Why This One: Because she's one of the best writers in the romance genre and there's not a shadow of a doubt I will buy every book she writes!
Steam Level: Perfect
Amazon Blurb: Goodman's latest Regency romance concerns Emmalyn Hathaway, living with her relatives in London since the tragic death of her parents three years earlier. Emma spends her days assisting her artist uncle and her privileged younger cousin, Marisol, until she becomes the victim of a savage attack. Believing that the attack was meant for her cousin, Emma seeks out Restell Gardner, who offers protection and sleuthing services for a price. A confirmed bachelor and notorious rake (or so he wishes), Restell is taken with young Miss Hathaway and her plight. By taking on her case, he soon discovers that all is not as it seems in the Vega household and that Emma may truly be in danger. The attraction between Restell and Emma is hard to deny, and their dialogue sparkles with wit and emotion. Though there's enough intrigue and romantic charm to please any Regency fan, the mystery takes center stage, casting the romance in a secondary role. Regardless, authentic characters and a thrilling story line will keep readers smiling and guessing.
My Thoughts: Warning - Complete and Adoring Gushing To Follow
I actually started writing my thoughts on this book before I finished – a very rare thing for me to do. Jo Goodman isn’t for everyone – I’ll be the first to admit that. In some ways she’s not even for me. I read fast, at times very fast. That’s impossible to do with a Jo Goodman book. If you don’t take the time to read slow and savour, there are so many very precious bits you’ll miss. I tend to skip a lot and kind of pass over words when I read. Again, I can’t do that with on of her books.
But when I can slow myself down, take the time to read every word, what you have with Ms. Goodman’s writing is a very rich feast indeed. She is a master at putting words together to create those small moments that make you sigh with delight in pure reading enjoyment.
I’m not one to mark up my books. As sister Lisa can testify, I can barely bring myself to break open the spine, but as I started reading this book, there were so many passages I wanted to earmark, to underline, and to highlight so I can somehow convey the richness of her prose. Instead, the book is full of little bits of paper to mark the pages of particularly enjoyable passages.
I just finished this little tidbit – thus the need to start this review early, so I won’t be swamped with magical moments to share.
Before Emma agreed to marry Restell she thought she had touched on every concern of import. A point she failed to clarify was the speed at which the thing was likely to occur. She had imagined there would be time enough to visit a modiste and have a gown made for her. She thought there would be fittings. She wanted to speak to the priest who would marry them and she had particular thoughts about the flowers she would carry. She had depended upon the bans being read.
She presented all this to Restell the same evening they became engaged. He listened to her quite closely, tilting his head just so as she rattled on about gowns and flowers and vows. He listened to her argue about tradition without offering an opinion of his own. He listened to her discuss the guest list at great length, not inquiring once how she had come suddenly to have so many friends. And when she fell silent, finally satisfied with the persuasiveness of her discourse, he presented her with the special license he had procured a few hours after securing her promise.
“We’ll exchange vows in the morning,” he’d said.
I’m in awe that she can convey such emotion with her writing. Maybe it’s because I take the time to really read her books, but I can so clearly picture the entire story in my mind as I read along. She doesn’t have a lot of action in her books, but wow can she convey what she is trying to say. Her love scenes aren’t very graphic, but there is such a richness, such a subtle eroticism to them. Here’s another page that I bookmarked
Pleasure was in the touch, the fragrance, the sight of his hand on her hip and her fingers buried deep in his hair. It was the sounds he could not hold back and the ones he whispered quite deliberately against her ear. Her skin prickled. The muscles of his back and arms grew taut. They were conscious of their own breathing, of the coursing of their blood, and the sense of friction, tension, and heat as they skimmed the surface of pleasure
For a while restrain offered reward. The pitch of everything was sweeter, sharper, and more defined and for all those reasons it could not last. They teased it out as long as was possible, but in the end it was what lay just below the surface that they wanted.
Closing their eyes, they dove headlong into it.
Moment of silence here…………… Ah, now that is a love scene.
She also can write the most subtle yet funniest of short little scenes. Here’s one I found priceless.
Suitably chastened, Hobbes said, “Well, then if I might know the approximate size of the—
“ Restell interrupted. “It is all for my wife.”
Now the valet’s sandy eyebrows jumped in the direction of his hairline. “Miss Hathaway?”
“Yes, but we’re calling her Mrs. Gardner now, remember?”
Hobbes did not respond to Restell’s wry rejoinder. He simply stared.
Another thing I really appreciate about all of her books and certainly in this one, is the way the hero treats the heroine. Above all, he respects her. Restell is no exception and although he does things for Emma that she might disagree with, it is always for her own protection and deep inside, she realizes it. Also, while the hero always seem very self-confident, there are such subtle little moments when it's clear that he is very unsure of himself where the heroine is concerned. I like that in a hero!
I've finished the book now, with a deep sigh that it's over, another wonderful book by an author I think is one of the best there is.