud. Where at times, those qualities can become annoying, here, it works. Isabella has a kind heart, she is devoted to her family, loyal to her friends, and adores animals, taking in strays and finding them good homes. She takes in the runaway bride who is lost at a stage crossing with no money. She listens to the girl's plight and takes pity, to be forced to marry such an ogre!
Isabella at a ball, refers to Major Reynolds as an 'Ogre', it is soon all over the ballroom. Enter, the man himself. Isabella is mortified, and feels terrible she started such gossip. She proposes to the Major that they spend some time together, to stop the wagging tongues.

He agrees, even though Isabella is quite lovely, (though she had crooked bottom teeth, I LOVED that!) she is far too old, a confirmed spinster at 29. You can see where this is going. But both characters are so engaging, especially Nicholas. He really is to die for. He takes on the tittering and laughing at him front on, he shows up at a masquerade ball as...wait for ogre. I think I fell in love with him myself right then and there.
I loved the slow, growing attraction between the two. A lot of heated kisses, Nicholas even sneaks over to her opera box to draw her into shadow and kisses her senseless. Wow.
I won't give anyway any of the plot with regard to the runaway bride and how that affects Nicholas and Isabella. This was a very enjoyable read, I couldn't put it down.
You got a hero your reader can fall in love with? That is half the battle. And you WILL love the Major.

3 and a half stars out of 4

KOVER KUDOS: Gong! 2 out of 4 stars. the Major in the book is described a having hair the color of warm honey. The model, though while handsome and striking a very 'Major Reynolds' like pose, has black hair. The female model looks similar to how Isabella is described. Publishers, how hard it is to get the male hair color right?


Deb said...

Excellent review, Karyn! I like the Beauty and the Beast stories, too, but it does get old when the hero wears a mask or hates his scars. This hero sounds like a great one!

You should contact Bev Kendall at The Season and volunteer to review some books--seriously! You are very GOOD!

Karyn Gerrard AKA~Drew said...

Thanks so much Deb! I am so glad you liked the review, I really think you would like this book!

I toyed with the idea of contacting her, but, I live in this dinky little town and I don't read that many new releases or have access to that many. I don't think my reviews of older titles would interest her much, but oh my, thanks so much for the compliment! I am blushing here!

Deb said...

It was a very sincere compliment, Karyn. I like to think we've become friends through some of the blogs we frequent. Happy Reviewing! (Contact Bev anyway; who knows??)

Are you on Facebook?

Karyn Gerrard AKA~Drew said...

Thanks Deb~

I will think on the Season Blog thing, thanks for the suggestion!

Nope, no facebook, twitter etc, for now, strictly a blog girl, LOL!

Oh, I know you like highlanders same as I do, I am reading Donna Fletcher's latest,(The Highlander's Forbidden Bride Dec 2009) hope to put up a review first of next week!

Suzanna said...

I, too, have a soft spot for Beauty and the Beast stories. :)

When I saw the call for volunteer reviewers for the Seasons blog, I wondered if you would throw your hat in the ring. I enjoy your reviews, and I'm sure others would as well.

Karyn Gerrard AKA~Drew said...

Thanks Susanna, I never get tired of them, and this hero was such a breath of fresh air as Deb said above, most of them are brooding, hiding on their estates, masked...not this guy! He was a great hero.

Still thinking about it, LOL!