TBR Challenge April 2012
Four months in a row meeting this challenge. I'm floored. The theme for this month's TBR Challenge [hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian HERE] is to read a book that's been languishing in your TBR pile by a 'new-to-you' author--an author whose works you haven't read yet. I sort of had it in my mind to read The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley, but decided to look through my box of unread historical romances just to see what other books I had on hand that were written by authors I haven't yet read. I came upon A Dangerous Beauty by Sophia Nash and had one of those "oh yeah.. I remember getting this" moments. I bought A Dangerous Beauty at the NJ RWA literacy signing back in 2007, before I even started blogging! I met Sophia Nash that day and so my copy is even author signed! I flipped open the book and read what Ms. Nash wrote to me:
"To beautiful Christine - I hope you enjoy the first in the series! Best, Sophia Nash"How nice is that? Of course I new right away that THIS was the book I ought to read for this month's challenge. I'm so glad I did! It was great fun.
Luc St. Aubyn is the mysterious grandson of the dowager duchess and current Duke of Helston, also known as Lord Fire & Ice for "exuding blistering passion at night and frost the morning after." He supports his grandmother's endeavor with her secret Widow's Club to help young widows find happiness again either through placement as a companion or governess or by introducing the young women to potential new husbands. The Duke normally avoids the widows altogether, but there's something special about Rosamunde that captures his attention--perhaps it's that she meets his sarcasm and wit with some of her own or perhaps he senses the dim spark that used to dance in her now sad eyes. Whatever it is, he's mesmerized by this young woman and finds himself wanting to re-ignite her verve for life.
Rosamunde's spirit has been stamped out by the betrayal, loss and abuse she has experienced from her father and then her late husband. She's lost a lot of the confidence she used to have, but she's still very courageous. She does her best to hold her head up high, which is challenging given the bleak time in her life.
Luc keeps to himself and minds his own business, which supports his mysteriousness, but part of his secrecy is also that he's writing a book under a pen name. Like Rosamunde, he's also harboring guilt over some family secrets of his own. Luc has a fantastic and intelligent sense of humor laced heavily with wit and sarcasm and a big heart, although he tries to hide the latter. He shares his sense of humor with his grandmother who is equally charming. The relationship between the duke and his grandmother is based on obvious love and respect for one another and is a wonderful bonus in this story. In fact, the dowager herself is a great character who truly added much needed kindness and compassion to Rosamunde's and the other widows' lives.
It was a joy to watch Luc rekindle Rosamunde's sense of adventure and bring a spark to her eyes again as it was likewise really nice to see Luc opening up and actually talking to someone about the sadness in his family. Luc gives Rosamunde the wonderful gift of passion and confidence--things she never thought she'd feel again in her lifetime. In return, Rosamunde shows Luc joy and wonder that depth of friendship and love can bring into one's life because for the first time in his life, he craves the company of one woman beyond just one night.
A Dangerous Beauty is a sweet story of courage and love written with an unusual but winsome combination of heartbreak and humor. The dialogue is witty, the passion sweet and sexy and the characters very likable.
A Dangerous Beauty is well written and gets 3.5 out of 5 stars from me as it could have benefitted from a bit more depth into the Helston family problems--Luc's past, Ata's past, Luc's financial problems and his need to marry an heiress. I definitely plan on reading more from Sophia Nash and in fact, Book One in her most recent The Royal Entourage series titled Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea sounds very appealing.. You can read a passage from Chapter One on the author's website that will leave you dangling--literally--for more!
Visit author Sophia Nash at her website www.sophianash.com.